A Texas legislator who wrote a bill that would restrict drag performances appears to have dressed in drag as a student.
A video that appeared on Twitter and Tik Tok this week appears to show Texas state representative Nate Schatzline, a Republican, jumping, running and dancing in a park while donning a sequined black dress and red eye mask. At the end of the approximately 90-second video, which plays over the song «Sexy Lady» by Javi Mula, the four participants are named, including Schatzline, whose character is called «La Virgen».
“Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attack the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas,” wrote the Twitter user, who did not respond to a request for comment. «Here’s Nate… in drag.»
Schatzline, a first-term state representative and former pastor, did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment. However, in a tweet shared on Tuesday, he appeared to confirm his involvement in the video.
“Are they really going crazy over me wearing a dress as a prank at school for a drama project? Yeah that’s not a sexually explicit drag show…lol y’all will twist ANYTHING,” she wrote.
While Schatzline’s performance in the video would meet most dictionary definitions of «drag”, it is not clear if it would be prohibited by the legislation that Schatzline introduced in January.
legislation, HB 1266seeks to modify Texas Business and Commerce Code to define a venue that hosts a «resistance performance» and «authorizes the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the premises» as a «sexually oriented business.» Such businesses, according to state code, «may not allow a person under the age of 18 to enter the business premises.»
The measure defines a drag performance as “a performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different from the gender of the performer assigned at birth by wearing clothing, makeup, or other physical markers and sings, lip-synches, dances, or acts otherwise before an audience for entertainment.” It also states that sexually oriented businesses can be categorized as «a nightclub, bar, restaurant, or other commercial enterprise that provides a drag performance for an audience of two or more.»
Lawmakers in at least a dozen other states have proposed laws that would similarly restrict drag performances, according to an NBC News analysis. Supporters of these bills say they are necessary to protect children from exposure to inappropriate entertainment. Critics argue that they unfairly target an art form with deep ties to the LGBTQ community and wrongly paint all drag performances as raunchy.
The appearance of the Schatzline video came several days after an image of what appears to be Tennessee Governor Bill Lee dressed as a high school student was shared on Reddit and Twitter. Lee’s press secretary, Jade Cooper Byers, would not confirm whether it is Lee in the yearbook photo, previously telling NBC News in an email that «any attempt to combine this serious issue with light-hearted school traditions is dishonest and disrespectful to Tennessee families.»
Responding to reporters’ questions Monday, Lee, a Republican, confirmed that he would sign a recently passed bill that would criminalize drag performances in public and in front of children in the state.
The video of the Texas lawmaker also comes about a month after an image surfaced on social media that appeared to show embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York dressed as a woman. At the time, Santos told reporters while walking through a New York airport: “No, I wasn’t a drag queen in Brazil, guys. I was young and having fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.