AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hosting a reading event with drag performers could put state funding in jeopardy for Texas libraries if a newly-filed bill becomes law.
Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, introduced a proposal on March 3 that would bar the state from providing money to a municipal library for having someone dressed in drag read books to children.
The bill’s text reads, “A municipal library may not receive state funds if the library hosts an event at which a man presenting as a woman or a woman presenting as a man reads a book or a story to a minor for entertainment and the person being dressed as the opposite gender is a primary component of the entertainment.”
If it’s ultimately signed into law by the governor, it would go into effect on Sept. 1. It also stipulates that a library would lose its state funding during the fiscal year following its drag story time event.
LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas included this proposal among its list of “bad bills” filed during this legislative session, which is reserved for those that the organization deems as targeting the community. It will join several groups throughout the state on March 20 at the State Capitol to push for LGBTQ equality at the “All in For Equality Advocacy Day,” according to social media posts.
Texas Republican lawmakers are pursuing a number of bills right now that target drag in particular, a pattern that mirrors what’s happening at other state legislatures across the country. Supporters argue more restrictions are needed because it’s inappropriate for children. Another proposal would classify a drag performance as a sexually-oriented business in Texas akin to a “sex parlor” or an adult video store.
Back in 2019, hundreds demonstrated outside the Leander Public Library after a local church took on a drag story time event when the city canceled it due to backlash. The fallout led Leander city leaders at that time to stop renting out rooms at the library to public groups.