In The Woodlands—a traditionally conservative part of the state—the Mahoney’s Texish Pub was scheduled to hold an all-ages drag show last Sunday. 

A flier for the “Drag Me to Brunch” event advertised it as an “all ages performance.” 

After that language led some to believe that children would be performing at the show, advertiser Trish Fleming clarified that all ages were invited to attend the show.

Still, many concerned residents accused the pub of intentionally luring children in to expose them to obscene and sexual acts.

Emilie Spruill, a resident in the area, posted on social media that she planned to call the pub, in hopes that they would cancel the show. However, the pub hung up on Spruill twice before telling her she could stay home if she did not want to attend the show (which they said was intended for families and children).

The pub defended its “child-friendly” drag show to social media critics, saying, “We are a family-owned and operated business. I do not appreciate you spewing lies to the community about what we are doing with our upcoming event. Your accusations are false, derogatory and misleading. This is a celebration of the LGBTQ community. Under no circumstance are we trying to lure children in to influence them in any way. This is the most absurd statement I have ever heard.” 

Despite the pushback from many in the community, the pub dropped the “all ages” language and changed the age of attendance to 18 years and older.

“We support this ENTIRE community and want to have a fun event and show our support for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month.” Mahoney’s posted on Instagram. “That being said, the event will continue as planned but we will be restricting it to those that are 18 and up.” 

The move was a victory for parents and concerned citizens who have fought back against similar efforts in recent weeks, especially after a “Drag Your Kids to Pride” event held in a Dallas gay bar earlier this month.

With Texas’ 88th Legislative Session is slated to begin in January, State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) has pledged to file legislation in the Texas House to abolish drag shows being held for children.

Emily Wilkerson

Emily is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, studying journalism with a minor in political science. She enjoys investigative journalism and making sure that every side of a story is being told.