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'Fearing for our life': South Texas drag productions company says they're upping security at shows due to threats

AZUL Entertainment in Portland said on their Facebook page they want to be sure entertainers, staff and patrons are safe at their shows.

PORTLAND, Texas — A drag productions company in Portland took to social media to announce they are upping security at their shows due to threats of violence surrounding drag shows nationwide. 

The post said the company is aware of a threat and anyone who attends their shows will be patted down before being able to enter the venue. 

"We want to be sure not only our entertainers but the staff and patrons of all venues we perform at are safe and sound," the post said. They also said they will have armed security at future shows. 

Izzy Gonzalez, owner of Azul Entertainment told 3NEWS that part of what they love to do is bring live performances and drag shows to communities that might not have as much representation.

"You're seeing more drag brunches, you're seeing more dinner shows with drag performers just all over the Coastal Bend, and we love that," he said.

Drag performers and the LGBTQ community have been dealing with an increase of violent threats nationwide, something Izzy said they're seeing right here at home.

"We don't just go to the 'gay venues' as they call it. We go to the 'straight venues.' So taking measures for the LGBTQ as well as our patrons who are allies. So we don't have the recent event in Colorado," he said.

The Department of Homeland Security released a new bulletin naming minority groups who are "targets of potential violence," including the LGBTQ community. 

RELATED STORY: DHS releases bulletin naming minority groups who are 'targets of potential violence' 

A San Antonio concert venue just canceled upcoming drag shows, citing threats made against performers and staff, our sister station KENS reports.  

"The story is being twisted into something disgusting to fit a political narrative," the venue owners wrote. "It's sad, frustrating, and disappointing."  

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."

In late November, a 22-year-old gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and leaving 25 injured before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived within minutes.

3NEWS spoke with the current Miss Gay Corpus Christi Isis Paris York about how the LGBTQ community still has to fight as a community to be seen and heard.

"We are fearing for our life, fearing for our safety, for our homes, our relationships and everything we've been able to establish for ourselves," York said.

As a representative of her community, York said she hopes for positive change. 

"I hope that the safe spaces we have created for ourselves continue to be just that. Safe spaces. Places we can go and be our most authentic selves and not having to worry about people coming in and pretty much shooting us down," York said.

Azul Entertainment said that by increasing their security, they're also prioritizing the safety of their performers, patrons and staff. 

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