A measure that forbids the presentation of “sexually oriented” performances in front of children was approved by the Texas State Legislature this week.
By a vote of 87 to 54, the State House adopted Senate Bill 12. Performing artists who break the rule might face a Class A misdemeanor prosecution and a $4,000 fine or one year in prison if the measure is enacted into law. Businesses found to be sponsoring such acts risk receiving a $10,000 fine.
This week, the Texas State Senate also approved the legislation, which was then sent to Republican Governor Greg Abbott. The law, according to Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, “outlaws sexualized performances including drag shows in the presence of a minor.”
Patrick said, “It is shocking to me how any parent could allow their kids to be sexualized as a result of drag shows, and Children, who can’t make choices on behalf of themselves, must be safeguarded from this horrible problem facing our state.”
Representative Matt Shaheen (R-Plano), the bill’s sponsor, spoke as well against performing sexual acts in the presence of children, saying, “We won’t allow our kids to be subjected to explicit, hyper-sexualized material from any kind of performer in any manner in the great state of Texas.”
The law would be specifically applicable to acts that include nudity, “the display or representation, real or simulated, of sexual acts,” and acts that “make an appeal to the prurient desire for sex… regardless of whether or not compensation for the performance in question will be expected or obtained.”
Representative Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint) spoke up against the bill, saying that “the broadness could adversely affect the most prominent Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.”
If passed into law, the measure will go into effect on September 1, 2023. Meanwhile, legislation prohibiting sexual drag performances in front of minors has been approved by a number of Republican states, including Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, and Montana.