Republicans around the national advocate for legislation that would prohibit or ban drag show performances in the presence of minors.
Supporters assert that the legislation is discriminatory towards the LGBTQ community and might impact their companies and livelihoods.
Timothy Sherwood, who performs as Kylee O’Hara Fatale, said, “Drag saved my life.”
Sherwood considers dragging to be more than simply a career. He abandoned a teaching position in Dallas to become Kylee O’Hara Fatale full-time.
“Kylee revealed to me my genuine nature and voice,” Sherwood explains.
This voice may soon be muffled in Texas, where at least four measures are being considered to prohibit drag performances.
If these measures become law, my entire way of life will be in jeopardy. I cannot even conceive of a life in which I am unable to be the person I have worked so hard to become. “It would be soul-crushing to have all of it stripped away,” Sherwood says.
Bryan Slaton, state representative for Texas, states that the legislation is intended to safeguard youngsters.
“I believe it is essential to safeguard children from adults who wish to sexualize them. Now, the only organization attempting to sexualize minors is drag performers, according to Slaton.
Drag shows and literacy programs, such as drag queen story hour, have sparked protests and violence from right-wing extremist organizations in some jurisdictions.
At least 18 states, including Texas, aim to restrict drag.
According to rights groups, this is part of a larger assault on the LGBTQ community.
“States around the country are racing to the bottom in their attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals. Just in March of this year, almost 400 laws targeting our group have been submitted, according to Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson.
Many proposed laws would make it unlawful for a company to organize a drag performance unless it is categorized as a sexually-oriented enterprise.
Jay Anderson operates Anderson Distillery & Restaurant in Texas, close to Fort Worth.
“If someone walked in and said, ‘Today, you are a sexually-oriented business,’ that would be it,” says Anderson. “I would have to shut my doors. “No, there is no way,”
The objections that ensued when he attempted to arrange a family-friendly drag brunch including his kid as a performer have already hurt his company.
“This map essentially monitors all death threats received by our organization. “I don’t care if this drag performance leads me to lose my business and all the money I’ve invested in it, so long as it saves one youngster from committing suicide,” Anderson adds.
By defining drag as the act of appearing in public in a gender other than the one given at birth, some critics claim the legislation is overly broad and might target transgender individuals.
“The difficulty is that a large portion of the population, particularly in Republican regions, is unable to differentiate between a drag queen and a trans woman. A public area may regard me as a drag queen since I am transgender. What does this entail for my performances?” Dahlia Knowles asks.
Knowles is a pop singer from Dallas who sings under the stage name Lorelei K.
“I do not assume another gender. I am of this gender. Knowles describes as ludicrous the notion that she must perform at sexually related companies when her performance is not sexually focused.
She fears that the broadly worded law will classify her as a drag performer since she is a transgender woman.
“This only represents the tip of the iceberg. They are attempting to eliminate transgender individuals from public view. It is not debatable if I exist or not. I do exist. Like I’m here, yet I’m receiving the message that I’m not welcome,” Knowles describes