As Bill Censoring Public Drag Performances is Signed by Governor, Texas Freedom Network Condemns State Lawmakers’ Anti-LGBTQIA+ Agenda

June 19, 2023

CONTACT: Emily Witt, [email protected]

AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Abbott yesterday signed SB 12 into law. The legislation was originally designed to restrict kids from attending drag shows.

While the word “drag” does not appear in the final bill’s language, it does note that “prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics,” would be prohibited from performances in the presence of minors or “in a manner that could reasonably be expected to be viewed by a child.”

The bill also seeks to criminalize any live performance that appeals to the “prurient interest in sex.”

The new law will go into effect on September 1. 

Texas Freedom Network Executive Director Val Benavidez (she/her) issued the following response​:

“The language of this bill clearly targets drag, and by extension, the Texan LGBTQIA+ community. We see right through the extremist legislators at our Capitol. Instead of focusing on policies that truly make our state safer, Governor Abbott and the ultraconservative legislature have been relentless in prejudiced attacks like SB 12 that rob LGBTQIA+ Texans of equal protection under the law.

“Drag is a joyful art form in which many LGBTQIA+ Texans have found refuge and allyship that is enjoyed by many. Despite our rights to freedom of expression, Governor Abbott and anti-LGBTQIA+ lawmakers are intent on destroying this community’s ability to thrive by going as far as controlling what we enjoy as entertainment. We condemn elected officials for wasting time and taxpayer money this legislative session on a clearly discriminatory agenda.”