Tennessee has introduced legislation banning public drag performances and gender-affirming care for trans+ children.

The new laws were signed by Republican governor Bill Lee on 2 March, with the state becoming the first in the US to restrict drag shows.

Although the word “drag” does not appear in the bill, the definition of adult cabaret has been changed to mean “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors”.

It puts “male or female impersonators” within the category alongside go-go dancers, exotic dancers and strippers.

Such performances, including drag shows, will be banned from taking place on public property and/or anywhere minors might be present.

It takes effect on 1 July and comes after a photo of Gov. Lee showing him in women’s clothing in his 1977 yearbook surfaced online.

READ MORE: Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon slams “evil” legislators introducing drag bans

When asked if he remembered “dressing up in drag”, he said it was “ridiculous” to compare “something like that to sexualised entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious question”.

Performers may face a maximum prison sentence of 11 months, as well as a possible fine of up to $2,500 (£2,083), for a first violation, while subsequent ones could result in six years behind bars and a fine of up to $3,000 (£2,500).

Gender-affirming care for trans+ children has also been banned

Gov. Lee also signed a new law banning gender-affirming care for children, including prohibiting doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and hormones to anyone under the age of 18.

There are exceptions within the legislation, including allowing doctors to continue with these medical services if the care began prior to 1 July when the law is set to go into effect.

Said care must, however, conclude by 21 March 2024.

“These children do not need these medical procedures to be able to flourish as adults,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “They need mental health treatment. They need love and support, and many of them need to be able to grow up to become the individuals that they were intended to be.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has already promised to sue the state over the law.

“Tennessee — we’ll see you in court,” it said on Twitter.

READ MORE: More than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in the US so far this year

There are currently more than 380 anti-LGBTQ+ bills moving through state legislatures across the US, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Tennessee has passed more anti-LGBTQ+ legislation than any other state thus far, the organisation said.