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U.S. census and other surveys likely undercount the number of LGBTQ+ people living in Texas

Some queer Texans may fear disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to neighbors or the government. The lack of accurate numbers makes it more difficult to provide appropriate health care, especially in rural areas.



Activists and members of Austin’s LGBTQ+ community gather on the steps of the Texas Capitol in 2017 to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a key moment in the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in America. (Austin Price/The Texas Tribune)

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune

Gallup estimated that 5.6% of Americans identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in 2020. But according to the U.S. census from the same year, four Texas counties had no same-sex households and 93% had fewer than the national average.

Official surveys like the census undercount the size of the LGBTQ+ population, in part due to people’s fears of disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to neighbors or the government, said Jack Jen Gieseking, a cultural geographer who studies gender and sexuality at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

“There are definitely always LGBTQ people everywhere, no matter what the state,” said Gieseking.

Undercounting the LGBTQ+ population makes it difficult for health care providers to deliver appropriate care, for service organizations to raise funds and for governments to allocate resources. These challenges are especially relevant in Texas, where a conservative culture makes people less likely to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity on official surveys.

“One risk of undercounting is the assumption then that the population or the problem doesn’t exist,” said Brett Cooper, a specialist in adolescent medicine and member of the Texas Medical Association’s LGBTQ Health Section.

The U.S. census is severely limited in its ability to represent the LGBTQ+ population, according to Amy Spring, a demographer at Georgia State University. The survey asks only whether respondents live in same-sex households, and Spring said that this ignores gay and lesbian people who live in other arrangements and doesn’t address sexual and gender identity directly.

The American Community Survey, which is administered by the Census Bureau each year and is intended to provide more timely data than the decennial census, is also limited to asking about same-sex households. However, because this survey is given to only a sample of households, the picture it provides can be even fuzzier than the census. For example, between 2019 and 2021, the survey estimated that 75 Texas counties had no same-sex households, although estimates vary widely between years, especially for counties with small populations.

By contrast, a 2022 Gallup poll estimated that 7.1% of Americans identify as LGBT.

These limitations are exacerbated by LGBTQ+ people’s fear of disclosing their status, especially in rural and more conservative parts of Texas.

Amber Pérez, executive director of Borderland Rainbow Center, a LGBTQ community space in El Paso, said that she knows “quite a few” people who are afraid to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity, especially in West Texas and other heavily Catholic areas along the border.


“Nobody really talks about it,” said Pérez. “And I think that people are concerned that if they mark specific things on the census or on surveys, they’re afraid it’s going to get back to people.”

While more urban parts of the state, such as Harris and Travis counties, show up in census data as having above-average rates of same-sex households, more rural areas, especially in West Texas and the Panhandle, show much lower rates.

“I am sure that you would not tell someone out where Lyndon Johnson grew up in the prairie that, yes, I’m gay, I’m a gay man living by myself,” said Gieseking.

As executive director of Texas Pride Impact Funds, Ron Guillard travels across the state to meet with LGBTQ+ service organizations. He said that LGBTQ+ people in many rural areas still hide their identities, even while the need for LGBT-specific services is clear.

“When you visit the small nonprofits that we fund in the Panhandle, it’s evident they serve large populations for counties and counties around them,” Guillard said. “Unfortunately, the Stonewall generation really just is largely living Don’t Ask, Don't Tell lifestyles, and they’re not engaged with the emerging needs of their communities.”

Demonstrating need

The undercounting of LGBTQ+ Texans can make it hard for the organizations that serve them to acquire funding and provide care.

According to Guillard, services for LGBTQ+ people are concentrated in the state’s urban centers and drop off rapidly in more rural areas.

Pérez said that her El Paso Borderland Center, which provides support groups and education and connects LGBTQ+ people with appropriate health care providers, serves people 300 miles away, some of whom are willing to drive in to receive treatment from a provider who understands their experience.

However, due to the challenges of counting LGBTQ+ people, Pérez said that illustrating the need for the services her center provides can be difficult.

