West Texas A&M University, Drag Shows

March 2024
West Texas A&M University (Public college or university)
Canyon, Texas

Identity of Speakers

  • Spectrum WT


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Recognized student group event
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Left wing
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
    In litigation Federal Court of Appeals
  • Was Speech Code incident


On March 15, 2024, the US Supreme Court rejected without comment an emergency request from West Texas A&M students that they be allowed to host a charity drag show, siding with the school’s decision to prohibit the show.

Spectrum WT, a student organization, wanted to hold the drag show in order to raise money for the Trever Project, a national organization that focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ people. The fight between the students and the administration over drag shows has been raging since last year, when President Walter Wendler cancelled a planned drag show on the grounds that they “stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood.” Wendler argued that it would be impossible to host a drag show without denigrating women, and that while “[s]upporting The Trevor Project is a good idea. My recommendation is to skip the show and send the dough.”

According to the students, this case presented an important issue as “[p]ublic university and college officials nationwide from across the political spectrum are appointing themselves censors-in-chief, separating what they consider `good’ from `bad’ expression on their campuses.” Although the university agreed that the case may present important First Amendment issues, they argued that the issue is not of such immediate national importance that the Court needs to weigh in at this state. The Fifth Circuit will hear arguments in the case the week of April 29.