SAN ANTONIO — Tuesday night, “A Drag Queen Christmas” show attracted a large crowd outside of the Aztec Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
On one side of St. Mary’s Street, a few dozen people gathered to protest the all-ages performance. Some prayed into a microphone, others held signs that read “marriage equals a husband and wife” and “no kids allowed” – referring to drag shows. Organizers of the protest accuse the show of "grooming children."
On the other side of St. Mary’s Street, a larger group formed. LGBTQ advocates waved pride flags and held signs that read “down with the anti-LGBTQ laws” and “smash fascism.” Many chanted phrases like “God loves gays.”
Critics and supporters of the show were armed. However, the event remained non-violent.
Police kept the theater entrance clear and patrolled both sides of the street.
“Since we are dealing with people’s rights, we are not going against LGBTQ,” said Ramon Garza, the vice president of This Is Texas Freedom Force (TITFF). “We are saying that we do not like that these shows are not age restricted, and that’s a primary reason we are here.”
“Drag shows are nothing but a performance, an expression of oneself,” said Dominique Renteria with the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). “It’s art. The perverted minds are the people on the other side of the street, turning it into something it’s not.”
A San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) spokesperson said public safety was its “top priority.” Officers performed threat assessments before the show. According to SAPD, the goal was to protect freedom of speech while making sure the protest remained peaceful.