Main | Saturday, May 03, 2014

NORTH CAROLINA: Anti-Gay GOP State Senate Candidate Is Former Drag Queen

North Carolina GOP state Senate candidate Steve Wiles is campaigning on a platform in support of his state's ban on same-sex marriage. What he is not campaigning on is that he once performed in a Winston-Salem gay nightclub as Miss Mona Sinclair.
Wiles, 34, was in his early 20s when he worked at the now-defunct nightclub, Club Odyssey, according to co-owner Randy Duggins and former employee Gray Tomlinson. “He is Mona Sinclair,” Duggins said, referring to Wiles’ female persona. Wiles’ responses over the past three weeks have ranged from categorical denial to tacit admission. “I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young,” Wiles said this week, declining to clarify for what he has apologized. The comment was made in the last of three separate interviews. At first, Wiles denied the claim. “That’s not me,” Wiles said three weeks ago, referring to Mona Sinclair. Wiles responded “no” when asked whether he was gay. This week, Wiles’ campaign website, Facebook page and Twitter handle were taken down.
The Winston-Salem Journal notes that Wiles not only served as Club Odyssey's drag show emcee in 2001 and 2002, he was a promoter of the 2011 Miss Gay America pageant until he was suspended for "conduct unbecoming the pageant." A pageant official has declined to disclose what that conduct was. In 2012 Wiles stumped for the successful passage of Amendment One, which enshrined anti-gay bigotry into the state constitution. While his campaign website has been taken down, his personal Facebook page is full of Tea Party rants about gun rights and includes several photos of Wiles posing with notoriously homophobic Rep. Virginia Foxx at a "Taking Back Our Freedom" rally. 
(Tipped by JMG reader Rob)

UPDATE: This afternoon Wiles posted a message on his Facebook page.
I'm sure many of you saw my glowing recommendation in the Winston Salem Journal - I'd like to apologize to everyone because, unlike the currently appointed NC Senator in District 31, I made mistakes. My job was embarrassing - I had to have a job! Nobody died, leaving me a millionaire capable of living in North Carolina's most expensive neighborhood. One thing I will say, I learned from my mistakes - the Republican party, under the leadership of Scott Cumbie who threatened me with my past if I ran against an incumbent Republican, seem intent to fight within the party and join in the fight with every bigot and racist they can find. I understand the gay community does not share my support for the Marriage Amendment - I RESPECT THAT and am very happy to discuss my views with any of my friends in the Democrat party and gay community. Meanwhile, I regret the fact that something so trivial would cloud an otherwise decent campaign....What more could be expected though? When policy fails, attacks begin.

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