AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — A Republican lawmaker in Texas said he would like to enact a statewide ban that would prevent minors from attending drag performances.
Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Mineola, posted on social media Monday that he plans to introduce legislation during next year’s legislative session aimed at “protecting kids from drag shows and other inappropriate displays.” This announcement apparently came after videos surfaced online showing children attending a drag showcase in Dallas this past weekend.
“I promised my voters that I would stand up for their values and fight to protect Texas kids,” Slaton said in a statement. “I was re-elected on that promise and I intend to keep it by authoring legislation to defend kids from being subjected to drag shows and other inappropriate events. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this important legislation.”
It’s unclear what kind of enforcement this potential legislation would include or what the exact language of the proposal would be. Lawmakers, however, would not be able to consider this proposal until they return to the State Capitol for another legislative session, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 10 next year.
In response to Slaton’s Twitter posts Monday, critics on social media questioned what lawmakers are considering as priorities given other situations happening in Texas, like the recent deadly school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde.
Texas Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, went after Republicans by writing on Twitter, “Texans don’t need a nanny y’all, & that’s who the GOP wants to be. Over your shoulder, judging your parenting every single day.”
Slaton also said in his statement Monday he intends to pursue legislation next session that would officially classify gender-affirming care as “child abuse.”
Earlier this year in February, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and directed the agency “to conduct prompt and thorough investigations of any reported instances of Texas children being subjected to abusive gender-transitioning procedures.” His letter stated doctors and nurses could face punishments for failing to report such care and mentioned that DFPS should look into parents who pursue it for their kids.
This followed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issuing a 13-page legal opinion in which he argued that certain gender-affirming “procedures and treatments…when performed on children, can legally constitute child abuse” under Texas Family Code.
Abbott’s directive received legal challenges to block DFPS from investigating families with transgender children. The Texas Supreme Court, however, reversed a Travis County judge’s injunction that halted child abuse investigations into families providing gender-affirming care to their kids across the state.
One family who filed the original lawsuit is still protected under the injunction, the Supreme Court ruled. The court did say neither Abbott nor Paxton can dictate what DFPS chooses to investigate, adding, “neither the governor nor the attorney general could bind DFPS’s investigatory authority.”