KATY, Texas — After a drag bingo event at a Katy church spurred dueling rallies last fall, First Christian Church held another event on Saturday to raise money for the LGBTQ+ community.
This comes just a day after Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB 14 into law, a bill that prevents transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming care.
At this year's event, there were only a few protestors and about a dozen counter-protesters.
Reverend Heather Tolleson said the church was hosting its fourth drag fundraising events, which help raise money for the church's "Transparent Closet," which offers free clothing to those exploring gender identity and expression. They also raise money for a scholarship fund.
"Tonight's event is raising funds to create a youth safe space here in Katy for youth who are exploring gender identity," Tolleson said.
She said the church's efforts have been undeterred by protestors.
“The presence of the naysayers, the presence of the continued hate that we receive here at the church is a reminder of why we are doing what we're doing," Tolleson said.
Drag bingo hosted by First Christian Church in Katy
Lou Weaver with Triple A Alliance in Houston said there's fear of what SB 14, which was signed into law on the second day of Pride month, may mean for trans youth.
"It's almost like an extra, like, poke at our community of, like, go ahead and celebrate, but guess what, we're taking this away from you," Weaver said. “These kids are, are basically being told that you are not like your peers, your peers have access to their health care without any issue, but you don't, and we're gonna make sure that you don't.”
He said these kinds of laws that target the LGBTQ+ community are making some consider what their future will look like in Texas.
“What it's saying to us is, 'We don't want people like you here.' Because if we can't get access to health care, we can't stay," Weaver said. “Pride is not just in June for some of us, right? I am trans and queer 24/7 And I'm going to make sure people know that I'm here. And then if they're taking on my friends, my friends, his kids, they're also taking on me and the rest of our community.”
Weaver said lawsuits are expected to come challenging SB 14 from groups like the ACLU and Transgender Law Center.