Words: Alastair James; pictures: Twitter/@BryanforHD2
A lawmaker in the US state of Texas wants to put forward legislation that would ban minors from attending drag shows.
It comes after a video appeared online showing children at a drag show in the city of Dallas.
Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton, who is of course a Republican, tweeted a statement on Monday (6 June) that his proposed legislation would protect children from drag shows and "other inappropriate displays."
Drag shows are no place for a child.— Bryan Slaton (@BryanforHD2) June 6, 2022
I would never take my children to a drag show and I know Speaker Dade Phelan and my Republican colleagues wouldn’t either.
I will be filing legislation to address this issue in the new #txlege . pic.twitter.com/R7NkX7ADBR
In subsequent tweets, Slaton questioned the sanity of anyone supporting inclusive spaces.
But Slaton has been blasted for choosing to focus on this rather than gun reform in the light of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Texas Democrat Jessica Gonzálex tweeted on Monday: "This isn't about protecting children, it's about further censoring the LGBTQ+ community and taking more rights away from parents. Let's actually protect children by passing common-sense gun control."
This isn't about protecting children, it's about further censoring the LGBTQ+ community and taking more rights away from parents.— Jessica González (@jessicafortexas) June 6, 2022
Let's actually protect children by passing common-sense gun control. #txlege https://t.co/iKJcwlhX4G
Equality Texas CEO Ricardo Martinez told The Advocate that "In spite of Rep. Slaton’s attempts to harass, demean, and belittle his own LGBTQ+ constituents on the floor of the Texas House, none of his numerous anti-trans amendments were adopted."
He also said that drag shows had created a safe space in a notably anti-LGBTQ state. He also warned that fear-mongering would put such spaces at risk.
"The past few weeks have reminded us of the state of danger that Texas children live in every day. ... Right now, Texans are laser-focused on real issues that put our children at risk. We will not be distracted by Slaton’s attempt to scapegoat a longstanding part of Texas culture."
WFAA news footage shows clips from the Drag The Kids To Pride event at the Mr. Misster bar in Dallas. Adult drag performers can be seen walking the runway with children on occasion.
A statement from the Mr. Misster club reads: "We believe everyone should have a space to celebrate who they are" and adds that the bar is a space where everyone can "feel accepted, safe, and included."
Sadly, this is just the latest in a string of homophobic and transphobic pieces of legislation to appear in the US.
In February, the state's governor, Greg Abbott, ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate the parents of trans children for helping them access gender-affirming care.
A statewide injunction was placed on the order halting it. However, the Texas Supreme Court lifted this in May but also said the DFPS didn't have to follow the orders of Abbott.
Following Florida's passing of the 'Don't Say Gay, Don't Say Trans' bill, which is due to take effect from 1 July, several other states have begun to introduce similar legislation.
The bill would effectively ban discussion of LGBTQ issues and the community in most school settings and is akin to Section 28, which was introduced in the UK by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
The Attitude July/August issue featuring the cast of Queer As Folk is out on 9 June. Preorder here.