Representative George Santos, the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat in Congress as a non-incumbent, has recently been the center of controversy after accusations surfaced that he competed as a drag queen in Brazilian beauty pageants 15 years ago. These allegations, made by two acquaintances of the congressman, have drawn criticism of his staunchly conservative views.
The 58-year-old Brazilian performer, who uses the drag name Eula Rochard, claims that she befriended the now-congressman when he was cross-dressing in 2005 at the first gay pride parade in Niteroi, a Rio de Janeiro suburb. Rochard also said that three years later, Santos competed in a drag beauty pageant in Rio. Another person from Niteroi who knew the 34-year-old congressman but asked not to be named also said that he participated in drag queen beauty pageants and aspired to be Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro.
The congressman has denied the claims and has also faced calls from fellow New York Republicans to step down over fabrications about his career and history. In a tweet, Santos stated that the claims that he is a drag queen or “performed” as a drag queen are “categorically false.”
However, these accusations raise questions about the congressman’s true beliefs and values. As a staunch conservative, Santos has positioned himself as an opponent of the LGBTQ+ community, supporting Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill, which prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. Republicans have increasingly denounced drag shows and performers, claiming they are harmful to children.
It is not uncommon for individuals to have a complex and evolving understanding of their own identity, and it is possible that Santos may have had a different perspective on his sexuality and gender expression in the past. However, it is important to consider the impact of his actions and statements on marginalized communities.
Santos, responding in October to criticism of his support for the “don’t say gay” bill, told USA Today: “I am openly gay, have never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade, and I can tell you and assure you, I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ folks.”
But being an advocate for LGBTQ+ folks is not just about stating one’s sexual orientation, it’s about actively working towards creating a society that is inclusive and equitable for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It is essential for our elected officials to hold themselves accountable for their actions and the impact they have on marginalized communities.
As a representative of the people, it is imperative that George Santos addresses these accusations and clarifies his stance on LGBTQ+ rights. The American public deserves to know the truth about their representative and to have faith in the integrity of their elected officials.