Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare recently sent a letter to the comptroller’s office to report a drag show during which a person allegedly exposed children to nudity.
The letter, addressed to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, opened by recognizing the state official’s previous investigations into venues hosting drag shows potentially operating illegally as sexually oriented businesses, as reported by The Dallas Express.
“Thank you for your attention to and diligence on the growing crisis of children attending sexually-suggestive and sexually-explicit performances across Texas,” O’Hare said. “As elected officeholders, we have a duty to defend the innocent and pursue justice against those who harm them, and I feel strongly we agree there is no group as impressionable and vulnerable as the children of our great state.”
“While our legislature presently debates whether to ban minors from attending such performances, I believe in the meantime we must continue to protect our children in every capacity we legally can,” the county judge continued. “To this end, I would like to bring your attention to a recent incident in which I believe action from your office is justified and wholly warranted under current law.”
Describing a drag show “open to all ages” that occurred at Tulips FTW on March 27, O’Hare explained that “According to multiple media reports, one of the so-called ‘performers’ may have exposed himself to the audience, which contained children.”
The drag show described by O’Hare was brought to public notice by local journalists and the organization Texas Family Project, sharing videos of the event that depicted potentially illicit content.
“During the show, a drag queen sat with his legs open and exposed his crotch to children in the crowd. Children were being encouraged by parents to hand money to the Drag Queens and wave Trans flags around,” explained reporter Tayler Hansen.
Sara Gonzales, one of the leaders of Defend Our Kids Texas, was reportedly denied entry to the event by organizers.
“Based on the available photographic and video evidence, eyewitness accounts, and media reports,” Judge O’Hare said in his letter to Hegar, “investigating whether Tulips FTW operated as an unlicensed sexually-oriented business should commence under the powers granted to you by the Texas legislature.”
“While the outcome of pending legislation on this topic is still uncertain, I believe that we must continue to use all levers of power vested in our offices to protect children,” the county judge concluded, “especially when it comes to the scandalization and sexualization of their young minds.”
O’Hare added that the comptroller’s office “is being responsive and helpful.”
One of the people in drag at the Tulips FTW show has denied that anything indecent was done that night.
Kiba Walker, who performs drag under the name Salem Moon, said: “I have nothing to hide and I have nothing to be ashamed of. … I did everything correct. … Everything I did that night was within the realms of being safe and being mindful,” per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Denouncing the letter and possible investigation, Walker claimed, “It’s never about the drag shows, it’s never about the children, it’s about suppressing queer voices and queer people.”
Responses to Hegar’s letter varied. John Gibson, a Texas lawyer, suggested that Judge O’Hare’s attention should be turned to other matters.
“We have children going to school every day where the only food they will eat is at school; where the only toothpaste they will use is the toothpaste and toothbrush their teacher bought them. Where is the concern for that?” he said.
On the other hand, the advocacy group True Texas Project applauded O’Hare’s action, arguing, “We need more elected officials doing this.”