In a small win for LGBTQIA+ rights, a ban on public drag performances has been temporarily blocked in the American state of Texas.
Senate Bill 12, which restricts “sexually oriented performances” was set to go into effect on 1 September and was originally passed back in April.
Though the bill’s text does not directly refer to drag performances, local politicians have previously described how the bill would target such activity.
For instance, Texas’ Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick previously said in a statement the bill would prohibit “sexualized performances and drag shows in the presence of a minor.”
Plaintiffs including drag queens and local venues, represented by the ACLU of Texas, had launched a lawsuit against the legislation, with hopes to prevent its implementation.
“The Texas Drag Ban is stunningly broad in scope and will chill entire genres of free expression in our state,” said Brian Klosterboer, attorney at the ACLU of Texas, in a statement.
Testifying in front of U.S. District Judge David Hittner earlier this week, news broke of the bill’s blocking on 31 August, with @ACLUTx tweeting the update.
BREAKING: A federal judge just granted our request to temporarily block Texas’ drag ban from taking effect Sept. 1.
Drag performers and LGBTQIA+ allied businesses belong in our state — and Texas politicians have no right to censor our free expression.
— ACLU of Texas (@ACLUTx) August 31, 2023
Texas is one of six states that had passed restrictions on drag performances, including Tennessee, Montana, Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota. Several of these policies however have been blocked due to federal court orders.
Tennessee was the first state to restrict drag performances in public, but this legislation was also blocked and ruled unconstitutional in June.