Four new bills filed in the Texas legislature aim to re-categorize bars or businesses that host drag shows as “sexually oriented businesses,” the same classification as adult movie theaters and sex shops.
That would result in operating under different regulations as well as higher taxes and fees. Those increased pressures could compel the businesses to stop presenting drag performances or shut down altogether.
Texas lawmakers this year will debate whether to restrict trans kids’ access to health care, classify businesses that host drag shows as sexually oriented establishments and limit public school lessons on sexuality and gender identity. https://t.co/QXS63Mzn7t
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) March 7, 2023
From the Texas Tribune:
Each of the four bills (House Bills 643, 708, 1266 and Senate Bill 476 ) define drag shows as performances “in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.”
They make no distinction between shows performed at bars, which can at times involve sexual humor, and events where a person in drag reads a children’s book or a play or movie in which a character dresses in drag.
The past few years have seen increased attacks by conservative politicians at drag shows. These lawmakers argue that any kind of dressing in drag is inherently sexual.
Related: Tennessee Lawmakers Approve Bill Banning Drag From Public
The author of House Bill 1266, Rep. Nate Schatzline, R-Fort Worth, came under fire recently for hypocrisy when video of him dressed in drag re-surfaced.
But Schatzline says when he did drag it was just a joke. But when it comes to other men performing in dresses in bars, THAT’s sexual. #UhHuh…
So far, none of the lawmakers of the bills have explained why clothes or makeup make someone’s appearance sexual.
A Texas lawmaker says his push to classify drag shows as sexually oriented performances is meant to protect children from inappropriate content. But he says it wasn’t sexual when he wore a dress as a teenager for a school project. https://t.co/RxDEMQ8slO
— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) March 4, 2023