Media Contact

Janna Farley,

September 11, 2023

North Dakota lawmakers tried – and failed – to ban drag during the 2023 legislative session.

The bill, that would have made it a crime to perform drag shows in the presence of children or in public places, was amended to only make minor changes to the state’s existing obscenity laws.

The ACLU of North Dakota is thrilled that lawmakers got this one right. North Dakota would be a drag without drag, after all!

In all seriousness, though, it’s important to remember that drag is a form of creative expression, and just like dance, fashion and music, it’s protected by the First Amendment. Despite what some politicians think – both here in North Dakota and throughout the country – drag is not a crime.

That’s why the ACLU is hosting a Drag Happy Hour in conjunction with the Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival on Friday.

“We want to take the time to celebrate our right to free speech and free expression,” said Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager. “But we also want to recognize that we still have work to do as we continue the fight for freedom of gender expression and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit rights while protecting the civil liberties for North Dakota’s most vulnerable populations.”


WHAT: Drag Happy Hour

WHEN: 5 to 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15

WHERE: Jasper Lounge, 215 Broadway


About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.