“We’re now being made to feel unsafe in our own space,” Starlighter owners said in a statement posted to Instagram.
SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio concert venue has canceled upcoming drag shows, citing threats made against performers and staff.
The Starlighter will not host such events for the remainder of the year, it said in a statement posted to Instagram.
“The Starlighter’s goal has always been to provide a safe, all-ages space for entertainment and unfortunately we’re now being made to feel unsafe in our own space,” venue owners wrote. “We’re being bullied and threatened both online in comments, reviews, and tweets.”
The announcement comes after a self-described “independent journalist” recorded and posted a portion of the Starlighter’s all-ages drag show Friday. His Tweet enraged followers who oppose drag performances or all-ages drag shows.
The video shows a child sitting near the stage. Later, the child tells a performer their mother is outside.
“The child in question was never left unattended or in any danger,” the venue said. “They are the child of our food vendor that night who was right outside the door… this vendor and their child are very familiar with both staff and queens, and even posted a picture thanking the queens for treating her ‘like a niece’ at the end of the event.”
But users have left threatening replies to the video, including GIFs of guns. Kayla Guerrero, one of Starlight’s owners, says another poster threatened to burn down the venue.
“We’ve all been just trying to lay low because we’re scared,” she said.
“This is a direct attack on us,” said Brian Hernandez, a drag queen who performed at the Starlighter Friday. “There are straight up threats.”
Hernandez and Guerrero said it wasn’t hard to decide whether to cancel shows. Owners and performers discussed recent attacks on LGBTQ people and symbols, including a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
“We see the severity of how it can get with everything happening in the nation right now,” Hernandez said. “Who’s to say that can’t happen to us?”
Guerrero says the Starlighter will host more drag shows in the future, but performers and owners will first develop a security plan in case online threats materialize.
She’s not sure whether the venue will continue to host drag shows for all ages, though. She emphasized that owners will make that decision based on their own safety, not because they’ve conceded there’s something wrong with children attending drag shows.
“There’s more nudity in an NFL halftime show,” she said.
The video’s poster says the Texas Family Project, a right-wing nonprofit which lobbies against drag performances, paid for his work.
“The story is being twisted into something disgusting to fit a political narrative,” the venue owners wrote. “It’s sad, frustrating, and disappointing.”