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Texas Judge Who Tried To Kill Abortion Pills Is Now Out To Kill Free Speech (For Drag Queens)
Just incredible how much these people treasure free speech.
You may remember Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk as the Trump-appointed judge who tried to outlaw medication abortion, but that (unfortunately) is not all there is to him. In addition to having ridiculous and untrue ideas about abortion, he also has ridiculous and untrue ideas about drag — namely, that he does not consider it “free speech,” which it very obviously is.
On Wednesday, Kacsmaryk issued a ruling denying Spectrum — a West Texas A&M University (WT) LGBTQ+ group — injunctive relief against their ridiculous bigot of a president who wants to ban drag shows from campus.
Here’s what happened: Back in March, Spectrum attempted to put on a charity drag show on campus to benefit The Trevor Project. It was for students and members of the wider community, but stipulated that children would only be let in with a parent or guardian. WT president Walter Wendler heard about this, freaked out and said that drag shows were not allowed on campus.
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President Wendler issued an absolutely batshit statement disingenuously comparing drag to blackface and calling it misogynistic (a word we feel pretty confident he had never used before in all his life). More importantly, however, he explicitly said that he would ban drag shows “even when the law of the land appears to require it.”
And Kacsmaryk’s opinion is that it does not, because drag shows are known to be lewd and vulgar. He also determined that President Wendler can’t be sued over violating the students’ First Amendment rights due to qualified immunity.
Gee, is there anything that “qualified immunity” can’t do?
Despite the fact that Wendler’s pretend opposition leaned heavily on the absurd “It’s misogyny to dress up as women!” claim, Kacsmaryk’s opinion largely centered upon his own personal belief that drag shows were “sexualized” and his upset over the fact that children would have been allowed to attend accompanied by their parents.
But even if the First Amendment is implicated, President Wendler knew of potential lewdness, which is prohibited under school policy (prohibiting "[p]ublic behavior that is disruptive, lewd, or indecent) (alteration in original). And the First Amendment does not prevent school officials from restricting "vulgar and lewd" conduct that would "undermine the school's basic educational mission" - particularly in settings where children are physically present. […]
Here, Plaintiffs advised President Wendler the event would be open to children.
Although Plaintiffs attest the show was rated "PG-13" - a term undefined by Plaintiffs but presumably based on the familiar Motion Picture Association ("MPA”) ratings contemporaneous media accounts of similarly advertised events reflect a range of highly sexualized content.
At one point, he literally cited the website of the hate group Gays Against Groomers, which ridiculously claims that “the overwhelming majority of gay people […] directly oppose the sexualization and indoctrination of children. This includes drag queen story hours [and] drag shows involving children.”
It seems as though, if this were an official poll rather than a ridiculous claim made by a hate group started by a few mega-grifty QAnon idiots, Kacsmaryk would cite that instead of their janky-ass website. He did not!
Mostly Kacsmaryk just grasps at straws, trying desperately and disjointedly to rustle up a reason why drag shows should not be covered by the First Amendment and landed on the idea that they are not inherently “expressing” anything, because men dressing up as women is not inherently a pro-gay message in and of itself.
“Because men dressed in attire stereotypically associated with women is not ‘overtly political’ in a category of performative conduct that runs the gamut of transvestitism - e.g., onnagata in kabuki, Sigma Chi fraternity brothers in a distasteful ‘ugly woman’ contest, jogappa priests worshiping Yellamma, and Matt Damon depicting a Yale University thespian in The Good Shepherd - it is not clearly established that all drag shows are inherently expressive as defined in Johnson.”
Except for how it is art and also a performance that everyone widely understands is, at this point, not only closely associated with the LGBTQ+ community, but very much political in nature — not least for the express reasons that people like Kacsmaryk and Walter Wendler are attacking it.
“At this stage of litigation, Plaintiffs cannot prevail by invoking the word ‘expression,’ as if the Free Speech Clause obliterated all logical distinctions separating (1) thought, speech, and conduct, (2) ‘time, place, and manner,’ and (3) children from sexualized conduct.”
I beg to differ.
Let us point out here that this clip is from a television show on cable television and streaming services that literally anyone of any age can watch if they choose (or their parents allow them). It is also far from the most “lewd” or “vulgar” thing on television, forget about on the internet.
You do not see these same people lining up outside R-rated movies telling parents they can’t take their children inside — which they are allowed to do. As long as a child under the age of 17 is accompanied by an adult, they can go to a theater and watch any R-rated movie they want. Certainly, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk would not claim that movies are not free speech, when they obviously are.
Every one of these people sobbing their faces off and going into hysterics about drag shows and drag storytime is 1000 percent full of shit. They are not trying to prevent kids from being exposed to “sexual material”; they want, desperately and with their whole hearts, a way to (further) marginalize LGBTQ+ people without coming off as the bigoted assholes they obviously are.
They are not afraid that the children will be affected or scarred for life — they are afraid that they will not give a shit.
Luckily, his is not the last word on this case, only the injunction. Hopefully the students will get a less stupid and bigoted judge in the end.