A Texas lawmaker who wrote a bill that would limit drag shows looks like he dressed in drag when he was in school.
This week, a video showed up on Twitter and TikTok that seems to show Republican Texas state Rep. Nate Schatzline running, dancing, and skipping in a park while wearing a black sequined dress and a red eye mask. At the end of the 90-second video, which is set to the song “Sexy Lady” by Javi Mula, the four people who took part are named. Schatzline, whose character is called “The Virgin,” is one of them.
“Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attacking the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas,” the Twitter user, who did not respond to a request for comment, wrote. “Here is Nate… in drag.”
Schatzline, who is in his first term as a state representative and used to be a pastor, did not respond right away when NBC News asked him for a comment.
Michelle tweet on Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attacking the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas. You can see below:
Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attacking the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas.
— Michelle (@LivingBlueTX) February 28, 2023
Most dictionaries would call Schatzline’s performance in the video “drag,” but it’s unclear if it would be against the law Schatzline introduced in January.
The bill, HB 1266, wants to change the Texas Business and Commerce Code so that a place that has a “drag performance” and lets people drink alcohol there is considered a “sexually oriented business.” The state code says that these kinds of businesses “may not let anyone younger than 18 years old into the premises of the business.”
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The measure says that a drag performance is “a performance in which a performer shows a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth using clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip syncs, dances, or otherwise performs in front of an audience for entertainment.”
It also says that sexually oriented businesses include “a nightclub, bar, restaurant, or other business that puts on a drag show for an audience of two or more people.”
An analysis by NBC News shows that lawmakers in at least a dozen other states have also proposed laws that would limit drag shows in the same way. Supporters of these bills say they are needed to keep kids from being exposed to entertainment that isn’t good for them. Critics say that they unfairly target an art form with strong ties to the LGBTQ community and wrongly paint all drag performances as obscene.
A picture of what looks like Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee dressed in drag as a high school student was shared on Reddit and Twitter a few days before Schatzline’s video came out. Lee’s press secretary, Jade Cooper Byers, did not say for sure if it was Lee in the yearbook photo. She told NBC News in an email that “any attempt to mix this serious issue with lighthearted school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee families.”
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Answering questions from reporters Lee, a Republican, said Monday that he would sign a bill that would make it illegal to do drag shows in public or in front of children in the state. The bill was just passed by the legislature.
The video of the Texas lawmaker comes about a month after an image on social media appeared to show New York Republican Rep. George Santos in drag. As he walked through a New York airport at the time, Santos told reporters, “No, I wasn’t a drag queen in Brazil. When I was young, I went to a festival and had fun. Sue me because I have a life.”