Children’s Defense Fund Files Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Federal Lawsuit Challenging Texas’ ‘Drag Ban’ Legislation

For Immediate Release

Senate Bill 12 could criminalize some drag performances in Texas. In an Amicus Curiae brief to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, CDF argues the legislation would threaten the free expression of Texans while harming LGBTQIA+ youth.


John Henry,, CDF Media Relations Manager, @johnhenrydc, 708-646-7679

Washington, DC — The national youth advocacy organization Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) has filed an Amicus Curiae brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Texas Senate Bill 12.

Senate Bill 12 would make it illegal for drag performances to be shown in the presence of young people in Texas. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas successfully sued to block the legislation on the behalf of its clients, two LGBTQIA+ nonprofit organizations, two drag production and entertainment companies, and a drag artist. However, the ruling was later appealed to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals where the case will be decided at a later date.

CDF filed its brief, with the assistance of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, due to the proposed legislation’s potential to threaten the free expression of Texans and harm LGBTQIA+ youth in the state.

Children’s Defense Fund National Litigation Strategist Thomas Harvey said CDF decided to act in an effort to block Senate Bill 12 because of our longstanding commitment to standing alongside youth and children in their advocacy, adding our support as a strong and effective voice to all children and young people in America who cannot lobby or speak on certain issues for themselves.

“This unconstitutional law not only violates the First Amendment, but also the ability of children to live with dignity, hope, and joy,” Harvey said. “Senate Bill 12 is part of a broader effort in Texas to prevent LGBTQIA+ youth, especially Black and Brown youth, from experiencing expression that is beneficial to them and neither harmful nor obscene. It also ignores the autonomy of parents to share certain forms of artistic expression they value with their children.”

Children’s Defense Fund-Texas State Director DrBrandy Taylor Dédé said Senate Bill 12 could also criminalize transgender youth in Texas and the adults who love them.

“Children’s Defense Fund-Texas is proud of its continuing efforts to provide programming and events where young Texans can express themselves through art, film, and advocacy,” Taylor Dédé said. “This legislation acts as a clear affront to our efforts to support all children given the fact it would ban them from an LGBTQIA+ affirming space.”

Children’s Defense Fund calls on the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the permanent injunction first delivered against Senate Bill 12 before it negatively impacts the state’s young people and their interests. 

Instagram- @childdefender1973




About Children’s Defense Fund

Founded in 1973, Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive. The only national, multi-issue advocacy organization working at the intersection of child well-being and racial justice, CDF advances the well-being of America’s most diverse generation, the 74 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25. CDF’s grassroots movements in marginalized communities build power for child-centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Its renowned CDF Freedom Schools® program is conducted in nearly 100 cities across 30 states and territories. Learn more at