When you’re in a tiny town in Tennessee, there isn’t much of a drag or gay scene.
But in Portland, the City Board of Alderman has voted unanimously to ban it entirely from the town as soon as next week.
This ordinance would ban ‘adult content’ from being housed in commercial districts.
The order would stop establishments featuring ‘exotic dancers, table dancers, private dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators, or similar entertainers.’
It came after a drag show was held at Envy Bar and Grill on 12 August, the first show of its kind in the town’s history.
The show was sold out, but organizers received numerous death threats on Facebook.
‘Some of the messages came from people I knew and considered to be my friends,’ Kyle Guillermo, whose company helped put on the event, told INTO.
Many of the threats included telling him to ‘jump off a bridge’ and ‘throw [himself] into traffic.’
People also threatened his husband, his four children, and called his parents.
Mayor Kenneth Wilber is leading the backlash, claiming it is against Portland, Tennesse’s ‘values’.
‘We do not want those types of things in our normal business district, so I support it 100%,’ he said.
Guillermo is against the ban as he believes it will go against LGBTIs freedom of assembly.
Drag queen fights back against conservative order in Tennessee
‘Doing these drag shows allows LGBTQ people in Portland to do something they’ve never had the chance to before’, he said, who added the closest drag bar is over an hour’s drive.
‘All of my performers and everyone involved with this company, we all have regular jobs. The show is a place where we can escape and be ourselves, if just for a moment, before we go back to the real world.
‘It feels like they’re ripping this dream away from us.’
Guillermo, who also performs as drag queen Jessica Monroe, is planning a support rally for 4.30pm at Portland City Hall on 18 September before the board’s 6.30pm meeting.
‘Join Elite Productions as we take a stand against hate, discrimination and fight to be able to perform at Envy Bar & Restaurant,’ he said on Facebook.
‘Come speak out and let your voice be heard in front of city council. Show your love and support for Elite and Envy as it’s time for a change and it’s time to be heard.’