Recently in Texas, there has been discussion about passing a new bill, introduced by Republican State Rep. Jared Patterson, that would add restrictions and identify locations that serve alcohol and host drag performances as “sexually oriented businesses.” The bill — titled HB 643 — would require $5 entry fees to be paid quarterly to the state as well as an age limit of 18+ for attendance.
The approval of this bill would harm minors looking for representation as well as limit some of the most inspiring entertainment.
HB 643 mentions that the violation of the age limit would be a Class A misdemeanor. For those who are unaware of what this is, a Class A misdemeanor represents the most serious kind of misdemeanor. In Texas, this type of offense can lead to up to a year in jail. For a child to have that offense on their record would be absolutely devastating, and this offense would be potentially targeting queer youth who simply want to see representation in their community. This record could affect everything in their future — from getting into colleges to finding a career.
Another aspect of this harmful bill is the fact that drag queens have been proven to be some of the most inspirational, accepting people. The confidence and power that drag queens possess make them icons for a large portion of young people.
An example of an inspiring drag queen is 92-year-old Darcelle XV, also known as Walter Cole. Darcelle XV is the Guinness World Record holder for the oldest performing drag queen from Portland, and has been advocating for gay rights and the abolition of gender labels. Darcelle uses she/her pronouns when she is presenting as Darcelle, but otherwise, as Walter, his pronouns are he/him. Darcelle recognized the potential confusion using these gendered terms could bring and she simply said, “language, of course, evolves.”
Darcelle XV can be a powerful role model to many with her influential stance for gay rights and support of all gender preferences. She is an accepting figure who shows people that they can be themselves. On top of that, she supports family values as her adult children work in her club that shares her name. Would Texas really be upset if kids learned values, such as supporting family and acceptance, simply because the person teaching them is presenting themselves comfortably? It seems so.
The only part of this bill that makes sense — and I mean a very small part of this bill — is the fact that these venues have alcohol. I can understand wanting to keep minors out of places that serve alcohol, but the fact that this is such a minute detail in this bill while it is overrun with vague, transphobic language shows that this is not meant to protect our children. It is meant to confine them and show them that they live in a society that is not ready to accept them.
Patterson has also pushed an anti-LGBTQ+ book-banning agenda before. He does not want Texas schools to purchase any books that involve LGBTQ+ themes or characters because they are apparently “obscene.” However, I and several other generations of children can grow up watching Disney princesses kissing their princes and many other examples of the heterosexual agenda.
The proper way to bring a child up in the world is to teach them acceptance because that is all they want. Children want to be accepted by their parents, their peers and their community overall. Our society is doing better in showing representation nowadays, but bills, like HB 643, are obstacles stopping us from teaching children that it is acceptable to be who they are. I sincerely hope that this bill is not passed and I hope that the transgender performers of Texas are holding their heads up high in pride knowing they are more secure in society than a man who is afraid of difference.
Photo courtesy of Mayathedq, Wikipedia.