In addition to undercounting, part of the problem is that sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t included in the census in the same way that categories such as race and gender are. For example, Pérez said that statistics such as income or food insecurity might describe the population of El Paso as a whole, but the experiences of her staff tell her that the situation for LGBTQ+ people can be much worse.


“We have numbers, but we don’t have great numbers,” said Pérez.

Amy L. Stone is a professor at Trinity University in San Antonio and co-director of Strengthening Colors of Pride, an organization studying LGBTQ+ health and resilience in San Antonio. They echo the challenges that insufficient data pose for organizations’ fundraising.

“You really need data,” Stone said. “If you’re going to write a grant, you can’t just say, well, I just know a lot of people who need this thing, right? You really need to say definitively, we need this resource.”

In order to address this need, in 2019, Strengthening Colors of Pride conducted a survey of LGBTQ+ people in the San Antonio area. The survey revealed the kind of statistics that Pérez said she needs, showing, for example, that LGBTQ+ people in the area have lower incomes and high rates of unemployment, are more likely to avoid seeing a medical professional, and report three times the national rate of family trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

Using the data produced by the survey, Stone said that Pride Center San Antonio was able to demonstrate the need for additional space to provide counseling and mental health care. Other organizations serving LGBTQ+ people in the area have been able to use the data in similar ways.

Providing care

Research shows that LGBTQ+ people in the United States face distinct health problems and have distinct challenges accessing care. They have higher rates of trauma, cancer, HIV and AIDS and are also more likely to have trouble finding a health care provider, to delay care or to not receive care at all.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is essential for health care providers to collect information about patients’ sexual orientation and gender identity in order to avoid health disparities and provide important services. However, the CDC also notes that many facilities lack the capabilities to collect this information.

Instead, many health care providers, especially those who are cisgender and heterosexual, are likely to assume that their patients are not LGBTQ+, said Gieseking.

Cooper gives the example of a pediatrician in a suburban area who claimed to have no LGBTQ+ patients. However, Cooper points out, looking at national data on trends related to LGBTQ+ youth, the pediatrician should assume that between 1% and 5% of his patients likely identify in that way.

“He’s just not asking,” said Cooper. “And so then he’s like, I don’t need to ask these questions. I don’t need to provide these services because if I have these supplies, I’m only going to use them on no one, so why would I pay for them?”


The lack of accurate data also impacts health research funding, said Cooper, who argues that government funds are more likely to go to areas that can demonstrate a greater impact. If an area in Texas appears to have few LGBTQ+ people on an official survey, that money is more likely to go to an area in another state where cultural factors make disclosing various sexual orientations or gender identities more likely.

“We need better ways of finding accurate counts of LGBTQ+ people in the country just to make sure that when we’re doing good policy, good funding allocations, we have accurate data,” said Cooper. “To be able to make sure that those dollars are spent in a prudent way and in a way that’s going to have the biggest impact versus just guessing.”

Stone said that the difficulty of obtaining appropriate health care in Texas is made worse by the prevalence of Catholic hospitals in the state and by the conservative state government’s tendency to rely on services from the nonprofit sector, where religious organizations are common.

Looking forward

While the decennial census and the American Community Survey ask respondents only if they live in a same-sex household, the Census Bureau’s American Pulse Survey began, in July 2021, to include questions on sexual orientation and gender identity. The survey, which was created to provide data on experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, revealed that LGBT respondents were more likely to feel anxious and depressed and to experience loss of job-related income.

The Census Bureau received $10 million in its 2023 budget for research related to adding questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the American Community Survey. New survey questions must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget before they can be added to the American Community Survey.

The National Science and Technology Council also released, in January, a Federal Evidence Agenda of LBGTQI+ Equity, which highlights the lack of national data on the LGBTQ+ population and includes specific recommendations for improving data collection.

If questions about sexual orientation and gender identity were included on national surveys, Stone said, “it’d be mind-blowing because we actually would finally have a somewhat accurate count of how many LGBT people are in the U.S. We don’t even know that number. We’ve got no sense of what that number is.”

In the meantime, Stone said, organizations in Texas often must rely on imperfect data or conduct their own surveys.

