Ballot initiative to ban public drag in Ohio rural community is met with LGBTQ+ counter protest

If passed, experts say that this rural Ohio community would become the first municipality in Ohio to ban drag in public spaces.

An effort in a rural Ohio community to ban drag in public places was met with an LGBTQ+ counter protest on Friday evening.

A ballot initiative to ban public drag gathers signatures outside the Bellefontaine Courthouse.

Bellefontaine, the seat of west central Ohio’s Logan County, has been no stranger to LGBTQ+ controversy in 2023. In January, dozens of residents showed up at a Bellefontaine city council meeting to protest the inclusion of a drag queen in the city’s 2022 Christmas parade. The following meeting, an overflow crowd of more than 60 community members packed the room to speak in favor of inclusion.

In response, some community members have been stationed outside the Bellefontaine courthouse collecting signatures to place an ordinance on an upcoming election ballot to ban drag in public spaces and prohibit drag in front of minors:

The classification of drag artist(s) and drag shows as Adult Cabaret Performance. Adult oriented exhibitions featuring male or female impersonators who provide displays and entertainment appealing to sexual interests shall not permit the attendance of a minor. Adult Cabaret Performances shall not be held on public property, or any location viewable by a minor.

-Proposed ordinance in Bellefontaine

If passed, experts say that Bellefontaine would become the first municipality in Ohio to ban drag in public spaces. This effort follows a nationwide rash of such prohibitions, most notably in Tennessee where Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 3 on February 3, effectively banning drag performances in front of minors in public spaces.

In 2022, Bellefontaine held their first LGBTQ+ Pride celebration, which featured drag performers in public spaces, as Pride celebrations do all around the world.

On Friday evening, LGBTQ+ and ally protesters gathered outside the Bellefontaine Courthouse near the tables where signatures for the proposed ordinance were being collected. The counter protesters held signs aloft to passing cars, spreading messages countering LGBTQ+ hate and defending drag performers. 🔥

Ignite Action

  • You can find contact info for Bellefontaine city officials on their contact sheet to make your views known on a proposed ordinance to ban drag in public spaces.

Know something LGBTQ+ Ohioan we should cover? TELL US!

Submit a story!

Subscribe to The Spark

The Spark is our FREE weekly digest with all the latest LGBTQ+ Ohio news & views delivered right to your inbox.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top