A family-friendly drag show in Texas has faced immense right-wing outrage as protestors flocked to the bar, calling its patrons “groomers”.
The Dallas bar Mr Misster held an inclusive event called “Drag the Kids to Pride Drag Show” on Saturday (4 June). The show was billed online as a “family-friendly” spin-off of the bar’s “Champagne Drag Brunch” show and allowed kids to walk the runway with their favourite queens.
Viral videos started circulating online which appeared to show a few children at the event watching a drag performer dance before handing the artist a tip.
Right-wing protestors quickly descended on the venue and began to scream vile hate at children and parents at the Pride event. Some members of the crowd carried signs that read “Stop grooming the kids” and similar variations of the message, according to local news outlet WFAA.
One video on social media, shared by Twitter user Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, captured the protestors chanting “groomer” at counter-protestors gathered outside Mr Misster.
An ugly protest today. A mob of self described “Christian Fascists” tried to force their way into a gay establishment in the gayborhood of Dallas holding a family event while chanting “Groomers” pic.twitter.com/2F9NE4rs0P
— Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club (@EFJBGC) June 4, 2022
According to Media Matters for America, the hateful protest was led and organised by Kelly Neidert, a self-described “Christian fascist”. Neidert is also the executive director of Protect Texas Kids, a newly-formed organisation with the goal of “protecting kids from the toxic, indoctrinating agenda of the left”.
The protestors also screamed “you guys are disgusting” and called for the families that attended the event to “repent for [their] sins”. Some even attempted to push their way into Mr Misster, causing a physical altercation.
After the event, Mr Misster released a media statement to WFAA saying its weekly drag brunches are normally for “guests who are 21+”. But it decided to host a “special Pride drag brunch for all guests” including those who can’t attend the other show because of the drinking age restriction and to “raise money for a local LGBTQ+ youth organisation”.
Mr Misster added it was “more than happy to open our doors to celebrate Pride in a family-friendly, safe environment” because “we believe that everyone should have a space to be able to celebrate who they are”.
“Mr Misster is a place where everyone is welcome to feel accepted, safe and included. We had a group of protestors outside yelling homophobic threats, transphobic remarks and vile accusations at these children and parents,” the statement read.
“It is so sad to see that in 2022, there are people that still want to protest others celebrating who they are, but our staff and wonderful officers helped keep us safe and kept the protestors at bay.”
Increasingly, many on the far-right are targeting family-friendly drag events, including drag story time events at libraries across the country.
Texas state representative Bryan Slaton announced Monday (6 June) that he plans to introduce legislation that would ban kids from attending drag performances. He claimed the measure would be “protecting kids from drag shows” and other so-called “inappropriate displays”.
The Republican wrote on social media that the measure was prompted by videos of the Dallas drag event and claimed it was part of a “disturbing trend in which perverted adults are obsessed with sexualising children”.
Lawmakers won’t be able to consider Slaton’s proposed statewide ban on kids attending drag performances until 10 January 2023, which is when the next Texas legislative session kicks off.
Slaton’s proposed measure has prompted widespread backlash on social media. Several people – including Drag Race’s legendary host Michelle Visage – questioned why the measure was needed, especially in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Uvalde.
The horrific incident, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers, has renewed calls for broader gun control legislation. Yet, some Republicans like Slaton would rather ban kids from drag shows while others will argue about the infrastructure of school buildings rather than gun control.