At least two weekly drag events were canceled in Dallas on Saturday, roughly one week after a drag show was pulled from a local New Year’s Eve party.
Although the venue advertises weekly drag brunches, the Dallas bar Mr. Misster did not host the event this week for undisclosed reasons. Co-owner Trey Stewart has described the location as similar to a “crafty cocktail lounge, which will be more upscale in the early evening and flip to a younger vibe as the night progresses,” per D Magazine. Stewart opened Mr. Misster in 2019 with co-owner Meghan Allen, wife of former Dallas Mavericks player Devin Harris.
The bar previously hosted a “Drag the Kids to Pride” event that included sexually charged dances being performed in front of children, which prompted outrage from local activist groups.
The Shady Ladies Drag Brunch, which was expected to occur at Tacos Kchetes Sports Bar, was also canceled on Saturday for undisclosed reasons. It is currently unclear who owns this venue. The Dallas Express previously asked an employee about ownership, but the employee claimed they did not know who owned it.
The cancellation of drag shows has been a recurring event in recent weeks, with a New Year’s Eve drag show scheduled to take place at Piaf Kitchen + Wine + Bar in Grapevine getting canceled after some local residents voiced their opposition, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
These cancellations come amidst an ongoing debate about whether such performances are disrespectful to women, a notion embraced by West Texas A&M University president Walter Wendler, who canceled a scheduled drag event on his university campus last year.
“Drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” wrote Wendler in an email to the university community, as reported by The Dallas Express. “Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent.”
However, many others have expressed different opinions, with drag performer Emeka Bless explaining that the shows are “liberating” and meant to be a “freedom of expression.”
“It’s not all about what you see in the media. We’re not after your kids or anything like that,” said Bless to The Dallas Express. “We’re just here to support everybody.”
Some have said that drag is more neutral in the sense that it is not meant to pay homage or be disrespectful to women.
Miss Kitty Litter, an Austin-based drag performer, previously spoke with The Dallas Expres and said that performers are neither “trying to show respect or not show respect for women, to be honest.”
“Drag is a show. It is to take your mind off whatever is bothering you that day or in your life. We don’t take ourselves too serious, so neither should you. We are not trying to convert anyone to be gay, we are trying to make you laugh,” the performer said.