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It’s not stamp-collecting, paint-by-number, or classic car restoration. It’s not pickup basketball or candlestick making. Instead, drag is a form of performance that exaggerates feminine or masculine features. Flashy, vibrant, or shimmering costumes and colorful makeup usually mark the entertainment. The practice is often associated with men, but any gender can dress and perform drag.
The performance can be in a nightclub, party, restaurant, library, or school. In the 80s and 90s, drag performers, known as drag queens or kings, performed in nightclubs. Drag performances usually involve a mix of comedy, music, and dancing.
However, as drag has become more accepted and popular outside the nightclub scene, drag story hours have become more common in venues like public libraries.
Drag story hours usually involve a drag queen - a male dressed in feminine costume and makeup, reading children’s books. Families with children of all ages are invited to come and listen. The stories usually contain messages of tolerance, gender expression, or resilience of marginalized communities. Some lawmakers, however, feel that the events are harmful to children.
Texas lawmakers are targeting drag story hour and any drag shows open to children with recently proposed legislation. Legislators argue that regulating drag shows would protect children from prurient interests.
The Texas State Capitol welcomed public commentary—some dressed in full drag, to discuss SB12. The bill would categorize drag shows as sexually oriented and would fine businesses that allow children to view shows where men dress as women.
Though last week’s session at the Texas Capitol was scheduled to discuss SB12, many in attendance also expressed their views on SB1601. The separate bill would prevent public libraries from receiving state funding if they host drag events.
Both bills have received attention from the drag community and those vocal in the LGBTQ community who view the bills as a direct attack on the trans community. The bills are also seen as part of a series of new legislation targeting the rights of LGBTQ Texans.
The outcome of both bills is yet to be decided by the Texas State Senate.
To find your local drag story hour or create your own, visit the drag story hour website.
Edited by Niko Balkaran.
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