State Representatives Propose Legislation to Criminalize Bringing Children to Drag Shows
State Representatives Propose Legislation to Criminalize Bringing Children to Drag Shows

By Patricia Tolson

In the aftermath of a drag show at a gay bar in Texas attended by children, state representatives in Texas and Florida have vowed to introduce legislation to make it a crime for an adult to bring a child to a drag show, with loss of parental rights as a potential consequence.

On June 4, Mr. Misster bar and nightclub hosted the “Drag the Kids to Pride” event. At the performance—billed as “a family-friendly drag show”—drag queens danced and slithered on the floor while children were encouraged to give them money. Children were also encouraged to join the performers to dance and “strike a pose.”

Signs saying “IT’S NOT GONNA LICK ITSELF” and “I LICKED IT SO IT’S MINE” glowed in large neon words behind them.

On June 6, after videos of the event went viral on social media, Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton issued a press release announcing plans to “file legislation protecting kids from drag shows and other inappropriate displays as soon as the next legislative session begins.”

“I believe it’s completely inappropriate for children in their development to be at a drag queen show,” Slaton told The Epoch Times. “That’s pretty much sexual in nature. When you take the characterization of women that drag queens do, it’s mainly sexual.”

“Then you have the gaudy fashion, the big dresses and lots of makeup, and at this event, these drag queens were wearing women’s underwear and the children were putting dollar bills into these men’s underwear and it would be highly inappropriate for them to do that with a female stripper. There’s just no point and no benefit to having children around sexually explicit events,” he said. “They’re trying to teach these kids that it’s OK to touch a grown man in his underwear. When is that ever a good thing?”

On June 7, drag queen Alyssa Edwards addressed Slaton’s press release on social media. In a tweet, Edwards wrote:

“My thoughts: 1) Our God is a God of love. 2) Parents are a child’s 1st & most important teacher/role model. 3) Drag is an art form which is subjective. 4) You, sir, have tweeted more about #drag than the loss at #Uvalde. Is this truly about children or politics? #Priorities.”

Slaton said he doesn’t see drag as an art form.

“Drag takes the qualities of a woman and puts on a display in their ‘art,’” Slaton countered. “But they’re not displaying how smart and intelligent women are. What they’re doing is promoting the sexual nature of a woman and I would say it’s very demeaning how they portray women. It’s inappropriate for children to be in a strip show environment, putting dollar bills in grown men’s ladies’ underwear. It’s just inappropriate. That’s never helpful for a child.”

Slaton said the motive behind his legislation proposal is for “children to maintain their innocence and to know there is inappropriate activity with adults.” He noted further that if parents won’t teach their children what is and is not appropriate for their child’s safety, this is when child protective services (CPS) would step in.

“We already have laws in place to protect children from either their own bad decisions or bad decisions adults would put on them and manipulate them,” Slaton added, noting that there are already laws making it illegal for children to go into sexually-oriented businesses, liquor stores, and bars. “That’s what this bill is about.”

Also on June 7, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini announced plans for similar legislation in Florida in response to an event in Palm Beach called “Pride on the Block: Drag Show for Kids!” According to Sabatini, such legislation “makes perfect sense.”

Republican Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini. (Courtesy of Anthony Sabatini)

“Adults should not be able to bring a child into a drag, sex show,” Sabatini told The Epoch Times. “They’re all sexually themed, provocative, and they have all types of sexual, provocative sayings on the walls, just like we saw in Dallas, so it should be illegal. Very simple. … If you bring a child to a drag show you can be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.”

As for parents who would take their children to drag shows even after such legislation was passed, Sabatini said “it would be the same as if you brought a child to watch pornography. They could lose their parental rights in family court, dependency court, and then you can go to jail.”

While he doesn’t “have it nailed down,” Slaton said there are “about three or four avenues” he is looking at for how to address the issue. Making it a felony is on the table, he said. Loss of parental rights is also being considered.

“Our goal is just to find a way to protect children from inappropriate behavior and interactions with grown adults,” Slaton clarified. “Where I’m at right now is I want to make sure this is labeled and treated as child abuse and grooming. So whatever punishment is appropriate for child abuse, I would support.”

Slaton explained that right now in Texas, if a parent took their child to a strip club, there are criminal penalties associated with that and most likely an investigation by CPS.

“It’s already wrong to take your child to a sexually-oriented business,” he noted, adding they want to “make it illegal for a child to be at a drag event.”
While laws vary “from one city or county to the next,” FindLaw explains how zoning laws are the primary method used to restrict the location, activities, and age limits of sexually-oriented businesses. Regarding adult entertainment and strip club laws affecting the “manner” in which sexually oriented establishments may operate, FindLaw says “most ordinances require patrons and employees to be 18 and older; 21 if alcohol is served.”

Slaton said, “the idea that we have to have these types of performances around children is pretty disturbing.”

“Why is it so important for a child to be with a grown adult in their underwear?” He posited. “Why is that important?”

According to Slaton, the drag show for children “very much has the qualities of grooming” and most of the people he has spoken to about the event found it to be “absolutely disgusting.” He also said he has received calls from people who have identified as homosexual men who have thanked him for proposing the bill “because they don’t believe children should be at a drag event.”

“They’re trying to teach these kids that it’s okay to be with adults that are acting this way and with adults that are wanting you to interact with them in this way. It would be wrong if a straight person was doing this with children. It is equally wrong for a drag or homosexual person to do this with children,” Slaton said. “That’s what this is about. It’s about protecting children, and yes, there are some people who have taken this and made it about themselves and about drag performances. If you read my press release it’s about protecting children from highly inappropriate behavior and interactions with adults.”

Sabatini said he believes the goal of people who push drag shows for kids and transgender ideology in schools is for society to become more “genderless” and sexualized.

“They try to get to the young kids. That way they can change the next generation so the young kids think it’s normal for a man to dress up like a woman and do sexual dancing and humping on the ground, and all this weird stuff they do,” Sabatini asserted.

“They want to normalize it,” he said. “But it’s not normal, so they have to try to brainwash these kids into thinking it’s normal, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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