Teacher speaks out on being fired after attending drag show, posting on social media
The drag performers are hosting a benefit in support of the fired teachers.
One of the teachers who says she was fired from her job at a Texas school after attending a drag performance and posting about it on social media is speaking out.
Kristi Maris, one of the former teachers at the First Baptist Academy in Baytown, Texas, said she had worked at the school for roughly 20 years before she was terminated after attending a July 13 drag show at the Houston restaurant Hamburger Mary’s.
In an interview with ABC News, Maris said she had attended the show with her two adult children and a co-worker: "It was just so fun because they interacted with us. And they were just fun to look at -- their costumes and the makeup and the hair."
She said she wasn't given clear reasons for her firing, but was directed to a photo posted on her social media of her with drag performers from the restaurant.
“They told me because I went to this show and posted a picture I wasn’t walking in a godly manner, so, that being said, please remove yourself from my page if this offends you, if you think this is ungodly, makes me a pedaphile [sic], or causes you to feel uncomfortable,” she wrote on Facebook.
She said the incident has made her "look at everything differently" and that it's "changed me for the better."
"Teaching the Bible and being Christians, I've been taught since I was a child that we're supposed to love everyone equally," she said. "It doesn't matter what color you are, doesn't matter if you're gay or you're straight. You just have to love everyone. If there was more kindness in the world, we wouldn't be in this whole predicament."
She continued, "We just need to show grace and mercy and forgiveness and stop being so judgmental."
Drag shows have become the target of threats and criticism across the country as conservative politicians in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Montana, and others introduced or passed legislation that restricts drag performances in their state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill in June that would "regulate sexually oriented performances and to restricting those performances on the premises of a commercial enterprise, on public property, or in the presence of an individual younger than 18 years of age."
Mentions of drag performances were removed in the final version of the bill, though Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement that the bill would prohibit "sexualized performances and drag shows in the presence of a minor." The law is set to go into effect in September.
The second teacher who was fired has yet to make any public remarks.
The First Baptist Academy did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
The school’s senior pastor referred KTRK to a line in the school's operating policies manual that reads: "I will act in a godly and moral fashion at work, on Facebook, and in my community."
The Houston location of Hamburger Mary’s, which has several independently owned restaurants across the country, regularly hosts drag performances. The restaurant has spoken out in support of the two women.
“We want our guests to come in, let their hair down, and forget about whatever they have going on in their personal life,” the restaurant’s Facebook post read. The post supports both educators who were fired, saying they "are the teachers, not only children, the whole world deserves!”
The restaurant will be hosting a benefit show and GoFundMe to raise money for the two women in light of their termination, as well as to “raise awareness that drag queens and the LGBTQIA+ community are not bad people.”