JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A nightclub in Johnson City hosted what they called a ‘Drag Brunch’ on Sunday afternoon to raise money to keep local students safe.

Organizers said they aim to raise awareness of gun violence in schools, something they believe lawmakers should be making a top priority rather than banning drag shows in certain situations. New Beginnings said funds raised at the drag brunch are being sent to Johnson City Schools to help improve safety.

One of the owners of New Beginnings, Michael Trivette, told News Channel 11 the fundraiser saw around $500 before the event even started, one donation being from drag icon, Ru Paul.

Trivette said his bar typically does not do drag brunches. He said he simply wanted to raise awareness of what he believes is important.

Trivette said the recently signed legislation, which bans drag shows on public property or anywhere a child could see it, wouldn’t affect his bar since it’s 18+ only. But, he said the bill does affect the LGBTQ+ community and many performers who make their living doing drag brunches and shows in public spaces.

“The law is a done deal,” said Trivette. “It’s already done and we can’t change that. But we do have a voice and we have a vote. If we don’t like the way that our legislators or our governors or the people that are entrusted to make the laws and help our communities, if we don’t like what they’re doing, we have a voice.”

Before he signed the legislation, Governor Bill Lee said that his intent is to protect children.

“I think the concern is right there in that building,” Lee said in late February, pointing to a school. “Children that are potentially exposed to sexualized entertainment, to obscenity, and we need to make sure that they’re not.”

Trivette condemned Tennessee lawmakers for their heavy focus on the bill banning public drag shows, stating he thinks that attention could be directed somewhere more useful.

“The largest cause of death of school-aged children is gun violence,” Trivette told News Channel 11. “Yet in response to that, our leaders seem to think that the appropriate action to take is to ban drag queens, which do nothing to harm children. At worst, someone goes into a school library and pays children some attention and reads a book to them.”

Trivette said the multitude of people that showed up for the event is a testament to the support from East Tennesseans for the LGBTQ community and for students’ safety from gun violence.