Dallas Pride is set to open registration for its LGBTQ event next year, advertising that all ages are welcome for the “family-friendly” weekend activities.
“Dallas Pride returns June 1-2, 2024 to celebrate love and inclusion,” read an email sent by the organization to its subscribers.
“Bring the whole family to these all-ages events, which make for a weekend of fun honoring the LGBTQ+ community, its allies, sponsors and supporters.”
Registration for the Dallas Pride June 2024 festivities opens at noon on November 20. Participants must register separately for the Festival (June 1) and the Parade (June 2).
Dallas Pride had to cancel its Street Party event, “A Night of a Thousand Drag Queens,” in August after the group failed to raise enough money, The Dallas Express previously reported.
Christine Bengston, the interim executive director of Dallas Pride, said the organization aimed to raise at least $75,000 for August’s event, but the undisclosed total raised “wasn’t a lot.”
“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Bengston told The Dallas Express at the time.
Senate Bill 12 passed this year bans performances that include “sexual gesticulations using accessories or prosthetics that exaggerate male or female sexual characteristics” in the presence of children, which has been taken to apply to drag performances.
“Alexander the Great,” a drag performer, testified against the bill, contending that drag is child-friendly.
“Drag is love. Drag is art. Drag is powerful,” he said, according to the Texas Tribune. “Drag has been a part of our culture since Shakespearean times and will continue to be. … Bugs Bunny has been in drag in children’s cartoons. I remember watching Mrs. Doubtfire growing up, Robin Williams in drag — that was a family-friendly movie. Drag itself is just art.”
Conversely, Dr. Debra Soh, a sex neuroscientist, wrote in The Washington Examiner that children should not be able to attend LGBTQ events, arguing that they are often inherently sexual.
“As someone who grew up in the gay community with many drag queens as friends, I don’t think it’s appropriate for kids to be exposed to any of this any more than a child should be taken to a strip club or restaurant chain that is known for revealing staff uniforms,” she wrote.
An “all-ages” drag show last year at Anderson Distillery and Grill was attended by several children, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. The event was hosted by the owner’s son, whose drag name is Trisha Delish. The restaurant has announced it is moving from its Roanoke location to Denton this year.
Aside from concerns about age-appropriateness, critics of drag shows note that performers often mock feminine attributes.
“Drag at its core is misogynistic; it is men portraying women as sexually objectified caricatures,” an essay in The Critic read last year. “Drag performers frequently reduce women to hyper sexualised, big breasted, big haired bimbos.”
The City of Dallas plans to continue promoting “cultural diversity and equity” in the proposed budget for 2024, with the Dallas Office of Arts & Culture looking to “[i]ncrease support for cultural equity through facilitating cultural celebrations throughout the year” for events it noted will include Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Indigenous People’s Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islanders History Month, and LGBTQ Pride Month,” as reported by The Dallas Express.
Note: This article was updated on November 15, 2023, at 1:26 p.m. to include additional commentary regarding children’s attendance of LGBTQ and drag events.