Breaking News
More () »

'Drag is a form of art' | Two Texas Senate bills would ban kids from drag performances

Nearly 100 people signed up to testify about the bills Thursday at the Texas Capitol.

AUSTIN, Texas — Two bills concerning drag show performances are being considered by the Texas Legislature this session.

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on State Affairs began hearing testimony regarding two bills put forward by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-District 1): Senate Bill 12 and Senate Bill 1601

SB 12 changes the definition of "sexually oriented performances" to include male performers acting as women and female performers acting as men that are sexual. 

Under the bill, business owners cannot allow a "sexually oriented performance" to occur while there are children under the age of 18 present. The bill would make it so that drag performances could not occur while children are around, and violators could face a civil penalty of up to $10,000. 

SB 1601 would remove funding from public libraries that host events where people dress as the opposite gender. 

Opponents say these bills "vilify" drag queens and further marginalize them.

"Drag is a form of art and, like any form of art, it can be modified for children," drag queen Brigitte Bandit testified Thursday. "There are going to be drag shows where we don't want kids in the show. We're not trying to say all drag is good for kids – we're just trying to say there are appropriate times that drag is modified to be safe for kids."

Supporters of the bills say they protect Texas children.

During the Senate hearing Thursday afternoon, Hughes wanted to make it clear this bill is not intended to stop theatrical shows. According to Hughes, municipalities can regulate those shows as they see fit. He cited the show "Peter Pan" as an example.

"There are certainly Broadway shows, 'Peter Pan' – before any of us were born, a lady named Sandy Duncan, a female [played Peter Pan]. There's no prurient interest. It doesn't comply under the statute to be covered under a bill like this, if that's helpful," Hughes said.

Almost 100 people signed up to testify about the bills on Thursday, which added up to more than four hours of testimony.

Isabella Basco on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Before You Leave, Check This Out