Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has a past dressing as a woman despite his preparing to sign a bill that bans people from wearing drag.
On Monday, Lee confirmed that he would sign the notorious drag bill, a first of its kind. This, strict policy makes it illegal for performers or any “male or female impersonators” to be in drag in public spaces where children may be able to see them. First-time offenders could face likely misdemeanor charges, while additional offenses could result in a felony.
Prior to his announcement, a photo began spreading like wildfire late Saturday, showing a young Lee dressed as a woman. The black and white picture inside the 1977 Franklin High School displays a tall, slender male in a mini skirt, tight-fitting sweater, pearls, and what appears to be a frumpy-looking wig. The caption reads: “Hard Luck Woman.” Other people standing next to Lee are seen wearing large-fitting suits. It’s unclear if his get-up was part of a spirit day or if this was his everyday attire. Either way, it’s contradictory to his current stance.
When Lee was shown the photo during a Monday press conference, he was asked if he remembered taking it. The governor wouldn’t confirm nor deny the image but did get slightly agitated.
“What a ridiculous, ridiculous question that is! Conflating something like that to sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject,” he told a reporter.
👀 WATCH: “Do you remember dressing in drag in 1977? Is it only illegal when gay people do it?” @GovBillLee didn’t appreciate that we printed out the FRANKLIN HIGH YEARBOOK PHOTO — but did not deny it’s him. Meanwhile he’s about to make drag a felony by signing an absurd law.🤔 pic.twitter.com/C7YQcQyis3
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) February 27, 2023
In addition to banning drag, Lee also plans to sign a separate bill restricting gender-affirming care for minors in the state.