State Rep. Andy Holt Introduces Bill to Address Drag Queen Story Hour in Tennessee


State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) has introduced a bill intended to address, among other things, events like the Drag Queen Story Hours at the state’s public libraries.

Holt’s bill, the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, would create a parental library review board for any library that takes state or federal money. This law would pertain to public libraries that provide access to age-inappropriate sexual material, including “nudity, sexuality, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse.”

To meet these standards this material must, according to Holt’s bill, appeal to the prurient interests of minors and/or offend prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is appropriate for minors.

Additionally, taken as a whole, it must lack “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors,” according to the legislation.

“Each parental library review board will consist of five adult members who reside in the county or municipality served by the public library. The board members will be selected in elections with the five individuals who receive the highest number of votes being elected to two-year terms,” according to the bill’s language.

“This bill requires parental library review boards to determine whether any sexual material provided to the public by the public library is age-inappropriate sexual material. Any such determination must include a public hearing wherein public comments are accepted. This bill authorizes parental library review boards to order any material deemed to be age-inappropriate sexual material to be removed from public access by minors at the public library. A board’s removal order will not be subject to any form of appeal or review other than through the courts.”

Any public library employees who fail to comply with or violate this proposed law will face a Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum fine of $500, incarceration, or both, according to Holt’s bill.

Holt’s bill also removes eligibility for state funding from any public library that allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual material in violation of this bill.

Holt reportedly told The Jackson Sun, that his bill “isn’t aimed at books or other traditional materials offered by libraries.”

“I think our libraries have a good handle on that right now,” Holt reportedly said.

“There’s certain books you know you won’t find in the children and youth reading sections that are available, although I’m not sure if they could actually check them out.

“But that kind of material isn’t targeted to children.”

Holt reportedly said he worried about other types of material.

“There’s obviously lots of creative media through computer and also presentations, discussions and speeches taking place in libraries such as drag queen story hours,” Holt said.

“There haven’t been many, but there have been a few come to Tennessee. This bill is trying to create panels to decide for themselves – at the local level – what is and what is not age appropriate as far as presentations in libraries.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photos “Drag Queen Story Hour” by Drag Queen Story Hour





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13 Thoughts to “State Rep. Andy Holt Introduces Bill to Address Drag Queen Story Hour in Tennessee”

  1. […] Queen Story Hours,” where men – dressed in full stage make-up and wardrobe – have read books to young children at local […]

  2. Cynthia

    I would not take my children to this kind of program. However, I’m more disturbed by this government overreach. Libraries do not need even more bureaucracy piled on them. A censorship board filled with folks who want to impose their personal beliefs on a public institution isn’t to help our children. It’s to appease angry adults who want to eliminate what they don’t like. It’s the unintended consequences that concern me. Andy Holt is assuming his censorship boards will kick out the drag queens. What if a board decides they like drag queens and want more of these kind of programs? Not all communities in Tennessee are Christian conservative. On the other side of the issue, once a censorship board gets a taste of power by kicking out the drag queens, where are they going to turn their attention next? Rarely do folks with this kind of authority stop with the first banishment. With the language of this bill, everything from the Bible to Where’s Waldo can be tossed out of the library – both of those books and many more have been banned for being too sexual.

    These kind of laws often get challenged in court and they usually get struck down because we have the First Amendment in this country to protect us. So how much of Tennessee taxpayer money will be squandered trying to defend an unconstitutional law? Never thought that Tennessee would join the ranks of nanny states!

    If adults are offended by drag queens, there are procedures in place to protest these kind of programs. We don’t need more laws and we certainly don’t need boards full of random folks dictating to the public what families may or may not do. It’s a parent’s decision what kind of programs their children will attend and what kind of books their children will read. Librarians are professionals who spend years studying and preparing for their jobs. (Library science is a master’s degree.) Librarians are sensitive to the community’s needs and often have to balance conflicting points of view to provide a vital service to everyone. There are much better ways to handle this issue than creating an onerous, unnecessary law.

  3. CollegeGrover

    It is about time Andy got back to his conservative roots.

  4. Joshua Read

    Any head librarian who permits this type of folderole in their children’s library resources should be shown the door and out looking for a new job. I’m sad that we need to form another govt board to regulate this idiocy.

  5. Noxville

    Communist goals, excerpted from the 1958 book, “The Naked Communist,” by Cleon Skousen:

    24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity, as “normal, natural, healthy.”

    41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

  6. William R. Delzell

    Let the libraries decide what to and what not to censor! They can follow well-written guidelines as set forth by the American Library Association of which I was a member when I served as a librarian in such diverse states as Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Louisiana. They don’t need any “help” from any self-proclaimed “expert” like Andy Holt. Trans-men and trans-women are no more likely than Andy Holt himself is to harm and prey on our children. It has been my unpleasant experience that people like Andy Holt and Michelle Backmann fail to protect children from things like DOMESTIC violence, etc. They are like these people who think that it is okay for parents and guardians to beet their children senseless or to force them to sit in scalding water if the abusers can cite a Biblical reason for inflicting such abuse. Indeed, one of Michelle Backmann’s female Tea Party secretaries a few years ago was busted for forcing her children to submit to child pornography so that the mother could make some extra dough on the side by selling this pornography to “customers” who would come to her house to mistreat the children. These politicians who constantly obsess over Trans-people by falsely linking them to ugly sex offenses usually have something ugly to hide about themselves. These politicians often, though not always, turn out to the REAL sex predators instead of the trans-people whom they seek to implicate in these horrible crimes against children. If there is a supervisor in the library room, I am sure the kids will be safe at the library and that it will protect the library from any false accusations. Also, some politicians like Andy Holt will use this trans-people bugaboo as a diversionary tactic to cover up their corporate crimes against the Tennessee tax-payer.

    My advice to my fellow Tennesseans: when you hear a politician scapegoat a particularly unpopular set of people, that politicians is not really for victims’ rights or law and order. They instead are for Order Without Law and for covering up vicious corporate crimes.Beware the Andy Holts!

  7. Sherrie Orange

    Parents or guardians of children should have the common sense to not allow their loved ones from seeing this or being around such stuff. The problem begins in the home.

  8. Wolf Woman

    If there were any common sense at all left in our society, just the name, Drag Queen Story Hour, would disqualify the event at a public library.

    I would hope that we would not have to have a law to stop this kind of child abuse but it seems like we do.

  9. Silence Dogood

    This stuff needs to STOP!!!! This is disgusting garbage portrayed by the mentally unstable in front of our children. Good grief….

  10. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    The Left would scream if the NRA taught gun safety at a public library.

  11. Beatrice Shaw

    This man is such a phobic

  12. Kevin

    In this day and age of the internet and the direct delivery to every home, all of the written text ever produced by mankind, why do we need libraries at all? When someone walks into a library, and asks a question, what does the librarian do, Google it! We spend more and more money on “technology” in the schools yet we continue to support obsolete methods. Are these “freak show” reading sessions just another attempt to falsely justify an outdated edifice? One thing that it does prove, is that government only grows in one direction, bigger and bigger, even if the justification for that service is eliminated.

  13. truthbeknown

    Drag Queen story hour? Really? Call me old fashioned but this is inappropriate for young kids. Sounds to me more like indoctrination, which is flat wrong.