“Without any data on your community, it’s really hard to say, ‘Yes, we absolutely need funding for this critical health care in our community,’” Stone said.

Daniel Carter is the co-director of Texas Community Health News.


Disclosure: Texas Medical Association has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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Texas consistently leads the nation in attacks on trans people. Here’s how Houstonians are fighting back.



Sarah and Andrew Degar of Third Ward Jiu-Jitsu demonstrate different self-defense techniques during a workshop hosted by Trans Masculine Alliance Houston on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Houston. (Annie Mulligan / Houston Landing)

After attending the Houston Pride parade in June, Søren Beregan just wanted to dance. Beregan, a trans man, and his partner, who is nonbinary, were enjoying themselves at a Montrose-area nightclub when a man approached them. 

“I’m better than you,” the man said aggressively.

Caught by surprise, Beregan laughed it off. “In a way it felt almost affirming as a trans guy to have a cis guy feel threatened by me,” he said, using a shortened form of the word cisgender, which means someone whose gender identity corresponds to their sex at birth. “But then later, I was like, wow, that sucks. It is scary to walk around in public … and know that there are people who are upset seeing you just living your life.”

Although he didn’t show it, Beregan felt helpless. In the past, when he was femme-presenting, he occasionally wore dresses and heels. “I was never taught how to fight. I was never taught how to defend myself. It was always ‘have a guy around you,’” he said.

But since transitioning over a year ago, things are different. He wants to be self-sufficient at a time where there have been increased attacks and hateful rhetoric against his community statewide.

On a recent Saturday morning, Beregan was among roughly 20 attendees in a de-escalation and self-defense workshop at the Montrose Center aimed at training participants on how to defend themselves from a physical attack, in lieu of carrying a gun. 

It’s one of the ways that some trans Houstonians are taking matters into their own hands to protect themselves in Texas, a state that introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender bills than any other state this year, and at a time when data shows anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is on the rise. 

Texas lawmakers passed three bills this year that impact trans rights: Senate Bill 12, which bans “sexually oriented performances” – a term originally used to classify drag shows – in the presence of minors; Senate Bill 14, which bans medical care for trans youth to treat gender transitioning or gender dysphoria; and Senate Bill 15, which requires trans college athletes to compete on sports teams based on their biological sex. SB 14 and SB 15 went into effect on Sept. 1, while SB 12 awaits a final ruling from a federal judge in Houston after the ACLU of Texas challenged the law on behalf of several LGBTQ+ organizations.

“With all the anti-trans legislation in Texas, it’s like we’re the next target,” said George Zemanek, the president of Transmasculine Alliance Houston. The group, which organized the weekend workshop, provides community support to anyone assigned female at birth who is questioning their gender or who identifies as non-binary, female-to-male or transmasculine – a term that includes both trans men and nonbinary people assigned female at birth who define their gender as masculine, or who seek medical transition towards masculinization.

Zemanek said the thinking behind the quarterly workshops was, “Let’s do a physical safety training and let’s talk about all these things, because it may become an issue.” 

Ed Kneeland practices an escape move during a self-defense class on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Houston. The class was hosted by Trans Masculine Alliance Houston, one of the longest running trans groups in Houston dedicated to the transmasculine community. Escape techniques were demonstrated by Third Ward Jiu-Jitsu. Participants also learned about Q Patrol, a patrol group that protected Houston’s gay community in the early 90s from harassment and violence. (Annie Mulligan / Houston Landing)

The secret weapon

Trainers from Third Ward Jiu-Jitsu, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide affordable and inclusive self-defense training,led the workshop, which focused on de-escalation tactics and skills such as dodging a punch, or how to twist away if someone grabs your wrist. Instructors also reminded attendees to remain vigilant and put their phones away in public.

“If you’re just walking around with your head down like this the whole time, it is the perfect opportunity for someone to attack,” said Andrew Degar, the cofounder of the group, while demonstrating. 


A studious Beregan meticulously watched as the instructors broke down different techniques. “I’m a little guy and [when] I do that frame, how do I then quickly back out of that position so that I’m not then just gripped by this giant?” he asked Degar, physically demonstrating the scenario he had in mind. 

