The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas stands with the trans community as they continue to battle the criminalization of drag performances in the state.
A church in Texas is taking a stand against the state government's actions toward targeting drag queens and transgender people. The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas gave blessings to drag queens on Sunday in response to Senate Bill 12, which seeks to ban public drag performances. According to The Messenger, SB 12 was passed in June and came into effect on September 1, which criminalizes performers who put on sexually explicit shows in front of children and imposes a $10,000 fine on drag performers and venues that do so.
A Republican appointed judge declared SB12, the Texas Drag Ban, unconstitutional today and issued a permanent injunction. From inception to signage this was always attacking drag performers and LGBTQ+ people. Excellent work to the orgs & advocates who fought it all along the way! pic.twitter.com/pzTNhO9JgN— Brad Pritchett (HE/HIM PRONOUNS MAKE BIGOTS CRY) (@bradpritchett) September 26, 2023
Lawyers from the Texas Attorney General's office claim that the law doesn't specifically prohibit drag shows but limits "a male performer exhibiting as a female, or a female performer exhibiting as a male, who uses clothing, makeup, or other similar physical markers and who sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience."
LGBTQIAP+ community continues to face threats to their safety, with the American Civil Liberties Union stating that there have been more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US in 2023 alone, describing the measures as "a malicious attempt to remove LGBTQ people from public life," according to PEOPLE. Brigitte Bandit, an Austin-based drag performer, spoke out during a hearing at the Texas state capitol earlier this year on March 23, arguing against state GOP lawmakers' attempts to restrict drag performances.
According to The Pink News, Bandit explained, "I am a full-time drag queen, right here in Austin, where I occasionally host Drag Queen Story Times. These kinds of events don't differ much from the kind of work I did before, yet these laws would impact my ability to work with children simply because of how I am presenting and not actually what I am presenting. This bill should be more concerned about the content of the performances rather than the sex or gender of the performers."
Cathedral of Hope in Dallas took a stand against Texas' anti-drag laws, vowing to "stand for justice, proclaim love and protect the rights of all people." According to LGBTQ Nation, at least 850 people attended the LGBTQIAP+-affirming service, with the pastor saying, "We recognize that all people are made in the loving image of God, no matter who they are, how they dress, express themselves, or who they love." The pastor continued, "We celebrate this divine diversity and commit to lifting up the voices of the LGBTQIAP+ community and creating spaces where everyone can thrive."
After all the hateful emails, comments, and private messages we’ve been getting lately, we just want to wish you all a HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! Be safe out there, spread love & Joy! We love you all! ♥️🧡💛💚😭💜🏳️⚧️— The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (@SFSisters) June 2, 2023
(Photo by Gooch) #sistersofperpetualindulgence #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/C4SVxbV1pH
A worship leader pointed out "Drag queens are often targets of hate and violence." Rev. Dr. Neil G. Thomas also highlighted the efforts of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for their lifesaving work during the AIDS epidemic, saying, "These Sisters were at the bedsides of men dying of AIDS. They bring humor, they bring activism, they provide and bring a level of spirituality that many of us have had taken away from us. Despite the humor, they take their spiritual work very seriously."
Currently, the law which was passed by Republicans has been challenged in court by civil rights groups and blocked repeatedly by federal courts. Many people shared their views about the ceremony. @gcargiulo6047 commented, "Every person deserves to live their truth. None of us will be their judge when they leave this earth. Any one of us who criticizes and causes harm to them will be judged for our sins too." @perrymason4208 added, "They have every right to live and worship how they choose."