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Another GOP lawmaker trying to ban drag has been caught in drag

Another GOP lawmaker trying to ban drag has been caught in drag
Texas Rep. Nate Schatzline Photo: Screenshot

North Texas state Rep. Nate Schatzline (R-TX) introduced a bill to restrict drag shows, even though video has surfaced of him performing in drag.

Schatzline is the author of Texas’s House Bill 1266, which aims to restrict drag performances by reclassify any venue where such performances occur as a “sexually oriented business.” As The Dallas Morning News notes that the classification would subject the venues to special taxes and restrictions.

The bill, which Schatzline introduced in January but which has not advanced, defines drag as any “performance in which a performer exhibits 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 before an audience for entertainment.”

But earlier this week, a video showing Schatzline performing in a dress as a teenager, reportedly for a school project, appeared on TikTok and Twitter. By his own legal definition, his performance in the video would violate the law.

“Y’all really going crazy over me wearing a dress as a joke back in school for a theatre project?” the freshman state rep tweeted in response to the video on Monday. “Yah, that’s not a sexually explicit drag show… lol y’all will twist ANYTHING.”

On Wednesday, Schatzline tweeted a video response. “The left wing is attacking me for some class project I did as a teenager where my buddies dared me to wear a dress,” he said. “But we’re not going to let it distract us from the real message of what we’re trying to get done here in the Texas Legislature, which is to ban sexually explicit drag shows and preserve the innocence of the next generation.”

Schatzline isn’t the first anti-LGBTQ+ lawmaker to have a video of himself appearing in drag emerge recently.

Over the weekend, an unearthed photo from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) high school yearbook showed him wearing a dress, wig, and pearls. The photo was posted to Reddit. Lee is set to sign Tennessee’s House Bill 9, which would ban “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” from appearing “on public property” or “in a location where the adult cabaret performance could be viewed by a person who is not an adult.”

During a press conference on Monday, Lee was asked if he remembered “dressing in drag in 1977.” Lee rejected the comparison to the types of performances banned in H.B. 9.

“What a ridiculous, ridiculous question that is,” he said. “Conflating something like that to sexualized entertainment in front of children, which is a very serious subject.”

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