Reading Time: 2 minutes

Conservatives in the Nebraska legislature recently proposed a bill, LB 371, that would make it a crime for children to attend a drag show. So progressive senator Megan Hunt is fighting back by amending the anti-drag bill to ban children from attending vacation Bible study or any similar “religious indoctrination” camps.

LB 371 is a completely serious attempt to address a completely fictional problem. The bill defines drag show as any performance in which the person “exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers” and “sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.”

It’s so badly and broadly defined that Shakespeare plays would theoretically violate the law, as would high school productions of the musical Hairspray. But conservative lawmakers don’t care about that. They just want to punish any libraries that host Drag Queen Story Hours or businesses that have child-friendly drag shows. State Sen. Dave Murman justified the bill by saying it’s meant to protect children:

“I think the vast majority of Nebraskans would agree that sexualized dancing and enhanced genitals is not appropriate for children to view,” he declared.

Murman said he’s never attended a drag show, but he’s seen videos on social media.

Child-friendly drag performances exist. They don’t involve anything sexual. But conservatives equate LGBTQ-everything with sex because they know their right-wing base will just eat it up without second thought.

Enter State Sen. Megan Hunt. She’s already filed a motion to kill the entire bill, but that’s not the only way she’s trying to stop this frivolous proposal. Late last week, she filed an amendment that essentially rewrites the anti-drag bill to protect children from actual threats to their well-being: religious indoctrination camps.

The amendment says “there is a well-documented history of indoctrination and sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders and clergy people upon children.” Where does it happen? Church camps. Religious retreats. Vacation Bible study. Church lock-ins. Christian youth conventions.

Therefore, she says, we ought to ban children from attending any of those.

No individual under nineteen years of age shall be present at a religious indoctrination camp. Any person nineteen years of age or older who knowingly brings an individual under nineteen years of age to a religious indoctrination camp shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.

The $10,000 fine would also apply to any group hosting those “religious indoctrination camps.”

Obviously, Hunt is doing this to make a point. If right-wing lawmakers actually wanted to protect children, they could go after the people who are actual threats to children. Instead, they’re going after drag queens. They’re waging a culture war battle instead of doing anything useful.

Hunt even said on Twitter that she filed the amendment knowing it won’t pass. (If she thought there was a chance it could pass, she wouldn’t have done it.) Does that mean it’s a waste of time? Not at all. She’s using the tools at her disposal to make a larger point and get conversations going. Her legislative mentor, Ernie Chambers, would be proud. It’s not that different from proposing mandatory vasectomies in response to Republicans forcing women to give birth against their will.

When you’re a progressive legislator surrounded by conservatives, you have to do everything in your power to prevent bad bills from passing. If killing the bill isn’t an option, then making a point about the ridiculousness of the legislation may help shift public opinion even if it won’t sway your colleagues.

Avatar photo

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.