Lawmakers in the Texas Senate approved bans on sexually explicit drag shows that target children, as well as “drag queen story hours” in public libraries across the state.
Senate Bill 12 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola) is a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and will protect children from sexually oriented performances in public places and private businesses. In addition, it will authorize the Texas attorney general to sue any business or entity that violates the law.
“Drag shows are sexually explicit and expose children to issues of sexuality and identity that should be reserved for adults,” said Hughes.
“Senate Bill 12 is about children,” emphasized Hughes, saying he hoped his fellow senators would be in agreement on protecting children.
Senators approved the legislation by a vote of 20-11.
“I selected SB 12 to be a top priority of mine because someone must fight back against the radical Left’s degradation of our society and values,” said Patrick. “It is shocking to me that any parent would allow their young child to be sexualized by drag shows. Children, who cannot make decisions on their own, must be protected from these sexually-oriented drag shows now occurring more and more in front of them.”
“I will not allow Texas children to be sexualized and scarred for life by harmful drag performances,” added Patrick.
Senate Bill 1601, also by Hughes, will ban drag queen story hours from public libraries that receive state funding.
“Drag queen story hour is focused on children,” said Hughes, highlighting the ways children are sexualized and exposed to content that encourages them to believe these behaviors should be celebrated.
Democrat State Sen. Nathan Johnson of Dallas said a vote against the bill is not a vote for the acceptance of these behaviors in libraries.
Hughes reminded Johnson that the purpose of these events is to “strive to ‘capture the imagination and play of gender fluidity of childhood and [give] kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.’”
“There’s no debate that this is highly inappropriate for children,” Kelly Neidert, executive director of Protect Texas Kids, told the Senate Committee on State Affairs. “Bringing children around sexual content is a targeted assault on their minds and bodies that should never be tolerated in a civilized society.”
Senators approved the legislation in a vote of 19-10, with Republican State Sen. Robert Nichols (Jacksonville) joining Democrat Royce West (Dallas) in abstaining from the vote.
Stopping the sexualization of children is a Texas GOP priority for the 88th Legislative Session.
SB 12 and SB 1601 now move to the Texas House for consideration.
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