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Disney-themed drag brunch cancelled after violent threats in Texas

The threats of violence came after social media posts by the anti-LGBTQ+ Libs Of TikTok and far-right media outlet Blaze TV

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Courtesy of Cool Beans Bar & Grill/Facebook

DENTON, Tx. – The Disney-themed drag brunch scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11 was abruptly cancelled last week after an onslaught of threats of violence to the venue, the Cool Beans Bar and Grill, an LGBTQ+ friendly establishment.

The threats of violence came after social media posts by anti-LGBTQ+ users and far-right media outlet Blaze TV’s host Sara Gonzales, who invited her viewers to join her in shutting the event down.

Denton is home to two state universities with a combined enrollment of over 55,000 students, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, along with North Central Texas College. It is in the same county where barely two weeks ago, crowds were gathered outside a family friendly drag show at Anderson Distillery and Grill, in Roanoke, Texas, some with signs accusing the establishment and its patrons of sexually abusing children, or of “grooming” them for abuse.

The owners of Cool Beans Bar and Grill posted a message on its expressing their disgust over being forced to cancel the event:

A former employee, Megan Queen, described the bar the bar as a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community and said she was heartbroken at the threats made against the establishment, according to the Dallas Observer. 

As with many all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer – from California to North Carolina – hate was ginned up on social media among right-wing extremists who sought to interrupt the event and disband the attendees. 

Leading up to the event, word was spread on anti-LGBTQ+ Facebook groups like Texas Family Project and Protect Texas Kids, the latter warning, “We need to show up in full force and show that the majority of us are against children being involved in these disturbing, sexually explicit shows.”

Editor’s note, story updated: Reference to anti-LGBTQ+ Twitter account LibsofTikTok removed.

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Texas

Texas Drag Bingo Night sees armed protestors engage one another

“It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume”

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Anti-LGBTQ activist outside church drag bingo event in Katy, Texas (Screenshot/YouTube KHOU CBS 11)

KATY, Tx. – The First Christian Church on Morton Ranch Road located in the suburban Houston, Texas metropolitan area was sponsoring an event to raise money for a clothing drive for Trans youth this past Saturday evening.

Billed as a Drag Bingo Night the event was advertised on social media platforms which drew the attention of anti-LGBTQ activists and extremists.

KPRC-TV Click2Houston reported that the opposing groups of anti-LGBTQ+ and groups in support of the LGBTQ+ community verbally confronted each other in heated arguments that were separated by Katy Police and the Harris County Sheriff’s office.

Local CBS affiliate KHOU 11 reported that the heavily armed law enforcement officers formed a line in the median in an effort to keep the two sides separate. As the crowds grew bigger and bigger, more officers arrived.

Cesar Franco, who was with an anti-LGBTQ+ protest group who said “sexualizing and child-grooming kids by exposing them to drag culture is an abomination!” Founder of Urban Conservatives of America, Jonathan McCullough said: “We are out here to push back on things that society knows is wrong. They are having an event, welcoming children to drag queen bingo hour. This is unacceptable.”

There was pushback KHOU CBS 11 noting that across the street, counter-protesters had a different message.

“That is nonsense, because drag in itself is just a costume,” said one person supporting the event. “It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume.”

Problematically for law enforcement was that both sides had heavily armed people not wanting to back down. Each side spent much of the afternoon yelling at each other with megaphones.

Despite the chaos, a pastor told KHOU 11 the event was a sold-out success.

“We know that not everyone will agree with us, so we create a place for people to feel welcomed and understand there will always be people who don’t agree with us,” the pastor said.

Dueling rallies held outside Katy church outside drag queen bingo fundraiser event:

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Texas

Texas court blocks CPS from investigating PFLAG trans families

The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and their parents criminally charged with child abuse

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Amber Briggle and her son Max (Briggle/Facebook)

AUSTIN – The Travis County District Court issued a third injunction today blocking the State of Texas from implementing a directive issued by Republican Governor Greg Abbott that targets trans youth and their families across Texas.

The directive ordered the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary healthcare.

The directive could have led to transgender youth being placed in foster care and their parents criminally charged with child abuse—just for following the advice of their physicians and mental health providers.

Today’s ruling in PFLAG v. Abbott covers all Texas families who are members of PFLAG National, a national LGBTQ+ organization with 17 chapters in Texas. It also covers Adam and Amber Briggle and their son, Max.

Earlier, the court had issued an injunction blocking DFPS from investigating two other plaintiff families in the PFLAG v. Abbott lawsuit who are anonymous for purposes of the lawsuit. These injunctions became necessary to protect Texas families after the statewide injunction against the directive issued in an earlier lawsuit, Doe v. Abbott, was put on hold during the State’s appeal.

The ruling comes after the plaintiffs notified the court last week that DFPS was continuing intrusive investigations against PFLAG members, including by pulling a student out of class and questioning him at school about his medical history.

