As part of a broader effort to crack down on illegal public performances of sexual conduct, lawmakers passed a bill during the regular legislative session to criminalize drag shows. The measure, initially meant to protect children, broadens the scope of what would be illegal.
"We shouldn't have these very explicit, illicit shows that are typically reserved to night clubs and adult viewing in front of kids," comments Texas Values' Mary Elizabeth Castle, who was there for the final vote. "We want to make sure our state law is clear that kids aren't subjected to these types of inappropriate shows in public."
In Texas, it is illegal for anyone under 18 to get a tattoo, and people must be at least 21 years old to enter a bar or drink alcoholic beverages.
"Most of these drag shows occur in places where you have to be 21 in order to enter because there is alcohol," Castle notes. "We've even seen that kind of be an issue with some of these shows, too, where it's a brunch where people are drinking alcohol, but kids are present."
Senate Bill 12, "an act relating to the authority to regulate sexually oriented performances and to restricting those performances on the premises of a commercial enterprise, on public property, or in the presence of an individual younger than 18 years of age," now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his expected signature.
Violators can lose their business license, face up to a year in jail, and be charged up to $10,000 for each violation.
Earlier this month, Texas became the nation's largest state to protect minors from gender manipulation procedures. Lawmakers also approved a measure to protect women's sports.