Crime US Local News US News

Austin Performer Joins A New Lawsuit In Order To Block Texas Drag Performance Law

According to a news release announcing the lawsuit, the ACLU of Texas called the law “unconstitutional,” arguing it violates their rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. It also contends the law “threatens the livelihood and free expression of many Texans, including drag performers.”

Brian Klosterboer, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas, told KXAN the way the law is written could open up legal consequences for more than just drag performers.

“This law is incredibly discriminatory. It’s yet another attack on LGBTQIA+ Texans by the legislature this year,” Klosterboer said during an interview Thursday. “It violates the First Amendment because it clearly and discriminatorily targets drag artistry and performance, but it’s also so incredibly broad and vague that it targets entire genres of performing arts that could be considered sexual by someone in any way. So it could impact Broadway musicals. It could impact karaoke nights at restaurants. It could really impact any kinds of performance or visual presentation.”

The defendants listed in the lawsuit include interim Attorney General Angela Colmenero, whom Gov. Abbott appointed last month to lead the office while Ken Paxton is suspended awaiting the outcome of the Senate impeachment trial. Travis County Attorney Delia Garza is also being sued along with the Bexar County district attorney, the Taylor County district attorney, The Woodlands Township, Montgomery County and the Montgomery County district attorney.

Garza said in a statement she appreciates what the ACLU is trying to do to “bring some clarity to a law that has constitutional concerns and will be difficult to enforce.”

“I continue to hope that in the name of true public safety, our state leaders will one day focus on actual public safety threats, like gun violence, instead of legislation like SB12 which will have little to no effect on the day to day operations of a community and its public safety needs,” Garza wrote.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 12 on June 18 after mostly Republican lawmakers pushed the legislation through both chambers during the regular legislative session. However, the bill received significant pushback from advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and others over their concerns about it possibly criminalizing drag performances and venues that host shows in the state.

Before state lawmakers ultimately approved the legislation, they removed direct mentions of drag performances or gender non-conformity from the language. The bill initially filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, defined a “sexually oriented performance” to include “a male performer exhibiting as a female, or a female performer exhibiting as a male, who uses clothing, makeup, or other similar physical markers and who sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience.” However, that’s no longer in the final version adopted.

A “sexually oriented performance” is defined more broadly in the law now to be “the exhibition or representation, actual or simulated, of sexual acts, including vaginal sex, anal sex, and masturbation;” “the exhibition or representation, actual or simulated, of male or female genitals in a lewd state, including a state of sexual stimulation or arousal;” “the exhibition of a device designed and marketed as useful primarily for the sexual stimulation of male or female genitals;” “actual contact or simulated contact occurring between one person and the buttocks, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;” and “the exhibition of sexual gesticulations
using accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics.”

This is not the first lawsuit filed against legislation signed by the governor this year. Five Texas families with transgender children as well as three doctors are now suing the state to block Senate Bill 14, a law that would ban young people from receiving certain health care options and put medical licenses in jeopardy.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *