MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A new bill in the South Carolina House would negatively affect the Grand Strand’s LGBTQ community, according to a local activist.
If the bill is passed, Ryan Thompson, a board member of the group Grand Strand Action Together, said the next few years could be troubling for local businesses that support the LGBTQ community and Pride events.
The bill, known as the Defense of Children’s Innocence Act, would limit the accessibility of drag shows in the state by requiring any business that hosts such a show or drag-related event to be deemed a sexually oriented business.
“It takes away the freedoms for a business to do what they want to do to bring in revenue,” Thompson said. “So for businesses, now they have to be deemed as sexually oriented, which a lot of them before didn’t really have that mindset or attachment with them if they were just wanting to do a drag brunch or a drag bingo.”
The bill would also prohibit minors from viewing a drag show.
“With a ban like this, it’ll make it much harder for there to be a Pride celebration in public,” Thompson said. “Usually, they’re held at a public park or a public venue that can hold a crowd. So for people that have been used to going to Pride here in Myrtle Beach for the last few years, it’s going to look very different next year, or this year whenever we do have Pride if we’re able to even have it.”
The bill remains in a House committee.
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Claire Purnell is a multimedia journalist at News13. Claire is from Louisville, Kentucky. Claire joined the News13 team in January 2023 after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder in December 2022. Follow Claire on Twitter and read more of her work here.