A Texas state lawmaker is calling for a ban on drag shows and other sexually inappropriate displays for children following reports of minors attending an event featuring drag queens at a Dallas gay bar.
Billed as a “family-friendly pride experience” on Eventbrite, the bar Mr. Misster hosted a “Drag The Kids To Pride” show on June 4 as a “spin-off” of the bar’s Champagne Drag Brunch.
The event — which offered “limited spots for young performers to take the stage solo, or with a queen of their choosing” — offered mimosas for adults and special “mocktails” for guests under 21, according to the description on Eventbrite.
After receiving word about the event, Republican Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton released a statement calling it “horrifying.” He vowed to introduce legislation to stop what he calls a “disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children” once the next state legislative session gets underway.
“As a father of two young children, I would never take my children to a drag show and I know [Texas House] Speaker Dade Phelan and the rest of my Republican colleagues wouldn’t either,” Slaton said. “Protecting our own children isn’t enough, and our responsibility as lawmakers extends to the sexualization that is happening across Texas.”
Videos and images shared on social media from the event showed men in drag performing for adults and children inside the bar in the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas.
One video showed a performer in red leather drag taking tips from young children while suggestively dancing under a sign that reads “It’s Not Gonna Lick Itself” as parents and other adults looked on.
As the event took place, protesters and counter-protesters gathered outside the bar. Protect Texas Kids, which describes itself as “a nonprofit organization here to take a stand in protecting kids from the toxic, indoctrinating agenda of the left by exposing the truth behind the ongoing assault that has been ruthlessly waged against our children’s identities, core development, and traditional values,” organized the protest after they discovered the event listing online.
Kelly Neidert, executive director of Protect Texas Kids, told The Christian Post, "This venue … is not for children to be inside."
"It’s a bar. In the bar, they had signs on the wall that said, ‘It’s not gonna lick itself,'" she said. “It’s a huge sign, just lit up in the middle of the bar. They were serving alcohol to parents. That’s highly inappropriate in and of itself.”
According to Neidert, counter-protesters, including members of Antifa, were guarding the bar’s entrance during the event. Several protesters attempted to enter the bar but were denied, including journalist Alex Stein. Video posted to social media shows counter-protesters trying to take Stein's phone as he recorded.
In a statement to The Christian Post, Dallas Police Department Spokesman Cpl. Brian Martinez recalled that police arrived at the bar just before noon after receiving a call about “unpeaceful protesters.”
Neidert stated that her group told Dallas police there were children inside the bar, and police informed her that they sent a couple of officers inside.
Officers made their way into the bar to “ensure that all the kids were out and shielded them from the protestors as they made their exits on their own accounts,” Martinez added.
The scene was cleared just after 2 p.m., police said.
According to Martinez, a misdemeanor assault citation was issued after a man spat on a woman as he drove by the scene. No other citations were issued.
Following the event, a spokesperson for Mr. Misster told The Christian Post that the bar received hundreds of “threatening emails, messages and phone calls” after protesters were “yelling in kids’ faces, calling them a variety of homophobic slurs, throwing trash at them and trying to get in fights with parents.”
“We are sad to see that an event that was [supposed] to be a moment of pride for these LGBTQ+ families and their children is being interpreted as anything other than what it was, a family-friendly event. … We are thankful that DPD stepped in to control the unruly protestors and we are saddened by the unjust actions that these protestors displayed.”
Neidert welcomes legislative efforts such as Slaton’s and hopes more can be done to shield kids from sexually explicit events.
“Pride just isn’t meant for children to celebrate and be part of, especially these really young children like we were seeing in these videos that came out of the event,” she added. “They have no idea what they’re involved in. They don’t know what any of this means.”
“In my opinion, a lot of these pride events, especially the drag queen stuff, is inherently sexual, and kids just shouldn’t be exposed to that.”