FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Multiple banners are hanging high outside several Fayetteville businesses in response to Arkansas Senate Bill 43.
Senate Bill 43 is the drag performance bill filed by Arkansas legislators earlier this month that has been referred to the Arkansas House Committee on city, county and local affairs.
Local artists created the banners to put on display at businesses protesting the bill. Olivia Trimble, the owner of Sleet City Art and Supplies, says from one artist to another, she is honored to display one on her storefront.
“It was such an honor for the artists to have contacted me about displaying their work in response to SB 43,” Trimble said.
This bill would classify some drag performances as adult-oriented business that couldn’t be viewed by minors if it’s “intended to appeal to prurient interest”. It’s a bill Trimble says infringes on people’s rights.
“I feel like it’s an outright attack on both the trans and the drag community but it’s also an attack on business owners exercising their first amendment rights,” Trimble said.
However, Republican State Rep. Mary Bentley says she believes all the pushback around this bill comes from misinformation.
“I’m getting emails all the time from folks that we’re trying to stop theater, stop good fun things for kids, and that’s not what we’re trying to do at all. We’re trying to keep sexual, explicit material from our children,” Bentley said.
Bentley says Senate Bill 43 is not here to prohibit anyone’s rights, it’s just here to protect.
“We’re not trying to ban anything or anybody’s expressions. We’re just trying to keep sexual explicit material away from our kids. I keep saying it because that’s what it’s about,” Bentley said.
However, to Trimble, she says she feels Arkansas legislators have a larger motive than the one they’re showing.
“It’s a blatant attack, and I think that the vagueness in it was an attempt to maybe slide it through and it’s not working like we can all see what it is,” Trimble said.
Trimble says the artists that created the banners in response to SB-43 will continue to display their work across Northwest Arkansas.