UPDATED 6/9 with additional comments.

As the LGBT ‘Pride’ month kicks off, an Austin sculpture garden and museum is hosting a so-called ‘family-friendly’ drag show featuring a 13-year-old child.

The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum, located near Zilker Park in Austin, is set to host an LGBT Pride event this Sunday. According to the website, the event is a “Family Day” and will include a drag performance and story-time, arts and crafts, and “gender-affirming hair decor” by Shag Noir Salon that “affirms identity and boosts confidence.” 

The drag performer who will be performing and doing story-time is a 13-year-old child, whose stage name is Kween Keekee. The gender-confused child’s Instagram page shows previous performances, in one of which the child is holding a knife to his throat and stabbing himself. Another post shows the child dancing and someone handing him money during the performance.

Information about the event also tells people to get a picture with the H-E-Buddy, the mascot for the Texas-based grocery store HEB. 

Texas Scorecard asked HEB about the event to see if they were sponsoring it, but they did not respond. However, the Executive Director and Curator of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum, Katie Robinson Edwards, told Texas Scorecard, “We are proud to have H-E-B as a longtime general sponsor. H-E-B does not get involved in specific programmatic decisions at the UMLAUF.”

Edwards later told Texas Scorecard on June 8, “the UMLAUF made a mistake. H-E-Buddy has attended a previous non-Pride Family Day, but was never scheduled to be at the June 9th Family Day.  We caught the error last month, but unfortunately didn’t catch every instance on our website.”

The bottom of the museum’s website displays a list of companies and departments that support its efforts. The list includes HEB and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. However, after publishing this article, HEB was removed from the website.

Texas Scorecard reached out to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department about the event. A spokesperson said, “The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum is part of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department.” The department confirmed that the parks department is hosting the event. The department declined to answer when asked about the use of taxpayer dollars to put on the event. Edwards also clarified on June 8 that “No tax payer dollars are supporting tomorrow’s family day.” 

When asked about using taxpayer funds for the LGBT event, a City of Austin spokesperson told Texas Scorecard, “The City of Austin strives to celebrate and reflect diversity and inclusivity in all of our programs and services.”

Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard, “There has never been a more pervasive example of the evil in our society than the sexual exploitation of children. A child performing drag before an audience of adults is a remarkably disturbing example of this evil. The people of Austin should flood the phone lines and email inboxes of the parks department and any city official demanding they put a stop to this.”

“If it is to continue, it will serve as a key example of what must be dealt with through legislation. Anyone organizing, promoting, or supporting these events should be subject to both criminal and civil penalties,” added Gray. 

During the last Legislative Session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 12, which would prohibit sexually oriented performances in front of minors. However, after Gov. Greg Abbott signed the measure into law, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sued the state to halt it from taking effect. 

A federal judge ruled in favor of the ACLU and granted a permanent injunction against enforcing the new law, preventing violators from being subjected to fines of up to $10,000 per offense. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and filed a motion to stay that injunction. However, the appellate court has not yet ruled on the case. 

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.