Lawmaker Calling for Bans on Public Drag Performances Appears to Have Performed in Drag Publicly

A recently surfaced video appears to show freshman state Rep. Nate Schatzline (R-Fort Worth) wearing a dress while dancing in a park. In the 88th Legislature, Schatzline has filed HB 1266, which would effectively ban public drag shows. 

The bill would amend Texas Business and Commerce code such that any venue that hosts drag performances would be classified as a “sexually oriented business,” which would restrict individuals less than 18 years of age from entering the premises of these businesses. The bill would also impose a $5 tax for every individual who enters the business.

The bill defines drag broadly as a “performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity that is different than the performer’s gender assigned at birth … and sings, lip-syncs, dances, or otherwise performs before an audience for entertainment.” Schatzline’s alleged public dance through the park while wearing a dress would seemingly be banned by his own bill.

Schatzline’s bill — and the recently surfaced video — come at a time when the Legislature is also fielding bills that attack LBTQIA+ students and censor curriculum and school libraries. As established at our union’s last biennial convention in 2021, Texas AFT stands against all attempts to discriminate against students, educators, and LGBTQIA+ Texans. 

In a video posted to Schatzline’s Twitter account, the representative seems to admit to the authenticity of the video but goes on to claim the “left-wing media” twisted the story. According to Schatzline, his performance in the video was a part of a class project and a dare from his friends.