Rep. George Santos denies ever being a drag queen

Beleaguered Republican Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., said claims that he performed as a drag queen are “categorically false.” Her denial comes shortly after a Brazilian transvestite artist shared on social media an image of her and another transvestite, whom he identified as the newly elected congressman.

“The latest media obsession that I am a drag queen or ‘acted’ like a drag queen is categorically false,” Santos, who has been making international headlines for weeks for fabricating parts of her resume, tweeted Thursday morning. “The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life as I work for results.”

Last week, Brazilian drag performer Eula Rochard posted an image on Facebook and Instagram of herself with a persona wearing a red feathered dress, bright red lipstick, and dangling chandelier earrings. Rochard, who identifies herself as Eula Rorard in the photo, claims that the other person in the outfit called herself Kitara Ravache and is, in fact, Santos.

“Me with the US Republican congressman who didn’t leave my house,” Rochard wrote in Portuguese in the Facebook post. “Whoever said he was a liar, bite your tongue.”

NBC News has not independently verified the images posted on Rochard’s social media accounts, which she says originally appeared in a Brazilian newspaper in 2008. As of Thursday afternoon, the images had circulated widely on social media and websites. news website.

Rochard told NBC News that he met Santos around 2005 and last saw him in 2008 through Niterói’s gay community, but added that he only knew him by his drag name, Kitara Ravache, and Anthony (Santos has various combinations of the name George Anthony Devolder Santos, the full name listed in a 2019 Federal Election Commission filing). Rochard said he saw a photo of Santos as a newly elected US lawmaker in a Brazilian news outlet and recognized him. When asked why he decided to post the image he claims to be of her and Santos, he said: “Because I wanted to.”

Rochard, who has described herself as the “RuPaul” of Brazil, said she met Santos when he was “emerging” in the drag world and said she was a mentor to him. She described him as having an “overcome sense of grandeur”, adding that he “lied all the time”.

Rochard’s assertions about Santos, who has positioned himself as a conservative Republican and aligned himself with some of the party’s far-right lawmakers, comes as the GOP has pushed the centuries-old art form into the mainstream. simmering culture war. .

At least six states are considering drag bills that would ban minors from attending drag shows and would seek to classify any business that puts on drag shows as a cabaret or “sexually-oriented business,” according to an NBC News analysis of new legislation targeting LGBTQ rights. and weird life

Among the legislation is a Tennessee bill that would prohibit drag queens from performing on public or private property in the presence of a minor. If enacted, repeat offenders could be charged with a felony and face up to six years in prison.

The anti-LGBTQ legislation also coincides with a recent wave of far-right protests and threats targeting drag events.

Last year, there were at least 141 significant protests and threats targeting drag events in 48 states, according to the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD. And a report from the Crowd Counting Consortium, a public interest and academic project documenting crowds and containment in the US, found a sharp increase in anti-LGBTQ demonstrations over the past two years, with a goal common last year: stamina related events. .

An attorney for Santos did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment on the congressman’s stance on proposed policies related to drag performances. In a previous interview, Santos told NBC News that he sees no contradiction between his identity as a gay man and his party’s political stances, saying, “I’ve never experienced discrimination in the Republican Party.”

Questions about Santos’ biography first arose Dec. 19, when The New York Times published an explosive investigation that questioned whether he fabricated aspects of his education, employment history and finances. Santos later admitted to “beautifying” his grades and apologized for doing so.

Since then, Democratic lawmakers, as well as several Republicans, have called for Santos’ resignation.

kate santaliz Y Olympia Sonnier contributed.

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