Top Texas politicians think that cross-dressing performers are a real drag on the morals of the state. But a judge says their pet law is too vague to hold water. Here’s the full story.
No More Drag
Back in June, the Texas Congress passed a bill banning drag performances in the state.
Republican Governor Greg Abbott was only too happy to swiftly sign it into law.
They Wanted More
But even though the new law targeted drag shows, Republicans wanted to offer more protection for their fellow Texans’ tender eyes and ears.
Think of the Children
So they wordsmith the verbiage until it banned any act that is witnessed by a minor, or could be witnessed by a minor if it’s of a sexual nature.
Devil in the Details
Opponents of the bill were already worried that it would trample the rights of drag performers and maybe transexuals.
But the precise wording really raised their hackles.
Too Much Wiggle Room
Or, more accurately, it was the imprecise wording of the new law that caused so much concern.
A Catch-All Law
Besides being restrictive and anti-LGBQT+ at its core, critics say, the law also opens up the possibility for criminalizing other performances that have been fine to this point.
And all without having to go through the trouble of drafting a new law.
Hit Them Like a Wrecking Ball
For example, some fear that concerts held by suggestive musicians like Madonna or Miley Cyrus could be off the table now.
Minors often show up at their shows, after all.
Kids Not off the Hook
And even some high school performances, where students dance and sing in what could be construed as a suggestive way, could be targeted.
Teenagers in Love…and in Trouble
Technically, some opponents argue, the law could even affect relationships between teen couples.
Kiss and Pay the Price
In Texas, the age of consent for sexual contact is 17, but kids are still minors at that age.
So a 17-year-old couple who engage in a sex act could potentially be breaking the new law.
No One Is Safe
And that “potentially” is the real problem with the whole situation, say the plaintiffs who took their case to a federal court in late September.
The law is vague and leaves a lot of room for trouble, beyond just banning drag shows.
It Constitutes a Travesty
Judge David Hittner agreed with them, ruling that the law is both “unconstitutionally vague” and “unconstitutionally overbroad.”
Not for Everyone
In striking down the law, Hittner noted that drag shows are a form of art and self expression.
Across all walks of entertainment, the judge said, not everyone will appreciate or enjoy every performance.
No Good Excuse
But that doesn’t mean the performances should be banned.
And it doesn’t give lawmakers the leeway to trample over other people’s right to free speech.
Words for a Colleague
As part of his ruling, Hittner also made note of another judge’s recent decision regarding a high-profile ban on drags.
No Drag on Campus
Earlier in 2023, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled in favor of West Texas A & M after the school president banned drag shows on campus, comparing them to offensive and racist “blackface” demonstrations.
Protected Whether You Like It or Not
But Hittner saw the president’s vitriol as just more evidence that you don’t have to like a piece of art for it to be protected by the first amendment.
Back on the Runway
So, for now at least, drag queens can be as big and bright as they want deep in the heart of Texas.
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The post Justice in Heels as Texas Judge’s Bold Verdict on Cross-Dressing Shows Its Not a Drag on Society first appeared on Career Step Up.
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