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Drag brunch at downtown Houston burger joint draws hundreds of protesters, counter-protesters

Despite the extreme heat, groups on both sides showed up at Hamburger Mary's on Prairie Street to make their stances known.

HOUSTON — Protesters and counter-protesters showed up in downtown Houston on Sunday, each group on opposite sides of the aisle over an issue that has recently been in the headlines: drag shows.

Despite the extreme heat, the groups showed up at Hamburger Mary's on Prairie Street to make their stances known.

Temperatures and tension were running high as they lined the streets near the restaurant that advertised a Sunday drag brunch on its website.

There was a heavy police presence and about 150 people showed up.

Protect Texas Kids was among the groups protesting. Each side consisted of several groups that weren't necessarily together, but on Sunday decided to stand on the same side of the issue.

Tracy Shannon, with Mass Resistance Texas, was there in opposition to the themed brunch.

“We know that we don’t need a drag queen as an example to children or to show children what inclusion looks like. We do not market certain things to children," Shannon said.

Others voiced support for inclusion.

“Freedom ... freedom of expression, freedom to be who you are. Freedom to not be intimidated by anybody,” another attendee said.

KHOU 11 political expert Bob Stein said the social issue has turned political.

“Parents can take their children wherever they want. They have privacy over their behavior with it in some broad guideline," Stein said. “Very much like the politics of abortion, of guns, or even something as simple as wearing a mask ... it does mobilize people in serious political debate.”

Stein said it’s possible legislation could emerge that’s similar to other age-restricted laws -- like buying alcohol or tobacco.

“That kind of regulation is subject to the public’s support and it’s conceivable that we will ban children under the age of -- pick an age 21, 18 -- from going to these drag shows,” Stein said.

According to Stein, the bigger picture is the social issue itself.

“The lifestyles that we’re talking about are not going away. They’re becoming more mainstream," he said.

Someone from inside the restaurant said there was no organized protest for or against the event. They said it was done online.

Police officers ended up stepping in a few times when things got heated.

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