Image Credit: Knoxville Community Media / YouTube
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
A proposal to protect children and possibly restrict funds to Knoxville’s Tennessee Theatre was tabled by the Knox County Commission on Monday. In a 9-1 vote, commissioners set aside the motion indefinitely.
Last December, the theater hosted a Drag Queen Christmas show amidst protests where minors were in attendance. Performances of the show in other cities had performers interacting with children which led to Knoxville officials communicating to the show’s promoter that they had different expectations in Tennessee. Local law enforcement also monitored the performance.
Commissioner Rhonda Lee’s proposed resolution aimed at protecting the innocence of children had previously cited drag shows with explicit or sexual content as being an example of the type of activities that the county would possibly not fund with taxpayer dollars.
The original resolution stated, “The Knox County Commission neither supports nor approves of activities, programs, events, content, or institutions which support, normalize or encourage the sexualization of children and youth.”
Before Monday’s meeting, Lee had said that she was surprised at pushback to her resolution.
David Buuck, Knox County Commission’s Law Director removed parts of the resolution that would have impacted how the county funds are allocated stating that it would interfere with the ability of the county mayor to write the budget. Lee asked for those to be added back in.
Commissioners on both political sides wanted Lee to make her resolution more specific before they would support any restricting of funds for LGBTQ+ friendly programs and other organizations and said it was too vague.
While several in attendance spoke up for the resolution, other members of the community said it was unnecessary from a legal standpoint and said it could be seen as being “unwelcoming” to LGBTQ+ people.
However, a similar resolution was unanimously approved by Sumner County’s Commissioners this month.
That resolution stated in part that the exposure to and normalization of sexualized behaviors reduces the inhibitions of children and their ability to protect themselves from unwanted sexual advances. Because children learn from observation and tend to act out what they have seen, children who have observed sexualized behaviors may act out these behaviors with other children.
Acknowledging that “wholesome, good, honorable content and activities should be promoted to children” the Chairman of the Sumner County Commission will be establishing an ad hoc committee to study, and make recommendations, to address the threat of sexualization of children in the county.
Sumner’s resolution could be used as a template for other counties around the state should they wish to adopt similar proposals to protect children from encountering inappropriate entertainment or other activities in their communities.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.