DALLAS – A Dallas event over the weekend called “Drag Your Kids to Pride” has prompted debate about whether children should be allowed to attend drag shows.
The event was promoted as a “family-friendly” version of a weekly drag brunch held at a Dallas-area gay bar. June is celebrated nationally as Pride Month.
Videos from inside the event that show a handful of kids with their parents went viral on social media this week.
Participants and supporters defended the event saying it’s a way to share joy and celebrate who you are, while protesters claimed it was “grooming” and endangering children.
The crowd cheered as children walked with the drag performers— Aldo 🌞 (@AldoButtazzoni) June 4, 2022
There were toddlers in the audience as well pic.twitter.com/WzVC4Vza1P
Outside the bar, protesters surrounded some event attendees and called for an end to the event, according to videos posted on Twitter that included explicit language.
At least one Texas legislator responded to the videos by saying he is planning to file a bill that bans minors from attending drag shows.
“I would never take my children to a drag show and I know Speaker Dade Phelan and my Republican colleagues wouldn’t either,” Slaton said. “The events of this past weekend were horrifying and show a disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualizing young children.”
Slaton joined the Texas Legislature in 2021 and has not passed a bill.
“The exploitation of any child is inappropriate and will not be tolerated under any circumstance here in Texas,” Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan said in a statement to KSAT.
In his statement, Slaton noted that he has two young children and said “protecting our own children isn’t enough, and our responsibility as lawmakers extends to the sexualization that is happening across Texas.”
Texas Democrats responded to Slaton on Twitter saying “seems like there are a few more pressing things we should be doing to actually look out for the well-being of Texas children.”
Drag performer Alyssa Edwards echoed that sentiment, saying drag is a subjective art form and that a child’s parents are their most important teacher.
“You, sir, have tweeted more about #drag than the loss at #Uvalde. Is this truly about children or politics? #Priorities,” Edwards tweeted.
Charlotte Clymer, a transgender activist from Texas, also dragged Slaton’s statements.
Social conservatives:— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️🇺🇦 (@cmclymer) June 7, 2022
"My kid is never going to a drag show. It's inappropriate for fully-clothed drag artists to dance in front of kids. Instead, I'm taking him to an NFL game where he can sit beside me as I drink and watch a cheerleader twerk in her cowgirl boots at midfield."
Following the initial press release, Slaton took to Twitter to double down on his comments and called the show “disgusting and dangerous”.
KSAT has reached out to local pride organizations for comment.