Deputy George Santos denies being a drag queen

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The embattled Republican Representative George Santos, RN.Y., said allegations that he performed as a drag queen are “categorically false.” Her denial comes shortly after a Brazilian drag queen shares an image of her and another transvestite on social media, which she identified as the newly elected congresswoman.

“The latest media obsession that I’m a drag queen or ‘acted’ like a drag queen is categorically false,” said Santos, who has made 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 to deliver results.”

Last week, Brazilian drag queen Eula Rochard posted an image on Facebook and Instagram of herself with a person wearing a red feathered dress, bright red lipstick and dangling earrings. Rochard, who is identified as Eula Rorard in the photo, claims that the other person dressed in drag went by the stage name Kitara Ravache and is, in fact, Santos.

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

NBC News has not independently verified images posted to Rochard’s social media accounts, which she said originally appeared in a Brazilian newspaper in 2008. As of Thursday afternoon, the images were circulating widely on social media and news sites. .

Journalist João Fragah told NBC News that he interviewed Kitara Ravache in an exchange captured on video.

Fragah said he was very confident that Santos was the person he interviewed and was the same person in the photos Rochard shared. However, the journalist noted that the interview was done a long time ago.

Fragah said the artist was “putting names out” and trying to get media attention when the interview took place.

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 went through several combinations of the name George Anthony Devolder Santos, the full name listed in a 2019 Federal Election Commission file). Rochard said he saw a photo of Santos as a newly elected US lawmaker on a Brazilian news outlet and recognized him. Asked why she decided to post the image she claims is of herself and Santos, she said: “Because I wanted to.”

Rochard, who has described himself as the “RuPaul” of Brazil, said she met Santos when he was “coming out” in drag and said she was a mentor to him. She described him as having an “outgrown sense of grandeur” and added that “he lied all the time”.

Rochard’s allegations about Santos, who has positioned himself as a conservative Republican and aligned himself with some of the party’s far-right lawmakers, come as the GOP pushes the secular cross-dressing art form to the center of a simmering culture war. . .

Representative George Santos, R.N.Y., leaves the Capitol after a January 12 vote.Samuel Corum / Sipa USA via AP file

At least six states are considering bills this period that would prohibit minors from attending drag performances and seek to classify any business that features drag shows as a cabaret or a “sexual orientation business,” according to an analysis by NBC News. on new legislation aimed at LGBTQ rights. and strange 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 can be charged with a crime and face up to six years in prison.

The anti-LGBTQ legislation also coincides with a recent spate of far-right protests and threats directed at drag events.

Last year, there were at least 141 protests and significant threats against drag events in 48 states, according to LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD. And a report by the Crowd Counting Consortium, an academic and public interest project that documents crowds and disputes across the US, found a sharp increase in anti-LGBTQ demonstrations over the past two years, with a common target this past year being drag-related events.

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

Questions about Santos’ biography first arose on Dec. 19, when the New York Times published a bombshell investigation into whether he forged aspects of his education, work history and finances. Santos later admitted to having “embellished” his qualifications and apologized for doing so.

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

Kate Santalize, Olympia Sonnier and Chantal Da Silva contributed.

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