“Today, families of transgender kids in Texas who are members of PFLAG National find shelter from Gov. Abbott’s unjust order,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “PFLAG, our chapters in Texas and around the country are sources of support and safety from government harm because every LGBTQ+ person deserves respect, dignity and the right to access the care they need when they need it.”

“Again, the court has grasped the magnitude and breadth of the continued harm that Gov. Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Paxton’s opinion would have caused if DFPS was allowed to pursue its investigations,” said Nicholas “Guilly” Guillory, Tyrone Garner Memorial Law Fellow, Lambda Legal. “Families across Texas, since Gov. Abbott issued his directive, have lived in fear of the knock on the door. Even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Abbott could not compel DFPS to conduct investigations, many families remained under investigation. Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here.”

“Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth,”  said Adri Pérez (they/them), of the ACLU of Texas. “We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. State leadership continues to attack parents for how they raise their kids — and all our plaintiffs are doing is providing unconditional love and support for children of all gender identities. We will never stop fighting for the rights, safety, and dignity of transgender Texans.”

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Texas drag brunch defended by armed counter-protesters

According to reactions on social media, many felt it was about time that right-wing threats & intimidation were responded to in kind

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Anti-trans activists protesting a drag brunch in Roanoke, Texas Aug. 28, 2022 (Photo by Steven Monacelli/Twitter)

ROANOKE, Tx – Fueled by months of lies teed up by far-right conspiracy mongers like Libs of TikTok’s Chaya Raichiklike and Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, what happened on Sunday in Roanoke, Texas, has by now become something of a familiar scene. 

Crowds were gathered outside a family friendly drag show at Anderson Distillery and Grill, close to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, some with signs accusing the establishment and its patrons of sexually abusing children, or of “grooming” them for abuse. 

This time, however, counter-protestors showed up, too. Armed with AR-15 style rifles, they outnumbered the anti-LGBTQ+ activists, according to Steven Monacelli, a journalist with Rolling Stone and Texas Observer, who was there to witness the heated exchanges and document some of the conflict on Twitter

As with many all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer – from California to North Carolina – hate was ginned up on social media among right-wing extremists who sought to interrupt the event and disband the attendees. 

Leading up to the event, word was spread on anti-LGBTQ+ Facebook groups like Texas Family Project and Protect Texas Kids, the latter warning, “We need to show up in full force and show that the majority of us are against children being involved in these disturbing, sexually explicit shows.”

The event hosted by Anderson Distillery and Grill was called, “Barrel Babes Drag Brunch” described as, “similar to a variety show with professional drag artists lip-syncing, dancing and performing comedy routines.” The owner said there would be no sexual content or erotic behavior. 

A man identified as a member of the far-right Proud Boys was photographed at the protest on Sunday. Some of the signs from anti-LGBTQ+ protestors read: “Christ is KING,” “Drag the queens out of town,” “Children cannot consent,” “Stop sexualizing children,” and “Caution: Monkeypox hotspot approx. 50 ft away. Stay back.”

(Reddit material derived from Twitter thread by journalist Steven Monacelli)

The Proud Boys has made its presence known at multiple all-ages LGBTQ+ events this summer. On June 11, members of the far-right gang shouted homophobic and transphobic slurs at performers who were reading to kids during Drag Queen story hour at the San Lorenzo, CA library. Days later, in Wilmington, North Carolina, parents and children were terrorized when a group of 15 masked militants affiliated with the pro-Trump group marched into the library and disrupted a family friendly LGBTQ+ event for more than 90 minutes. 

According to reactions on social media, many on the left felt it was about time that right-wing homophobic and transphobic threats and intimidation were responded to in kind. 

@BossBunny503 wrote: “Time for us to do this on the Left. I’m done with being intimidated by #ProudBoys, #PatriotFront even cops! Fuck #fascism! If the only way to beat #facists is with militias and the threat of violence so be it!”

Beginning last September, HB1927 made it legal in Texas for most people aged 21 or over to open-carry or concealed-carry a gun in a holster without a permit. 

The presence of an armed contingent of counter-protestors in Texas on Sunday recalled some of the scenes that played out in 2017 over white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. There, a group of about 20 anti-racist and anti-capitalists, called the Redneck Revolt, formed a perimeter around the counter-protestors in Justice Park. They were armed with rifles. 

Other notable recent examples have included some of the protests over police killings of unarmed black men like George Floyd during the summer of 2020. Reuters reports that racists carrying Confederate battle flags in the Atlanta, Georgia suburb of Stone Mountain were met with some armed left-wing protestors, prompting a clash and the intervention of members of law enforcement. 

“A pattern among the clashes was rising tensions between right and left wing groups after nearly three months of protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and President Donald Trump’s ‘law and order’ response to demonstrations,” Reuters wrote.

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