AUSTIN, TEXAS - AUGUST 26: Austin, Tx drag queen Brigitte Bandit reads a book during a drag time story hour at The Little Gay Shop fashion accessories store on August 26, 2023 in Austin, Texas. SB12, a bill seeking to regulate sexually oriented performances by restricting such performances on the premises of public property, or in the presence of individuals younger than 18 years of age, goes into effect September 1, 2023. The ACLU of Texas is representing local LGBTQ groups, businesses, and drag queen Brigitte Bandit in a lawsuit against state officials enforcing the bill. Among other claims, the lawsuit argues that the bill poses harm and unconstitutional censorship to several types of performers including Broadway plays, theater performances, cheerleading, and drag shows. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Judge Issues Last-Minute Injunction Blocking Texas Drag Ban

We're free to slay another day!

As conservative states continue to push anti-LGBTQ legislation and bills banning drag performances, one judge in Texas has temporarily halted an extremely concerning prospective law. U.S. District Judge David Hittner issued a temporary injunction against S.B. 12, a law that would restrict drag shows in the state or “regulate sexually oriented performances.” The injunction came down the day before the law was set to take effect, thanks to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Texas on behalf of a drag performer and other members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Many anti-drag bills across the country do not use the word “drag,” but rather use vague language that would categorize gender-swapped performances as cabaret or adult entertainment. Furthermore, these bans want to make it illegal to perform drag in the presence of minors, with criminal penalties for anyone who does so. Sounds like a First Amendment violation, right? Judge Hittner agrees.

Brian Klosterboer, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Texas, said in a statement, “If allowed to take effect, S.B. 12 will make our state less free, less fair and less welcoming for every artist and performer.” He continued, “This temporary order is a much-needed reprieve for all Texans, especially our L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ and transgender community, who have been relentlessly targeted by our state legislature.”

The bill is subject to scrutiny because of its broad language and vague wording. S.B. 12’s language leaves many questions unanswered, such as how to distinguish between cultural dance and illicit sexual content, the rules for cis-gendered folks performing their own gender, and more.

The bill could also impact small businesses negatively. The law would impose a $10,000 fine on businesses found to be in violation of the rule, including potential prison time of up to a year. The court will issue a final decision either permanently blocking the bill or passing it into law in the coming weeks, but no official date to do so has been set.

(featured image: Brandon Bell/Getty Images)


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Scout (she/her/hers) is a freelance news writer for The Mary Sue. When not scrolling Twitter, she's thinking about scrolling Twitter. She likes short walks on the beach, glitter pens, and burnt coffee. She does not read the comments.