If You’re a Drag Performer in Texas, You Could Soon Have a Bounty on Your Head

Imagine being so pressed about the mere existence of drag shows that you pour all your resources into making sure absolutely no one on Earth has a lick of fun! This could be the new normal in Texas, an already aggressively anti-trans state where a Republican lawmaker hopes to push through a bill that allows citizens to sue performers at any drag show where children are in attendance.

Detractors of the law (sane people) are saying that this could create a problem for the performers, who could have a bounty on their heads simply for showing up to a venue in drag.

It doesn’t matter if children are accompanied by a parent or guardian at a drag show: the simple existence of a child in the audience means that drag performers could end up being hunted for a $5000 bounty simply for doing their job.

The continued targeting of drag performers and drag shows also creates a frightening precedent for the criminalization of day-to-day leisure activities for queer and trans people in the state. As activist Erin Reed puts it, the bill could “ban a trans person [from] singing karaoke” in public. It could even extend to the barring of trans performers from doing shows in the state.

The real kicker? The bill defines drag in a way that makes it nearly indistinguishable from transness. If it becomes not only illegal but profitable to legislate against any “performer [who] exhibits a gender that is different than the performer’s gender recorded at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers,” existing as trans in Texas will mean having a literal bounty on one’s head.

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