TEXAS, USA — Editor's note: The video published above is a WFAA report from June 2022 about another Texas lawmaker who called for banning drag shows after one at a Dallas bar made the rounds on social media.
A North Texas lawmaker who authored a bill that would restrict drag performances appears to have dressed in drag himself while he was a student.
A video was posted on Twitter this week by Democratic activist Michelle Davis claiming to show Texas State Rep. Nate Schatzline (R-Fort Worth), skipping, running and dancing in a park while donning a black sequined dress and a red eye mask.
“Nate Schatzline has made his entire personality attacking the LGBTQ community, trans especially children, and vowed to ban drag shows in Texas,” Davis wrote. “Here is Nate… in drag.”
As of March 4, the video had been viewed nearly 65,000 times.
The Republican lawmaker responded to the video, essentially confirming that the man in the video is, indeed, him. He went on to call the video a distraction.
"Y’all really going crazy over me wearing a dress as a joke back in school for a theatre project? Yah, that’s not a sexually explicit drag show… lol y’all will twist ANYTHING," Schatzline tweeted. "Michelle, please find something better to do than look up old videos from when people were in school."
In a tweet on March 1, Schatzline posted a video saying "left-wing news media has done exactly what they do and that is twist stories into something that they're not."
He continued to say in the video that his bill – HB 1266 – is aimed at banning "sexually-explicit drag shows."
Text from HB 1266 says the bill looks to amend Texas’ Business and Commerce Code to define a venue that hosts a “drag performance” and “authorizes on-premises consumption of alcoholic beverages” as a “sexually oriented business.”
According to state code, such venues “may not allow an individual younger than 18 years of age to enter the premises of the business.”
The bill was assigned to the House State Affairs Committee on Friday, days after the video of Schatzline wearing the dress surfaced.
The back-and-forth between Democratic groups and Schatzline continue to intensify the debate over drag shows. The Fort Worth republican commented again Friday afternoon, responding to a tweet from the Texas Democrats.
The Texas Tribune noted that "so far, none of the bills define what kinds of clothes or makeup lawmakers consider to be exhibitive of which gender." The lawmakers also haven’t explained why clothes or makeup make someone’s appearance sexual, the Texas Tribune reported.
Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, told the Tribune “some new language may be coming next week.”
Ike Hajinazarian, the Texas Democrats’ spokesperson who spoke with the Tribune, claims GOP lawmakers are drawing attention to drag queens to rile up their base over what he describes as “nonissues,” furthermore calling it "clickbait."
The heated debate in Texas legislature comes as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a similar bill restricting drag shows in Tennessee on Friday.
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