The Texas Monthly interviewed a drag queen named Brigitte Bandit, who has performed in nightclubs, bars, and library story hours. She has worn a big pink wig, lots of makeup and frilly dresses while performing as Dolly Parton, Jesse the Cowgirl, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and other roles.

She loves performing. But here’s the catch: she was born female, identifies as female, and would not be affected by the ban that Texas legislators intend to pass.

But she’s fighting for the drag queen community. She testified before the legislative committee in full drag.

She noted that there are videos of some of the legislators dressed in women’s clothing (posted in the article).

She said in the interview:

Ultimately, drag is just a play on the gender binary. You can have a drag queen or a drag king, or more alternative drag performers, like spooky, monster-type drag. Drag can just encompass so many things that defining it by your genitalia misses the point of what drag is. A lot of people didn’t realize I was an AFAB [assigned female at birth] queen until I spoke at the hearing. They had no idea, because drag really is a costume, and you can’t poke holes through it to see what’s happening underneath, you know? …

I actually had a Dolly Parton book open on that table during my testimony. [The passage] read, “Dolly loves to wear wigs and lots of makeup. Some people may think it’s too much, but children love her look. And so does she.” I was going to read that, because if you go to story time, you’ll see that it’s really not a threat to anybody or anything. It’s actually a really fun environment, and kids love it. I did this event at [radio station] KUT’s Rock the Park as Dolly Parton, and there was this huge group of children just following me around wherever I went. It was wild to me. They just loved it so much. I was trying to perform and I was worried that I was going to trip over them because they had completely surrounded me. Kids don’t see anything other than, like, a really tall Barbie doll. It’s adults who are sexualizing this kind of art. What’s the issue with me wearing a big dress and reading a book? 

Is a female (such as Brigitte Bandit) allowed to give a drag queen performance, but a male dressed in the same outfit with the same wig going to be thrown in jail?

Why do red state legislators find drag queens so threatening? Are they insecure about their own masculinity?