ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene man wants to put a stop to the drag shows happening at a local bar, saying it goes against a city ordinance put in place in 1986. However, the city says it’s perfectly legal.
Eric Bengs referenced ordinance 86-1986 before Abilene City Council Thursday morning, which prohibits ‘adult entertainment enterprises’ on or within 600 feet of North 1st Street, where Homer’s Bar and Music Venue has hosted these shows for years.
“It’s been going on for years,” argued Homer’s co-owner, Donna Winkles. “Well, four or five years. It’s been clean fun, people enjoy it.”
This specific ordinance defines ‘adult entertainment enterprises,’ listed below:
Because cabarets make that list, Bengs said he decided he should go before the city to put a stop to the drag shows.
“[It says] live entertainment, ‘which is intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification,'” Bengs quoted the ordinance. “Which is what I believe drag shows are.”
However, city manager Robert Hanna said he had to disagree with Bengs during the meeting.
“I know that there are people that would find drag shows distasteful and would disagree with it, and has a right to do so, but it does not violate the ordinance,” explained Hanna.
At the advice of the Abilene Police Department and the city’s attorney’s office, Hanna told Bengs and the rest of the meeting’s attendees drag shows do not fit into the ordinance’s limitations.
The director of the drag show put on at Homer’s, Cecilia Ford, told KTAB/KRBC this is because there is no nudity or stripping in their shows.
“The process of getting into drag takes upwards of four to five hours, so for any of us to do ‘strip tease’ at our shows, it’s going to take 30 to 45 minutes to give you that effect because of how many layers we have on,” Ford rebutted.
Ford added, even if adult jokes are told at the shows, it is an adult bar where children are not allowed. Instead, Ford suggested for residents like Bengs to shift their concerns elsewhere in the city.
“They can turn all of that nasty energy around into addressing real life issues in Abilene, like our homeless citizens. Abilene has real issues and drag is not one of them,” said Ford.
However, Bengs said he won’t be giving up. He told KTAB/KRBC he plans to meet with Hanna in the effort to make a change, and he encourages others who agree with him to speak up.
“Come to city council meetings and have your voice heard,” Bengs called upon his fellow residents.
Ford, on the other hand, said this stance is a hypocritical one.
“Abilene prides itself on being a Christian community. I do not see the love of Christ in the actions of people protesting drag queens, in people calling them monsters, calling them perverts or deviants. That is not love,” added Ford.
Hanna also said the State of Texas passed a statute to try to regulate drag shows, and the original language proposed may have regulated this, but that version did not pass. Hanna says he believes this is because the legislature realized doing so is a violation of a law.