After the Texas Legislature passed a measure this legislative session banning sexually oriented performances in the presence of children, East Texas drag queens are upset and protesting that they won’t be allowed to dance explicitly in front of children next year at “Pride” events.

Senate Bill 12 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola), which takes effect September 1, prevents sexually explicit performances, such as drag performances, from being performed in the presence of a minor. Violation of this state law will result in a $10,000 fine and a Class A misdemeanor.

In response to SB 12, Pride East Texas Longview has set up a “Drag March” protest in Longview on June 24.

This march will be led by drag performer Gemini Alexander Brooks and Wolfie Hoover, vice president of Pride East Texas Longview (PETL). Brooks says on the event website, “This [SB 12] will affect Drag performers through the State of Texas. Affecting Pride events, Brunches, Shows, Readings and etc. Meaning in 2024 we unfortunately will not be allowed to perform at Pride.”

“Our queens, kings, and thembodies, we are organizing a march to Heritage Park to protest the newest anti Drag Bill that passed and is going to Greg Abott [sic] to sign,” said Hoover.

Brooks said, “Pride was inspired by the Stonewall riots. At Stonewall, we stood our ground. Today, we are still fighting and will do so until we have freedom without exception, liberation without exception, joy without exception and pride without exception.” He is also calling for people to flood the governor’s office with calls in protest of SB 12.

Meanwhile, Brady Gray, board member of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard, “The mere fact these groups are so upset they will no longer be able to host vile performances in the presence of children is concerning. It is the exact reason SB12 is so necessary and raises the question of why these groups are so insistent on a minor audience. We are thankful to Sen. Bryan Hughes for his work on this legislation and look forward to seeing it signed into law.”

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes is a fellow at Texas Scorecard and student at Concordia University of Texas, where he is in the Pre-Seminary program. He is passionate about theology and gun rights topics.