‘All-Ages’ Pride Events Get Mixed Reception Across TX

Portion of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum banner | Image by UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum/Facebook
Portion of UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum banner | Image by UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum/Facebook

Several cities have hosted Pride events across the state of Texas this past week, some of which have garnered criticism.

In Austin, the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum hosted a “family-friendly” drag show that featured a 13-year-old child.

The event featured “Kween Kee Kee,” a 13-year-old boy who has been performing drag publicly from a young age. Social media history shows that Kee Kee has been wearing dresses since he was a toddler, reported The Publica.

“Experience a day of vibrant celebration and inclusive activities at our Family Day: Pride Event. Dive into the energy of a dazzling drag show led by Kween KeeKee, where performance meets personality in a colorful display of self-expression,” the museum website stated.

In addition to the drag show, the event featured “gender-affirming hair styling by Shag Noir Salon,” story-time, crafts, and sculpture searches. LGBTQ advocacy organizations were also on hand to speak with visitors.

Some activist groups have expressed disapproval of these activities, particularly when they can be observed or participated in by children.

“Anyone organizing, promoting, or supporting these events should be subject to both criminal and civil penalties,” Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard.

But the museum asserted that it welcomes diverse communities.

“The UMLAUF celebrates our diverse community, welcomes all visitors, and hosts a variety of programming throughout the year, including but not limited to Pride events, free Family Days, Hispanic Heritage Month events, Lunar New Year events, Black History Month events, touch tours for the blind and visually impaired, outreach art programs in Title 1 schools, summer camp with scholarships for children in foster care, and wellness programs,” UMLAUF Director of Operations Amanda Valbracht told The Dallas Express.

Another Pride event geared towards the transgender community was organized in Pflugerville.

On June 8, Pflugerville Library posted on Facebook a trans clothing swap event and social.

“TODAY: Join us for the Trans Clothing Swap and Social from 2:00 to 5:00 pm! Bring new or clean, gently used clothes to swap. No registration is required. We have a lot of guests that are interested in donating clothes for the swap, and we appreciate your participation! Due to limited storage space, we request that you drop off your donated items starting at 1:00 pm. Thank you for your interest!” the Pflugerville Library Facebook page said.

Republican nominee for House District 91, David Lowe, condemned the event.

“Why is this city using tax dollars to help promote mental illness? If Children are involved, you’re promoting child abuse,” Lowe posted in a Facebook comment.

Similar criticisms were levied against a program maintained by the Diversity & Inclusion Department in Fort Worth.

As part of its bi-monthly film series, “Movies That Matter,” the City of Fort Worth screened The Freedom to Marry. The documentary tracing the history of same-sex marriage was shown at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth on June 6.

The Dallas Express previously covered the backlash the program received from local leaders.

“It’s extremely inappropriate for the City of Fort Worth to promote CRT and LGBTQ films. Taxpayer resources shouldn’t be wasted on these programs,” Texas Coalition for Kids Director Kelly Neidert told DX.

An Arlington Pride event was held on June 8, featuring vendors selling dildos and other sexually oriented merchandise and drag performers cavorting in front of children.

“Arlington, TX ‘family-friendly all-ages’ pride fest featured d*Id0s, s*x toys, women flashing their b*easts, drag queens, people walking around in b*nd*ge gear, and merch with the word c**t proudly displayed for kids,” Libs of TikTok posted on X.

Local leaders have condemned the recent pride events in several cities, while some have supported them.

“It seems every community in Texas has embraced the perverted agenda of ‘pride month.’ The worst part is this grooming is geared towards our children. I will be working with our new and improved and dramatically more conservative legislature this session to ban any and all taxpayer funds from promoting this grotesque movement,” Tarrant County Republican Party Chairman Bo French told DX.

Still, some local leaders maintain that Pride events are good for the community, and it is up to parents whether their children should be allowed to attend or participate in them.

For example, Dallas City Council member Chad West told DX that he supports community displays of Pride, especially in the city of Dallas.

“Pride events are important and very much welcome in Dallas. They provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate who they are, rather than hiding parts of themselves. I grew up in a part of the U.S. where there wasn’t a single openly gay person in my hometown,” West said.

When asked about minors attending drag shows, West told DX that it is a First Amendment issue.

“I defer to parents to determine appropriate venues and performances for their children to visit and support the First Amendment right of free speech, which includes most types of performances,” West said.

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