Other participants haven’t experienced physical attacks, but wanted to be proactive. 

“I go to the University of Houston. I take public transit so I’m often out and about, so I thought knowing something about breaking away from grabs and getting away from people could be helpful,” said 31-year old Ed Kneelan who took turns practicing with the other participants. 

“Fortunately I haven’t had anything fishy happen ever, but I know that can happen, so I think it’s better to be prepared,” he said.

Participants practice escaping different holds during a self-defense class on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Houston. The class was hosted by Trans Masculine Alliance Houston, one of the longest running trans groups in Houston dedicated to the transmasculine community. Escape techniques were demonstrated by Third Ward Jiu-Jitsu. Participants also learned about Q Patrol, a patrol group that protected Houston’s gay community in the early 90s from harassment and violence. (Annie Mulligan / Houston Landing)

A proactive approach

By taking a proactive approach, Zemanek believes that it will empower the trans community to be aware and know what to do in situations like a public protest, where people may be at an increased risk of physical violence. 

“I foresee that at some of these protests against anti-trans legislation, you’re gonna start to see trans people getting arrested,” he said. “Some of these protests can be pretty wild.”

A spokesperson from GLAAD, an LGBTQ+advocacy organization, confirmed to the Landing that there have been 209 anti-LGBTQ incidents targeting drag events nationwide since early 2022. Texas consecutively had the most incidents and threats with 21 reported incidents so far this year, and 27 reported incidents in 2022, a representative said via email.

An April update on its 2022 analysis noted that there was an uptick in attacks beginning in Pride season that year, which is typically during June, and continuing through the midterm election cycle. At this year’s Pride celebration in Houston, participants spoke to the Houston Landing about the apprehension they felt due to the wave of anti-trans legislation. “You never know, there’s crazy people that do things that you don’t expect,” Carlos Gallardo told the Landing while celebrating Pride in Montrose.

It’s not just physical attacks and threats that have rattled the trans community. A joint report from GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League released in June found that anti-LBGTQ rhetoric and harassment has also increased within the last year, with more than 350 hate and extremist incidents recorded in the U.S.; Texas had the third most with 30 incidents. 

Trans nonbinary activist and community organizer Ethan Michelle Ganz speaks to participants about Q Patrol, a patrol group that protected Houston’s gay community in the early 90s from harassment and violence during a security workshop hosted by Trans Masculine Alliance Houston on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Houston. (Annie Mulligan / Houston Landing)

The return of community patrolling

The rise of anti-LGBTQ+ incidents over the last several years has motivated community activists like Ethan Ganz. He is the co-founder of the Montrose Residents Coalition, a group that is joining forces with the nonprofit Affinity Coalition To Overcome Unethical Theories HTX (ActOutHTX) to revive the work of a Montrose-area volunteer surveillance group called Q-Patrol, which launched in 1991 but dissolved in 2002 due to financial woes, newspaper archives show

“I really think it’s necessary now,” he said to participants assembled in a circle following the training. 

A group of citizens organized Q-Patrol shortly after the murders of Paul Broussard and Phillip Smith, two gay men who were killed outside a gay nightclub in Montrose. Their brutal deaths sparked civil unrest locally, led to national discussions and prompted the Houston Police Department to launch an undercover initiative, dubbed Operation Vice Versa, where officers masqueraded as gay men. Officers were attacked in multiple incidents and many people were arrested within two weeks, according to the website Houston LGBTQ History and ABC13.

Originally Q-Patrol worked in tandem with the police, but now, “That’s not really what they’re trying to do,” Ganz said. “A lot of our people do not feel safe around the police,” he added. 


In the 1990s when the original Q-Patrol reigned, it was illegal to carry a handgun openly or concealed without a license, but open carry was made legal in 2021. Ganz still discourages open carry of any firearms, but said volunteers can carry a concealed weapon, mace or a taser at their discretion. 

