Texas Drag Show Turnout Could Get Boost
with GOP Bill with Minors Lawsuit Incentive

Capitol Inside
March 13, 2023

A Texas GOP lawmaker filed a bill late last week that could give minors an incentive to attend drag shows by allowing them to sue the performers if they are allowed to witness such an event.

But State Rep. Steve Toth of The Woodlands isn't attempting to promote performances with men in women's clothes in front of children with the proposal he packaged in House Bill 4378. Toth, a New York native, appears to be borrowing a page from the Texas Republican abortion ban by creating bounty hunting opportunities for the youth in his adopted state.

"An individual who attends a drag performance as a minor may bring an action against a person who knowingly promotes, conducts, or participates as a performer in the drag performance that occurs before an audience that includes the minor if ... the performance violates the prevailing standard in the adult community for content suitable for minors; and ... the person fails to take reasonable steps to restrict access to the performance by minors," according to HB 4378.

Toth defines the behavior that he's seeking to eliminate as "a performance in which a performer exhibits a gender that is different than the performer ’s gender recorded at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs in a lascivious manner before an audience."

Former Texas Republican Party Allen West - a military combat veteran who served one term in Congress - said last week that the state's current leaders lacked "the cajones" that it takes to fight for the state. Toth is especially concerned about the same concept in the literal sense with the legislation that seeks to turn kids into plaintiffs with an opportunity to profit by ratting out adults who their parents may not like.

HB 4378 defines the term "lascivious" as "conduct of a sexual nature that is offensive to community standards of decency. The term includes the intentional exposure of genitalia in the presence of a minor."

Toth is a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus. The drag show litigation measure for minors is another example of bills that the representatives in the far right group are pushing in move that actually take freedom away from parents and other people around the state.

Toth may not be aware of the history of crossdressing in the Republican Party from New York to Tennessee to Texas and other states. Tennessee Republican males have teamed up in female apparel at fundraisers for the GOP.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee dressed like a girl at least once in high school. One of Toth's fellow Freedom Caucus conservatives - freshman State Rep. Nate Schatlize of Fort Worth - performed in drag for a college video. Schatzline played the part of The Virgin and says the performance in women's clothing wasn't sexual as a result. But Toth and Schatzline are on the same page when it comes to their fervid opposition to events where children are allowed to witness the same behavior.

The Toth bounty plan for minors would give them standing to sue for "actual damages, including damages for psychological, emotional, economic, and physical harm" if they can get into drag shows. HB 4378 would make it possible for minors to score $5,000 in statutory damages as well for attending drag queen contests and similar events. The Toth bill would impose a statute of limitation of 10 years which would give the potential plaintiffs the ability wait until they graudate from high school and grow up to be adults.

The Montgomery County bill author apparently isn't concerned that his bill could boost turnout of kids at drag shows dramatically with the enticement of profits in the courts.

more to come ...






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