Proposed ban on drag shows will be devastating


Katherine Dale

Drag stars “Trixie” and “Katya” perform their iconic comedy-based performance at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio on February 14.

Katherine Dale, Editor

Throughout 2023, local and state government officials in Texas have opted for a bill to eliminate drag shows from the state. The proposal comes after years of protests and civil dispute over whether the shows should be performed. Many believe that drag shows are immoral and should be illegal, however drag shows should continue to take place in the state of Texas because eliminating drag shows is a violation of our constitutional right to free speech. Drag shows are a genre in a broader category of performance art, which is not suggested to be banned and banning drag shows would strip queer identities in Texas. 

Firstly, banning drag shows is a violation to our first amendment right to free speech. Granted in the Bill of Rights, everyone is entitled to free speech and the opportunity to speak their mind. By not allowing drag shows to take place, you are eliminating a form of speech and performance. Just because one does not like something does not mean that it has to be outlawed. No one is forcing one to go to a drag show, it’s a choice that many individuals in the state make and they are at liberty to do so. 

Next, when looking at a ban on drag shows, one also needs to take into consideration that a drag show falls into many different categories. Some performers consider what they do as comedy, they use drag as a vehicle to work as a comedian and the drag is simply an accessory to this show. Others however, view their drag as performance art, as it falls into a category that is more closely defined as dance or even occasionally visual art. If the state bans drag shows, they would then need to ban all other elements of society that drag shows exemplify. An argument that many make is that a drag show is too vulgar and that the act is too crass to be viewed. However, dozens of extremely vulgar comics are extremely successful, performing in sold out venues and even recording Netflix specials. The issue is not with the vulgarity, the issue is with their sexuality and lifestyle. 

Lastly, banning drag shows would strip queer minorities in Texas of their identities and create an unwelcome place for the LGBTQ+ community. A majority of drag shows are performed by queer people and the issue that lawmakers have with these drag shows is not the wigs and makeup, but instead, with their sexuality and non-genderconforming roles in society. Drag shows are a place that many feel welcomed at for their differences. Why would one take that away from someone? Just because one does not agree with what someone is doing does not give someone the jurisdiction to change laws. 

I see drag shows as harmless. I enjoy drag shows. I am a straight, cis-gendered woman and my favorite television is Rupaul’s Drag Race. I love watching the queens, seeing the challenges and runways. Recently, I went to see a drag show with my mother in Dallas. I had such an amazing time that night and although I was casually laughing along and enjoying myself, the back of my mind was fixated on the fact that I may soon live in a time where this is illegal. I don’t want to live in a Texas where lawmakers feel they have the authority to ban self expression and free speech.

Eliminating drag shows from the state of Texas is a violation of the Bill of Rights, difficult to enforce and would strip queer identities from Texas.