Beregan is uncomfortable carrying a gun and can’t pocket his mace or pepper spray into most bars, so he views self-defense as his best weapon. After taking a few classes recently, he now feels better equipped to defend himself and plans to continue training with the Third Ward Jiu Jitsu’s monthly LGBTQ+ focused self-defense classes. But he has no plans of joining Q-Patrol at this time.

Acknowledging their limits, Ganz said the goal of Q-Patrol is to help people before police need to get involved. 

“So if we see somebody that’s alone, we’ll walk them to the car. We see someone drunk in the street, we might engage with them and see what we can do to help them. This is more about being seen engaging our community, taking care of each other.” Ganz said they will also carry power banks to help people charge their phones to call a ride.

More training is needed in de-escalation, CPR, first aid, and, eventually, shooter response practice and Narcan training to ensure safety, Ganz said, but he anticipates Q-Patrol will hit the Montrose streets soon. 

The Houston Landing is a nonprofit newsroom devoted to public service journalism for all Houstonians.

This article first appeared on the Houston Landing and is republished here with permission.

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88th Texas Legislature

Federal judge bars Texas from enforcing book rating law

House Bill 900 requires book vendors to rate all their materials based on their depictions or references to sex before selling them to schools. Vendors say the law aims to regulate protected speech with “vague and over broad” terms.



Books at Vandegrift High School's library on March 2, 2022. A federal judge said Thursday he will temporarily block a new state law that would require book vendors to rate the materials they sell to school libraries based on the presence of sex depictions or references. (Lauren Witte/The Texas Tribune)

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune

A federal judge said Thursday he will stop a new Texas law aimed at keeping sexually explicit materials off of school library shelves on the eve of the law going into effect, according to state attorneys and lawyers for a group who sued over the proposal.

District Judge Alan D. Albright indicated during a hearing that he will grant a temporary injunction sought by a group of book groups and sellers, including two Texas bookstores, who sued the state over House Bill 900 in July, the group’s lawyers said in a statement. Albright will issue a written order in one to two weeks; in the meantime, the state cannot enforce the law, according to the statement.

HB 900, which was approved during this year’s regular legislative session, requires school library vendors to rate all their books and materials for appropriateness before selling them to schools based on the presence of sex depictions or references. It also requires vendors to rank materials previously sold to schools and issue a recall for those that are deemed sexually explicit and are in active use by a school.

The plaintiffs argue that the law violates their constitutional rights by targeting protected speech with its broad and vague language. The lawsuit further alleges HB 900 would force plaintiffs to comply with the government’s views, even if they do not agree with them, and that the law operates as prior restraint, which is government action that prohibits speech or other expression before the speech happens. The vendors say it is impossible for them to comply with the rating system because of the sheer volume of materials they would need to review.

The law also calls for creating state school library standards that prohibit sexually explicit materials, requiring parental consent for students to check out materials classified by vendors as “sexually relevant” and giving the Texas Education Agency authority to review a vendor’s rating. If the TEA disagrees with the vendor’s rating and gives it a different one, the vendor must use the agency’s rating. Vendors who do not will be added to a list of vendors that schools cannot buy library materials from.

During the bill’s legislative hearings, librarians and legal experts shared concerns and worries that its language would ensnare books that are not inappropriate and, to the contrary, may be titles important for students whose lived experiences may not be reflected in other literature.

The proposal, from Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, arrived amid an ongoing debate about what materials are appropriate to be stocked in school and public libraries. Patterson and supporters of such regulations say libraries are infested with inappropriate books that must be vetted and removed.

However, skeptics of that panic and literary advocates counter that the books singled out by politicians often explore sexuality and race, topics that have been swept up in culture-war politics but remain important for youth who may not be comfortable talking about such matters with others.

Despite the concerns, HB 900 sailed through the legislative process before Gov. Greg Abbott signed it in June. It was set to go into effect Friday; however, the law’s language suggests the new requirements won’t have to be fulfilled immediately.

Most, if not all, of the state’s roughly 5.4 million public schoolchildren have already begun the 2023-2024 school year.


