A Republican who campaigned for North Carolina’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban once worked as a drag queen, it has emerged.
Steve Wiles, who is currently running for state senate, campaigned in favour of North Carolina’s constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012.
However, according to reports the 34-year-old once worked as drag queen ‘Mona Sinclair’ at former venue Club Odyssey in the late 1990s, and early 2000s.
He also worked for the Miss Gay America competition, but was suspended for “conduct unbecoming to a promoter”.
He told Business Insider: “For me, from a religious standpoint, just for my life, for me, it just was not something that I wanted to continue.
“Of course it was an embarrassment, but you know, you move on. You live life, and you change, and you make yourself what you want yourself to be. And that’s where I am now.”
When asked whether he considered himself an ‘ex-gay’, he said: “No, no, I really wont make any comments on that.”
He also claimed his past as a drag queen does not change his views about marriage, saying: “I don’t really understand how you can separate the fact that marriage is a religious institution. I do not condone the things I did when I was young.”
Club Odyssey’s co-owner Randy Duggins told the Winston-Salem Journal that Wiles had been a frequent patron at the club.
He said: “I recognized his picture when I was looking in the paper.
“That’s definitely him. He has aged some, but that’s him.
“I have no ax to grind against him. I just think he’s a liar.
“Why would you want to get into that knowing your past? He’s a hypocrite.”
Wiles’ campaign website, Twitter and Facebook have all been shut down, and Todd Poole, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, declined to comment about his candidacy.