LGBTQ

Another DFW Drag Show Is Canceled For 'Safety' Reasons

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to protect kids from school shooters. Oh no, sorry, from drag performers. Meanwhile, North Texas drag shows are getting canceled over safety concerns.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants to protect kids from school shooters. Oh no, sorry, from drag performers. Meanwhile, North Texas drag shows are getting canceled over safety concerns. Benson Kua
Denton’s Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio canceled its weekly Thursday night Glitterbomb drag event, the latest cancellation following threats to another local drag performance over the weekend.

Chad Withers, Rubber Gloves' general manager, described the move as a “precautionary cancellation out of concern for the safety of performers.” Withers did not say if the venue or performer had received any specific threats ahead of this performance, only citing a preemptive decision made by Glitterbomb. After the venue announced the cancellation, however, social media comments included a tweet that read: "Y'all are a bunch of pedophiles."

The performance group and studio will “regroup” to move forward with next week’s show, Withers says. Glitterbomb's organizers did not respond in time to a request for comment.

The sudden fixation of conservative groups on shutting down drag shows has presented a (surprising) new obstacle to LGBTQ+ advocacy groups. Drag culture has existed in the mainstream for decades, and many cisgender and heterosexual people have enjoyed and participated in the craft even as performers. In North Texas, cisgender female performers have established a strong presence in the drag scene in recent years.

Shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race have seen great success among mainstream audiences, far outside of the queer community.

While drag has been an integral part of the queer community since the advent of Ball culture in the 19th century and taking off in the Black community in New York in the '60s, drag hasn’t faced this intense focus of right-wing groups until now, according to Johnathon Gooch, communications director for advocacy group Equality Texas. He sees the attacks on drag as symptomatic of the current political climate but remains mystified as to why the artform is being subjected to such vitriol when it’s been embraced by the heterosexual community for decades.

“This is very new,” Gooch says. “Drag has been around since before Shakespeare.”

The queer community has come under renewed attack both in Texas and across the U.S. with book bans and overhauled school curriculums targeting LGBTQ students and history. Unlike previous waves of aggression toward the community, drag shows have been singled out recently with a Roanoke show ending in violence after armed protesters showed up to the event. Other local performance groups are canceling events for fear of far-right protestors storming venues.

Just last weekend, Denton's Cool Beans canceled a Disney-themed drag brunch after receiving "aggressive phone calls" ahead of the event.

In June, a family Pride Month event at Mr. Misster was broken up by Dallas police after conservative protesters began screaming and threatening performers, complaining that the drag performances weren't appropriate for children. After the incident, various conservative figureheads from Candace Owens to U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who argued that it should be "illegal" for children to attend drag shows, jumped on the anti-drag bandwagon. Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton vowed to introduce legislation banning minors from attending drag events.
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