The lawsuit’s plaintiffs include two bookstores, Austin’s BookPeople and West Houston’s Blue Willow Bookshop, as well as the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The Texas Attorney General’s office said Thursday it would move to reverse the injunction and appeal the judge’s decision. The office had not received the judge’s written order or decision by Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson said.

A court representative for Albright did not respond to an inquiry about his comments during Thursday’s hearing, reported by the plaintiffs’ lawyers and on social media by at least one plaintiff.

“We are grateful for the court’s swift action in deciding to enjoin this law, in the process preserving the long-established rights of local communities to set their own standards; protecting the constitutionally protected speech of authors, booksellers, publishers and readers; preventing the state government from unlawfully compelling speech on the part of private citizens; and shielding Texas businesses from the imposition of impossibly onerous conditions,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement after the hearing. “We look forward to reading the court’s full opinion once it is issued.”

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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88th Texas Legislature

Federal judge issues temporary restraining order, says Texas law banning drag shows is “likely” unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge David Hittner heard from LGBTQ+ groups, businesses and a drag performer in a hearing this week, who argued Senate Bill 12 violated their First Amendment rights.



This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune

U.S. District Judge David Hittner temporarily blocked a new state law Thursday from going into effect that would have criminalized sexually-oriented performances in front of children or effectively banned some public drag shows.

LGBTQ+ groups sued the Texas attorney general’s office, hoping to stop authorities from enforcing Senate Bill 12, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June and was scheduled like most new laws to go into effect Friday.

In a two-day hearing earlier this week in Houston, a drag performer and entertainment businesses said Texas lawmakers’ effort to regulate these shows was an unconstitutional attempt to stifle their freedom of expression. Though Hittner did not issue a final order on Thursday, he found the plaintiffs’ argument compelling.

“Based on evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the court finds there is substantial likelihood that SB 12 as drafted violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution under one or more of the legal theories put forward by the plaintiffs,” Hittner wrote in the temporary restraining order.

Hittner said allowing the law to take effect would likely cause “irreparable harm” to the plaintiffs. He issued the restraining order to maintain the status quo of the legal landscape while preparing a final decision — the restraining order does not guarantee a permanent injunction. He said his order could come two to four weeks after the hearing.

Hittner heard testimony earlier this week from LGBTQ+ groups, businesses and a performer, which were plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits against SB 12. They argued the law trampled on their First Amendment rights to perform and organize drag shows. They described drag as a healing, expressive and political form of performance art with historical connections to LGBTQ+ people.

“If allowed to take effect, SB 12 will make our state less free, less fair, and less welcoming for every artist and performer,” said American Civil Liberties Union of Texas Attorney Brian Klosterboer in a statement following the judge’s decision. “This temporary order is a much-needed reprieve for all Texans, especially our LGBTQIA+ and transgender community, who have been relentlessly targeted by our state legislature.”

Defending the law, attorneys with the Texas attorney general’s office said SB 12 was narrowly tailored to protect children from sexually-explicit performances. The new law did not explicitly ban drag shows, lawyers for the state said, and these performances should not be considered expressive or receive First Amendment protections.

However, shortly after signing the law, Abbott shared a story on social media about SB 12’s passage and declared he had banned drag performances in public.

“The people of Texas were appalled to learn of an increasing trend of obscene, sexually explicit so-called ‘drag’ performances being marketed to families with children,” said Paige Willey, the director of communications for the attorney general’s office. “The Office of the Attorney General will pursue all legal remedies possible to aggressively defend SB 12, the state law that regulates such performances to protect children and uphold public decency.”


Under the new law, business owners would have had to face a $10,000 fine for hosting sexually explicit performances in which someone is nude or appeals to the “prurient interest in sex.” Performers caught violating the proposed restriction could be slapped with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Texas is one of six states that have passed a bill restricting “adult” or drag performances, according to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit that tracks legislation related to LGBTQ+ issues.

Legal challenges to similar legislation in FloridaMontana and Tennessee have successfully blocked these laws from going into effect. In June, a federal judge in Tennessee, appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled the law is unconstitutional in its effort to suppress First Amendment-protected speech.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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