Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Sexualized Drag Shows for Kids

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
May 30, 2023Politicsshare
Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Sexualized Drag Shows for Kids
The U.S. and Texas flags wave outside the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on July 13, 2021. (Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Lawmakers in both houses of the Texas state legislature have passed a bill that would ban sexually charged performances in the presence of minors.

On Sunday, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 12 by a vote of 87-54. The bill has now cleared both the Texas Senate and House and goes on to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, where he may sign it into law.

Texas SB 12 would specifically ban performances involving sexual depictions and actual or simulated sexual contact with another person when in the presence of an individual who is younger than 18 years old. Violators face a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

The bill comes two years after Abbott signed legislation barring anyone younger than 21 years of age from working in or patronizing a strip club. Republican Rep. Matt Shaheen, the House sponsor for the bill, said this latest measure is focused on “banning drag shows and other sexual performances in front of children.”

“I am carrying Senate Bill 12 to protect children from being sexualized and put an end to these shameful events,” Shaheen said of the bill’s passage in a statement on Sunday. “I appreciate Senator Bryan Hughes’ leadership on this important legislation. We will not tolerate our children being exposed to explicit, hyper-sexualized content from any type of performer in any way in the great state of Texas.”

NTD News reached out to Abbott’s office for comment on the passage of SB 12, and whether he intends to sign the bill into law. His office did not respond by the time this article was published.

Following SB 12’s passage on Sunday, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement he considers the bill “one of my top priorities this session because someone must push back against the radical left’s disgusting drag performances which harm Texas children.”

If signed into law, Texas would join a growing list of states that have banned drag performances for children. Tennessee, Florida, and Montana have also passed similar legislation.

Texas lawmakers introduced legislation to curtail drag performances after an event called “Drag the Kids to Pride Drag Show.” The June 2022 drag event featured the use of neon signs that read “It’s not gonna lick itself” and “I licked it so it’s mine,” as well as children tipping scantily clad drag performers and accompanying the performers on stage. Republican Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton was among the first to announce his intent to bring legislation banning drag performances for children after the event.

In January, Shaheen announced HB 708 as his attempt at having drag shows classified as sexually oriented businesses, and banning such performances in the presence of children. Slaton filed a separate bill in March, HB 4129, in which he also sought to ban “erotic performances” in front of minors.

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