Patterson’s bill redefines “drag” and prohibits transgender people from all theater performances, musical acts, and any form of public speaking.
Representative Jared Patterson has long been known as a racist and bigot, yet the bill he introduced this week is one of the most heinous pieces of legislation introduced in the 21st Century. HB 643 labels a “drag performance” as a performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.
Then it changes a “sexually oriented business” to include a nightclub, bar, restaurant, or any commercial establishment that provides an audience for two or more individuals for a drag performance.
What does that mean?
First, the bill defines “drag” as any transgender person performing. A “differing gender identity than their gender assigned at birth” is the literal definition of transgender. Having a trans person perform at all by singing, dancing, or performing renders a venue a “sexually oriented business.”
This is a ban on transgender people performing at all and to capacity in Texas.
It would also detour businesses from hosting “drag” events, as they would then be considered a “sexually oriented business” and must never allow a minor to enter, not just during the event. Not only that, it imposes a $5 fee per person on any business that hosts a drag event.
The bill also incorporates the ability of the Attorney General to sue and enjoin any business that violates this law. Ken Paxton would have the legal authority to sue any venue that hosts a drag performance and potentially close it down.
Who is at risk?
If a coffee shop hosts a drag event, it would then be classified as a “sexually oriented business” and could not allow minors to enter it again, and the state would impose a $5 fee on all customers.
This bill would target pep rallies where football players dress and perform as cheerleaders illegal.
If a restaurant employs a trans individual, they wouldn’t be able to sing happy birthday to the guests without the risk of turning the restaurant into a sexually oriented business.
This bill would also apply to academic conferences where a transgender person gives a speech.
If this bill passes, there will be no more Shakespeare in Texas.
The bill would criminalize a community theater from performing Hairspray the Musical.
Transgender people won’t be able to sing the national anthem or even participate in karaoke.
But Republicans love freedom, right?
Freedom of speech and the free market. They don’t care about that at all. Republicans hate freedom and liberty, as expressed by the awful bills they plan on pushing in the 88th legislature.
It must be noted that drag performers are not exclusively trans. Trans performers aren’t always in drag.
They are not the same thing. And most of that has nothing to do with sex. Of course, “assigned gender” is an assumption or guess based on a person’s looks. To completely enforce the law, they would have to DNA test the suspected “drag performer”; otherwise, it’s their “guess” on the person’s gender at birth. And genetic testing like that would be a violation of human rights.
What else should we expect from a political party that jails women for having miscarriages?
The first day of the 88th Legislature will start January 10, 2023, and with bills like this being introduced so early in the game, you should expect the absolute worst in the coming months.
We don’t cry. We don’t give up. We fight back.
Jared Patterson can be reached at Jared.Patterson@House.Texas.Gov, (214)494-6498, or (512)463-0694. Make sure you reach out to him and give him a piece of your mind.
We’ll monitor this bill, and if it goes to a committee or the House floor, we’ll keep you updated so we all can show up and testify against it. Stay tuned.