Texas Drag Shows Becoming a Target of Right-Wing Extremist Groups
Right-wing extremists and extremist lawmakers are falsely accusing all-ages drag shows of what is happening at their shows which is causing violence and hate against gay people.
According to the Texas Tribune, drag shows where children are present have become the target of anti-LGBTQ+ hyperbole this year.
Extremist Far Right groups have called drag performers "groomers" which insinuates gay people are pedophiles and "indoctrinating" children into homosexuality and "sexualizing" them.
Especially after Republican Texas lawmakers have spent years targeting LGBTQ+ people, primarily transgender Texans, with bills trying to limit everything from the public restrooms they can use to whether they can get access to gender-affirming care.
“Like any form of art, drag can be modified to be appropriate for children,” said Brigitte Bandit, an Austin drag queen who has performed at family-friendly events. “We are smart enough to know what that is.”
Drag performers say demonstrators are using children to justify hate and violence against gay people, though the demonstrators deny that accusation.
“It seems like any comment that opposes allowing children to be exposed to sexually explicit events with scantily-clad men dancing provocatively is going to be deemed as ‘hateful’ by those who disagree,” wrote Kelly Neidert, Executive Director of Protect Texas Kids, a nonprofit that organizes protests at all ages-drag shows.
Misinformation experts report that those protests are the first step in the growing wave of right-wing extremism.
“This hate does not happen in a vacuum,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice-President at the Human Rights Campaign who also is transgender. “In Texas, an open carry state, we see multiple armed protests in opposition to LGBTQ+ bars, culture, and events each week. These attacks in Texas aim to perpetuate lies about who LGBTQ+ people are and set a dangerous precedent of singling out members of the community that will only result in higher instances of violence.”
Drag show roots can be traced all the way back to Japanese Kabuki shows, Ancient Greece, and Shakespearean times where men dressed in women's garments and make-up regularly for the shows and plays they were performing in.