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North Texas mom took kids to a holiday drag show. It turned into a viral ‘nightmare’

Blair Briscoe said she thought she had found a perfect holiday activity for her kids when she took them to a family-friendly Christmas drag show in Grand Prairie last December.

Despite having to navigate past the protesters clashing outside, there wasn’t much trouble inside Texas Trust CU Theatre, and her two kids seemed to enjoy the show.

But the next day, a conservative activist and TV host with more than 300,000 followers on Twitter posted a video of Briscoe and her kids that the activist covertly recorded in the theater lobby. In the video, Sara Gonzales approaches Briscoe and asks if she thought the show was appropriate for her children.

“You don’t think it’s exposing sex to them too young?” Gonzales asked her.

“This is a little bit more forward, but there’s innuendo and all that kind of stuff in Disney,” Briscoe replied, seemingly unaware she was being recorded.

The video, which has been viewed 2.5 million times, was spliced with sexually explicit scenes of drag performances. Those scenes were not from the show Briscoe attended, Briscoe said, but that didn’t matter. The social media backlash was brutal.

Gonzales commented on her tweet of the video that “the woman in the green shirt,” referring to Briscoe, “has been identified and has recently worked as a high school teacher. The left has infiltrated the public education system. It is broken beyond repair.”

Hundreds of other comments piled on, from fat-shaming Briscoe to calling her a sexual predator “groomer” and child abuser who deserved to have her children taken away. Some tagged Texas Child Protective Services in their comments to alert the agency.

Briscoe was upset that Gonzales didn’t fully blur the faces of her 11- and 13-year-old children in the video, she told the Star-Telegram. But, her primary concern is that the video was misleading and made it sound as though she was justifying content more explicit than what her kids saw.

“She posted clips of me over clips of a totally different drag show to make it look worse than what it was,” Briscoe said. “I don’t know what show it was, but it certainly wasn’t the one in Dallas that we saw.”

Specifically, the video shows two people dressed as reindeer simulating sex and a drag queen with a box around her “naked” prosthetic breasts.

“She tricked me,” Briscoe said. “They’re manipulating the situation to fit their narrative.”

Gonzales did not respond to a Star-Telegram question about Briscoe saying the video was edited to be misleading.

Drag performances — particularly those that are open to all ages — are increasingly under attack in Texas and across the U.S., from small protests at drag brunches to new state laws targeting drag shows. National candidates, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have made LGBTQ+ issues a top concern, and the topic is often a lead story on conservative cable news.

North Texas activists, including Gonzales, are unapologetic about their mission to curtail drag shows, including exposing people who attend.

At the time of the December show, Gonzales had recently launched her organization Defend Our Kids Texas in coordination with the “pro-family” advocacy group Texas Family Project to “expose the depravity of the left,” according to the organization’s website.

Gonzales is also the host of “The News and Why It Matters” on conservative media channel BlazeTV and has appeared on Tucker Carlson’s former FOX News show.

After the Star-Telegram sought to interview Gonzales for this story, she reposted the December video on Twitter on Thursday, writing that the Star-Telegram was planning a “hit piece” on her. “To be clear, I’m not sorry at all, Blair,” she added, with her video getting another 90,000 views and counting.

Gonzales sent the Star-Telegram a statement saying unidentified people reached out to her after she posted the video “expressing their concern” about Briscoe teaching children about “sexual ideology.”

“I find it troubling that instead of engaging in self-reflection as to why Blair is so keen to sexualize children, she paints herself as the victim,” Gonzales said.

Briscoe denied this claim, adding that she’s a business and finance teacher. The closest her instruction gets to “sexual ideology” is a lesson about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she said.

“I have to teach them about business ethics and that not only is it unethical to discriminate in business, it’s illegal,” she said.

A Drag Queen Christmas

The December show was the eighth consecutive tour of “Murray and Peter Present A Drag Queen Christmas,” hosted by Nina West, who appeared on the 11th season of the reality competition series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The tour had stops around the country, including other cities in Texas.

Protests outside were organized by Protect Texas Kids, an organization founded by University of North Texas alum Kelly Neidert that seeks to prevent “the sexualization of children,” she has told the Star-Telegram.

Members of extremist groups New Columbia Movement and American Nationalist Initiative joined the protest, along with members of the neo-Nazi Aryan Freedom Network, the Dallas Morning News reported. Counter-protesters included armed members of the Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club.

Briscoe said that as she drove up to the venue, some protesters were doing Nazi salutes to the car.

“My kids were taught a lot of lessons that night that I didn’t think I would have to teach them, which is like, what to do in a mass shooting, that our backs need to be up against the wall, find the nearest exits,” she said.

The protesters did not block the entrance, and the venue was heavily guarded, Briscoe said. Although the scene gave her anxiety, she saw this as an opportunity to teach her children a valuable lesson.

“At this point, I was like, no, we needed to stand up to bullies,” she said.

Briscoe and her kids watched the first part of the show and then, during the intermission, left their seats to get snacks. On their way back, they were approached by a woman wearing a blue wig, who Briscoe now knows to be Gonzales.

‘It’s been a nightmare’

Attending an 11 p.m. drag show at a bar or club is a different experience than a drag brunch on a Sunday morning, just like the content in an R-rated movie is different than the latest Pixar flick. Drag performers adapt the content of their shows for the maturity of their audiences, said Todd Camp, founder of YesterQueer, the Fort Worth Gay History Project.

Briscoe says Gonzales’ video blurs that fact.

The ease of image and video editing makes for funny memes, but it also makes it simple to create a dishonest image or video to serve a political goal, said Kate Ruane from free expression organization PEN America.

Ruane expects manipulated media will become more common with technology. The best way to combat it is to call it out, she said.

Since the video posted, Briscoe said, she has become a target of harassment online and in her small, conservative community.

She worked as a teacher for nine years before leaving to get her master’s degree. She said she had planned to return to the classroom after graduate school. But parents at school know about the video, she said, and it will make her job more challenging.

Briscoe also says she fears for the safety of her children. She said she stopped allowing her daughter to walk home from school.

“Now, I pick her up,” she said. “Because these people were saying I need to have my kids taken away. So I didn’t want somebody to take away my kid.

“It’s been a nightmare,” she said.

When asked if she has any concerns about the personal fallout for the subjects of her video, Gonzales said she “makes no apologies” for “mentally ill women intent on exposing children to sexual content.”

“Any parent who exposes their children to sexual content should have their children taken away from them,” she said.