The New Blackface? Texas University Cancels Campus Drag Show, Compares To Blackface
Artists of the drag community are being shut out everywhere, thanks to conservative views. Texas is no exception.
CNN reports a show scheduled on the campus of West Texas A&M University was suddenly canceled after the school’s president claims the show “discriminates against womanhood” and compared the performers to blackface.
In an email to students explaining the cancellation, President Walter V. Wendler said there is “no such thing” as a harmless drag show. “A harmless drag show? Not possible,” Wendler wrote. “I will not appear to condone the diminishment of any group at the expense of impertinent gestures toward another group for any reason, even when the law of the land appears to require it.”
Wendler has been a critic of such shows, calling them “derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.”
Both students and free speech advocates started a petition condemning the show’s cancellation, saying the move was both wrong and unconstitutional. Close to reaching the goal of 10,000 signatures, students and supporters are hoping to have the performance reinstated, citing an “indirect attack on the LGBT+, feminist, and activist communities of the WTAMU student body.”
Texas is one of 10 states who have proposed bills considering anti-drag legislation. Earlier this month, Tennessee became the first state to restrict public drag show performances. However, the university may be facing legal issues over the cancellation.
According to ABC 7 Amarillo, since the school is publicly funded, Wendler is infringing on the student’s First Amendment rights. Attorney Ryan Brown says it is a battle worth fighting for as Wendler’s supporters could deem the show’s content as offensive. “Free speech is going to offend some people and that is the speech that needs to be protected,” Brown said. “The university, in other defenses, is to say this president acted in violation of their own policy because this violates school policy too.”