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29 Aug, 2022 12:20

Drag show at kids’ party causes heated protest

The ‘family-friendly’ event became a flashpoint in America’s culture war, according to images from the scene
Drag show at kids’ party causes heated protest

The streets outside a bar in a small town in Texas became the scene of a heated confrontation between people protesting a ‘family-friendly’ drag show hosted by the establishment and defenders of the event, some of whom were armed.

The protesters accused the bar of “grooming children” by exposing them to sexual content, as they gathered to protest the show last Sunday. But according to reports from the scene on social media, they were outnumbered by activists from the opposite camp, who dismissed the demonstrators as ‘bigots’ and ‘transphobes’.

At least some of the defenders of the show were armed, and were reportedly members of Antifa. They were presumably there to offer security for the patrons, performers, and the business.

Footage shared by conservative political commentator Sara Gonzales shows drag queens in flashy costumes dancing on tables and collecting money from the audience. Gonzales said there were about 20 minors present. 

Passions apparently raged on both sides, as seen in footage from outside the bar. At least one woman expressed her anger at the protesters by flashing her breasts as she drove away.

The controversy was triggered by the owners of the Anderson Distillery and Grill, a family-owned business in Roanoke, Texas, who said they welcome “all types of booze and all kinds of people” when they announced the event, the ‘Barrel Babes Brunch’, a few weeks ago. The bar suggested that patrons who don’t enjoy drag shows could visit some other day.

The scheduled performance apparently faced some pushback in the town of around 9,000. Roanoke City Manager Scott Campbell told the Dallas Express that the bar had no permit to operate a sexually oriented business, so the show could be in violation of local regulations.

Jay Anderson, the proprietor, explained that the ‘Barrel Babes Brunch’ would be a comedy variety show hosted by his son, who is a drag performer himself and would be one of the evening’s entertainers. “We are a family-owned establishment and enjoy serving other families,” he said, adding that the guests would be offered a “PG version” of drag. There would be no nudity, erotic behavior, or explicit language, he said.

After the show, the distillery said it passed an inspection from the Texas Comptroller’s Office, which verified that the inaugural drag show was indeed ‘family friendly’, and called it a big success businesswise.