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New Senate Bills threatens the drag community

Jasmin Campoya
Drag has given Gagaboy a voice and has been an outlet in their life.

Fashion, makeup and talent with a dramatic twist may be taken away with new legislation against the drag community. Additional legislation may take away health insurance coverage and create lawsuits against gender-transitioning care that affects many in the Drag community. 

Across El Paso, drag performances are celebrated at bars such as Touch Bar, located at 11395 James Watt Dr. Touch Bar hosts drag performances during the weekends such as “Drag Brunch.” This event is for all ages and parents can bring their child or teenager. This may come to an end if the legislation is enacted in Texas. 

Gagaboy, a 24-year-old drag performer, is one of the many performers at Touch. She first found her platform in 2016 and has broken through many barriers throughout her career. Gagaboy faced her barrier with alcoholism at a young age. She was inspired by her friend who pushed her to participate in a talent night where they lip-synched together. \

Gagaboy is a drag queen at Touch Bar El Paso and performs many shows around El Paso. (Jasmin Campoya)

“My interest in drag, I found it kind of like back in 2016,” Gagaboy said. “I kinda had a problem with alcohol at a young age, so like, I broke my foot, and I was like, I need to calm down and stop, and my dream has always been to become a singer.”   

The clash between politics and “adult performances” takes away the jobs of performers with no intention of causing harm. 

On March 2, Senate Bill 3 was signed by Tennessee governor, Bill Lee, which prohibits drag performances on public property to prevent minors from viewing these performances. Tennesse General Assembly states:  

“This bill creates an offense for a person who engages in an adult cabaret performance on public property or in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”  

TA new bill has come down to Texas as a call to action with House Bill 4378. The website Captial Texas states, if a minor attends a drag performance, then the drag performers can be sued. 

For Gagaboy, being a drag performer is their main source of income, just like many other drag entertainers across the state.  

“For me, this is my full time where I make my money, this is what I live off of,” Gagaboy said. “I perform at Touch Bar, and we have Sunday brunch shows, and there’s a lot of kids that do come because they’re trying to look up to somebody just how we looked up to somebody at one point in our lives.” 

According to the website Capitol Texas Government, drag queens can receive “Statutory damages of $5,000.” 

“If you don’t want to teach your child love and all that, that’s on you and that’s your child’s business, that’s not my business,” Gagaboy said.  

Senate Bill 1029 is an additional act that puts a halt on state insurance from funding transitioning treatments for minors. In addition to that, parents can be sued, and doctors can be fined for their practice.  

“It’s really hard because we have a lot of discrimination,” Gagaboy said. “Taking that away, or trying to take that away, it really does affect me because we go back to square one.”  

In the drag community, many have or are in the process of transitioning to their preferred gender. Gagaboy identifies as transgender and faces the difficulty of finding a job where they use her preferred name and pronouns. 

The drag community is heavily known for its creative fashion, makeup, and overall performance. The threat of these proposed legislations threatens the creative aspect of the drag community. 

“You go to a drag show, to see queens wear extravagant outfits or outfits you wouldn’t dare to wear,” Gagaboy said. “I guess they can stop it, but it’s not going anywhere.”  

Through the darkness of this new legislation created and at risk of being passed, the drag community continues to stay strong in El Paso, Texas. Touch Bar will continue to host drag performances every weekend.  

Touch Bar’s most recent event was “Mr. and Miss Trans El Paso Sun City Pride,” from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., April 1.  

For more information about Touch Bar, contact @touch_bar_elpaso on Instagram.  

To find further information about Gagaboy’s performances, she can be found on Instagram @gagaboylgbt. 

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @by_avery_escamilla  

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About the Contributors
Avery Escamilla-Wendell
Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Arts & Culture Editor
Jasmin Campoya
Jasmin Campoya, Photographer
Jasmin Campoya is a bilingual student who is a senior currently majoring in digital media production at UTEP. She is a staff photographer for The Prospector, a photo editor for Minero Magazine, and is currently a social media and marketing intern for El Paso Inc. All while being a full time student, she also takes photos for her own small business, JasminCPhoto. Jasmin plans on continuing photography and hopes to work full time at an El Paso publication.
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New Senate Bills threatens the drag community