DALLAS — A Dallas drag show that promoters called family-friendly and appropriate for kids brought both supporters and protesters to it on Saturday afternoon.
Dallas bar Mr. Misster held the event "Drag the kids to pride" drag show Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the city's Oak Lawn neighborhood. The organizers called it a family-friendly spin-off of their Champagne Drag Brunch that would allow kids to dance with performers on stage.
During the event, drag performers danced and walked down the aisle in the center of the room. At times, the dancers would take dollar bills from some of the children. Kids also walked with the dancers down the aisle during the event.
Protesters also showed up outside the event, many saying they were upset that kids were involved with the drag show.
One woman who was protesting, Dasy, who didn't want to give her last name, first saw the poster for the event near where she lives. She was at the bar after the event with a "Stop grooming the kids" poster.
"I live in this community," Dasy said. "I have for several years. I don't believe that I should be seeing signs advertising for children to be dancing on stage with men in thongs and in inappropriate clothing and makeup. I do not in any way condone the behavior that these people are engaging in, but what drags me out here is its kids now."
The organizers said this event was a safe environment separate from their normal operations. After the event, Mr. Misster released this statement:
"We host our Champagne Drag Brunch every Saturday at 2pm for guests that are 21+ but we have partnered with some of our major community partners to host a special Pride Drag Brunch for all guests, including guests that couldn’t normally attend our regular show because of the drinking age restriction, to raise money for a local LGBTQ+ youth organization. We are more than happy to open our doors to celebrate Pride in a family friendly, safe environment, separate from our normal operations of 2 p.m. - 2 a.m. on Saturdays because we believe that everyone should have a space to be able to celebrate who they are. Mr. Misster is a place where everyone is welcome to feel accepted, safe and included. We had a group of protestors outside yelling homophobic threats, transphobic remarks and vile accusations at these children and parents. It is so sad to see that in 2022, there are people that still want to protests others celebrating who they are, but our staff and wonderful officers helped keep us safe and kept the protestors at bay.
AJ Crews has been working at Mr. Misster for about two years. He said Saturday's event allows people to express themselves.
"There were a lot less people drinking today so that would make it more kid friendly just because there were so many people here," Crews said. "Everyone just came from all walks of life, and you know, just enjoyed pride."
One of the groups protesting the event Saturday was the organization Protect Texas Kids. They also provided a statement:
"We decided to organize this protest when we saw advertising for the event a few weeks ago - we researched the bar and quickly found out that it’s a gay bar, and we were also pretty concerned when we saw the signage on the bar’s website that says “it’s not gonna lick itself.” We just launched our organization and this was our first event.
The mission was to raise awareness that an event like this, a drag show for children, was happening right in Dallas. We also hoped that if we raised awareness, the event might be canceled or modified so that children couldn’t be present.
We were very happy with how the event went overall. The police were able to come in and remove all of the children and their families from inside of the bar. There were a lot of people in attendance who didn’t have kids, so those people were able to stay and the event continued."
Contrary to part of this statement in regard to removing children and families, the Dallas Police Department said officers showed up to "assist with crowd control" and help the crowd "disperse in a safe manner."
Mr. Misster also said the bar had received several hundred threatening emails, Google reviews and phone calls from protestors.