Activist Protects Transgender Witness From Texas Senate Officials

Loren Perkins
Loren Perkins

A transgender person spoke in front of the Texas legislature on Thursday to denounce Republican efforts to legislate transgender people out of existence. Video of their speech went viral for what they said and for an epic show of physical interference when the sergeant of arms attempted to silence their microphone but was greeted by an activist who put their body between the official and the witness.

Loren Perkins spoke for the first time before the state legislature to denounce a GOP-led effort to control how people can express themselves publicly by going after drag queens.

Republicans in Texas have proposed anti-LGBTQ+ laws, with Perkins addressing S.B. 12 and S.B. 1601 — two measures limiting where drag queens may perform.

A clip of the subsequent interaction has been viewed on TikTok more than 5 million times.


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“This morning, I spent not an inconsequential amount of time pondering what to wear, how to do my makeup, what I should sound like, [and] how I could best present myself to make my humanity clear and obvious to this committee. Isn’t that a shame?” Perkins asked.

“By hiding your big bigotry behind children like cowards, you will find yourself on the wrong side of history. By manipulating the words of an ancient text and shoehorning it into legislation aimed at an at-risk minority population,” Perkins continued, “you liken yourselves to another group that gained popularity in Germany in the 1930s.”

“We can see through this veneer of legislation and assess the intended target: the continued marginalization and othering of the LGBTQIA+ community, rhetoric intended to strike fear into the hearts of the people of this state. I will not sit here and debate your fascist ideology as peddlers of intolerance deserve no such stage on a public forum,” Perkins began in summation as the presiding officer said, “thank you,” indicating the expiration of time.

At this point, Perkins continued speaking, and several officials began approaching the seat from which witnesses could speak, attempting to grab the microphone.

That’s when a quick-reacting LGBTQ+ activist, wearing a pink shirt and rainbow bottoms, put their body between the officials and the speaker to allow Perkins to finish prepared remarks.

“We will not stand for it. We may not win today, and we may not win tomorrow, but we will persist as we always have in the fight of your oppression,” Perkins began yelling as multiple people in the background tried and failed to reach the seat to grab the microphone physically, as the rainbow-and-pink wearing defender continued to raise their arms to obstruct those wanting to interfere with the speaker.


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“If you wish to eradicate transgenderism from public life, as members of your party have said,” Perkins said, now projecting loudly because the microphone was shut off remotely, “to quote a hero of yours, ‘ you can pry that from my cold dead hands!’”

On Friday, the Republican lieutenant governor of the Lone Star State expressed his offended sensibilities in a tweet alongside a video clip of the interaction.

“We will not tolerate unruly behavior in the Texas Senate from witnesses. Last night a witness’s testimony ran over their allotted time, and the Sergeant at Arms was physically blocked from removing their mic; this is unacceptable and will not be permitted,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wrote.

S.B. 12 is a measure that seeks to outlaw the expression of drag in public if children could see a queen.

The bill adds to existing laws that restrict children’s access to sexual material, but in this case, the proposal goes further by defining as sexually oriented material any production where “a male performer [is] exhibiting as a female, or a female performer exhibiting as a male, who uses clothing, makeup, or other similar physical markers and who sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience.”

Texas S.B. 1601 targets Drag Queen Story Time specifically, stating that any public library “may not receive state funds if the library hosts an event at which a man presenting as a woman or a woman presenting as a man reads a book or a story to a minor for entertainment and the person being dressed as the opposite gender is a primary component of the entertainment.”

According to the proposal, state funds would be denied to any library the year after it hosts such an event.

As the 2024 presidential election cycle heats up, Republicans have decided that moving forward with culture war issues is a successful recipe, so they have attacked the LGBTQ+ community.

Across the country, Republican legislatures have proposed or enacted bills that target drag queens and define the art form as sexualized and inappropriate for children.

Critics say that the bills which conflate performing in drag and being transgender are intentionally written with language so broad that, if passed, these laws would open the door to targeting the rights of transgender people.