The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs approved two measures restricting drag queen performances in the presence of children.
On March 27, the legislation was passed by a 6-2 majority.
During a committee hearing on March 23, Republican state Senator Bryan Hughes, who introduced the proposals, argued that there was consensus that minors should not be exposed to sexually explicit content. This content can be presented in a number of formats, including but not limited to print, video, and performance art.
The bills will move to the full Senate for additional debate. House approval is required for these bills to be transmitted to the governor for signing.
SB 12 is broader than previous bills that sought to prohibit the performance of drag shows in the presence of minors.
In the future, even more, damaging forms of entertainment may replace today’s drag events. According to the bill’s statement of purpose written by Hughes, SB 12 pertains to and will protect minors against sexually oriented performances in general.
Singing, lip-syncing, dancing, or any other public performance that features or appeals to the prurient desire for sex is considered a sexually oriented performance under the proposed legislation.
The measure also establishes criminal sanctions for proprietors of establishments who host family-friendly drag shows or similar events.
Class A misdemeanors have a maximum jail sentence of one year, a fine of up to $10,000, or both for those found guilty of breaking them.
If passed, Senate Bill 12 would make it illegal for venues that cater to minors to host sexually explicit performances like drag shows.
Public libraries in Texas and elsewhere nationwide have offered Drag Queen Story Hour events for kids for numerous years.
According to Senate Bill 1601, a city library can’t get state funding if it stages an event where a man dressed as a woman or a woman disguised as a man reads a book or story to a child for entertainment, and gender-bending is a big part of the show.
Members of the public who testified in favor of the proposed regulation argued that children should be shielded from all sexually explicit media.
Testifying before the Senate Committee on State Affairs, Ed Fox, Director of Education at Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, said that his exposure to sexually oriented entertainment as a child had a lasting impact on him.
Fox proceeded by saying that this should not be forced onto children, and the fact that this discussion is even needed is almost comical in its obviousness. Young children should not be exposed because it can have negative consequences, ones he was witness to.
Another witness stated that sometimes children are asked to join the drag queens in their performances.
According to Texas Values Action’s director of government relations, young children have been shown on camera putting money in the underpants of drag queens and being instructed to strut or dance like the drag queens.
In addition, as Castle pointed out, it exposes children to highly sexual content at a young age, which has been shown repeatedly to cause a wide range of problems in adulthood, including violence, intimacy troubles, and even malfunction.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has made the elimination of child gender alteration and the removal of pornographic materials from public libraries top priorities. Senate Bill 12 is one of these three proposals.