Opposing groups of protesters clash at drag event in downtown San Antonio

Dueling protest takes center stage at Christmas drag show held at Aztec Theater

SAN ANTONIO – Supporters of LGBTQ+ rights and a drag show rallied against protesters ahead of a performance at a downtown theater on Tuesday night.

The Aztec Theater held a drag performance called “A Drag Queen Christmas” that was open to all ages. The Texas Freedom Force, however, protested that the show should be 18 and up.

“We love drag, drag is a space for creation and liberation, and we will not stand for a community that we love going down in the trenches due to a narrative that is false,” Kimiya Factory, executive director of Black Freedom Factory said.

Across the street from the Aztec Theater, the president of the Texas Freedom Force, Brandon Burkhart, said it’s not about liberation going on.

“They’ve had previous performances by a man who wears essentially lingerie for women… that’s not appropriate in front of a child. I mean come on now, this isn’t Barney over here,” Burkhart said.

Both groups showed up to the theater armed. Both groups claimed they only brought guns because the opposing side was.

San Antonio police also had a large presence at the show. They sent a statement the evening of the performance that read:

“SAPD is aware and present at the protest outside of the Aztec Theater. Public safety for every member of our community is our top priority. Our Fusion Center is monitoring the event. As such, we have performed threat assessments to prepare appropriately. We want to assure the public and, specifically the LBGTQ+ community that we are committed to honoring our unwavering commitment to public safety while protecting everyone’s constitutionally protected rights to free speech.”

Tuesday night’s rally and protest comes amid drag shows around the country being canceled for reported threats.

Locally, that includes the Starlighter as its events have been canceled through the end of the year.

The Texas Freedom Force said they didn’t make any threats towards the Starlighter, and that they would not be protesting if the age limit was increased to 18 and up.

“When you start bringing underage children into it, it becomes our business,” Burkhart said.

Those standing with the LGBTQ community like Kimiya Factor, stressed togetherness.

“I would say to them to understand that we are from a place of love and from a place of liberation,” Factory said.

About the Author:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.