While drag shows billed as “family friendly” are becoming pervasive across Texas and the country, more communities are pushing back against adult entertainment being targeted to children.

On Thursday night, a coalition of local grassroots groups protested outside a restaurant in the Central Texas town of Temple as drag queens danced for an “all ages” audience inside.

“We are here because the innocence of our community’s children is important enough to protect,” one of the protesters told Texas Scorecard.

The Fajita Kings restaurant advertised its “Golden Girls Trivia and Drag Show” as a “family-friendly event” and mocked concerned community members as “self-righteous.”

For everyone asking when the Drag show will be here it is. Everyone is welcome from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. This is a family friendly event so don’t panic.

The event ad featured the logo of Temple Pride, a group started earlier this year to promote “LGBTQ” events in Bell County and solicit support from local businesses.

Thursday’s event was filled to capacity (reportedly 123 people), with more people waiting outside.

Fajita Kings bragged afterwards that the controversy had ginned up business, saying protesters’ complaints had “expanded our fame and helped boost our sales.”

Protesters outside the drag show included parents and grandparents, as well as members of local churches and other organizations.

“Where do they stop?” a pastor from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Temple asked Texas Scorecard. “There’s no line.”

“Love is telling the truth,” he said. “Jesus didn’t compromise, but you have pastors all over the country compromising because they are afraid of offending people. They better be afraid of offending God.”

Temple resident Elena Aydelotte said Fajita Kings “crossed the line” by holding a “lewd, sexually provocative adult show” and welcoming minors who were giving dollar bills to the drag queens.

“I won’t tolerate that, not when children are involved,” she said. “Not in our community at a public restaurant or anywhere with children.”

Aydelotte said adult entertainment belongs at adult venues.

“My goal is to build a bridge and represent God’s love for all,” she added. “If the LGBTQ community really wants unity like they claim, then that bridge will be built with the children’s well-being, first and foremost.”

Several members of the group Christians for CenTex also joined the protest.

“We’re here to protect our children so our community doesn’t get overwhelmed,” said a woman whose granddaughter attends Belton High School. “There are appropriate places where children are protected, not a ‘family-friendly’ venue.”

“All God wants us to do is step in,” she added. “He’ll do the rest.”

Local resident Jill Robbins said this was the first time such an event has been held at a local venue and open to all ages. She blames Temple’s mayor and city manager.

“They laid out the welcome mat for this,” she said, referring to the city’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission established in 2020.

Earlier this year, city officials planned to hire a Chicago-based “diversity” consultant, but they dropped the proposal after residents spoke against hiring the firm.

Just ahead of Thursday’s drag show and protest, local residents spoke at a Temple City Council meeting, asking officials to consider ordinances regulating sexually oriented businesses and prohibiting minors from attending drag queen shows within Temple city limits.

“These shows are inherently sexual and never appropriate for kids,” said Scott Daniel, a resident of neighboring Belton.

Temple Mayor Tim Davis said he had spoken with the city attorney, who told him such an ordinance would not be legal.

“It’s pretty sad if we can’t protect kids in Temple, Texas,” Daniel added.

Temple resident Nell Brindley summed up many protesters’ concerns in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, in response to an article the Temple Daily Telegram published describing drag as a mainstream “art form.”

“I can think of no good reason why innocent children need to see grown men gyrating and dancing around in provocative women’s clothes,” Brindley wrote.

“Let me be clear, what adults do behind closed doors is their business, but leave the children alone!”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.