FRISCO, Texas – Three North Texas Republicans are pushing to ban children from drag shows.
Frisco Rep. Jared Patterson wants to go a step further by having the business change its classification to a sexually oriented business.
Representative Patterson: If you want to host an overt drag show in your business, then you should be able to do it. But you shouldn’t be allowed to have kids there, and you shouldn’t be able to have the same organization as any other business that doesn’t have express shows in your business.
Dial: I know Republicans are very fond of saying that the GOP believes that parents can make the best decisions for their children. Whether it’s school choice or something else. Why can’t a parent make that decision for their child?
Representative Patterson: That’s a great question. I’m a huge parent, and I’ve been fighting this for the past year as it relates to sexually explicit material in the school library. But we have a series of laws on the books to protect the physical well-being of children in the state of Texas. Whether a child can’t buy a gun, a child can’t buy alcohol, tobacco, etc. We need to take their mental health as seriously as their physical well-being.
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Dial: Your bill, as currently written, would say that anyone who has a drag show, we have to classify their business as a sexually oriented business. [PATTERSON: Yes]. It’s like a strip club. [PATTERSON: Yes]. Do you think this is a step too far?
Representative Patterson: Well, you know that’s going to be discussed and we’re going to make a decision as 181 legislators in Austin this session. I think we have to find where that line is and where that should be.
Dial: So why not just say no kids to drag shows? Why make a business that can do it once a month completely change what their business is classified as?
Representative Patterson: We’ll see where that goes during the session, but what I will tell you is that there are certain reasons why we have regulations about sexually oriented businesses where you can’t be near a school or near a museum, certain things such as that in certain communities. I think we just don’t want these businesses that have even regular or semi-regular explicit content. We don’t want this in the paths where families walk, where small children will be.
Dial: I know that as a conservative Republican you may have an opinion about people who participate in drag shows, but for the purposes of this interview, you’re not against drag shows? You are against conducting them in the presence of children and consider them sexually expressed.
Representative Patterson: Look, I don’t want to stop theater from happening or pro wrestling or anything else where people can dress up and pose as something they’re not. But when it comes to sexually explicit content, we need to keep our kids away from it. Whether it’s in the school library, whether it’s in the curriculum, whether it’s at a drag show, no matter where it is in society, we need to focus on protecting our children, protecting their mental health and well-being and protecting them from this express content.
Dial: We’re seeing a lot of these accounts pop up lately, you mentioned libraries, now drag shows. Is it just throwing red meat at your core?
Representative Patterson: I’m passionate about protecting our children, whether it’s in the library, whether it’s a drag show, online on social media. I have introduced several bills, all related to this topic, the sexualization of our children. I think it’s going to be a huge topic that we’re going to discuss this session is working to protect our children. I think it’s going to be a big fight and we’ll see what happens.