DALLAS — A North Texas Republican lawmaker announced an effort to ban minors from drag shows after an event in Dallas this weekend, but Democrats say the move is a distraction from the issues facing the state.
Republican Bryan Slaton (R – Royse City) tweeted Monday, “I would never take my children to a drag show," adding “I will be filing legislation to address this new issue.”
The announcement follows an event at Mr. Misster, a bar in Dallas’s Oak Lawn neighborhood, that was billed as a family-friendly drag brunch at 11 a.m. Saturday. Videos from the event show parents and children cheering and dancing with performers.
Mr. Misster could not be reached for an interview Tuesday but said in a statement this weekend that the event was to provide a safe space and to raise money for LGBTQ youth. Misster said that outside protestors were “yelling homophobic threats, transphobic remarks and vile accusations at these children and parents.”
Slaton called it "inappropriate sexual content". He has not had a bill he authored ever become law and declined an interview on the specifics of what he’d propose but, in a statement, said, “There are a few different ways we could approach banning this horrendous activity.”
“This is yet just another attack, another way to demonize a community that simply just wants to exist,” said Rep. Jessica Gonzalez (D – Dallas), the vice chair of the LGBTQ+ caucus.
Gonzalez said the announcement and attention from other state Republican politicians are designed to turn attention away from the electric grid and the need for gun reform after the mass killing in Uvalde.
“We’ve got a lot of work here to do, and it’s unfortunate that some lawmakers are choosing to district people from the real issues at hand,” she said.
“There aren’t enough spaces, safe spaces for youth, LGBTQ youth," said Lee Daugherty, who runs neighboring bar Alexandre’s.
Daugherty said politicians and others are confusing 21+ drag shows with the family version on display Saturday.
“Conflating the two obviously shouldn’t be done, but I think it’s being done on purpose now to basically rile people’s emotions up,” he said. “There’s these distractions coming along that are pitting working class against each other when we really should be solving other problems.”
“They don’t want people to tell them how to raise their kids, so they shouldn’t tell other people how to raise their kids,” said Gonzalez.
Daugherty said he’s worried the discussions and new legislation could fuel new aggression towards LGBTQ communities.
“To have these events targeted is incredulous in my mind,” he said. “It’s scary that it’s gotten to this point.”