U.S. Rep. George Santos is denying claims by sources in Brazil that he competed as a drag queen in beauty pageants there 15 years ago.
Reuters reported that the claims came from two people said to be acquaintances of the openly gay Republican congressional freshman.
Santos has alredy faced calls from fellow New York Republicans to step down over fabrications about his career and history.
A 58-year-old Brazilian performer, who uses the drag name Eula Rochard, said 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. Three years later, Santos competed in a drag beauty pageant in Rio, Rochard claimed.
Another person from Niteroi who claimed to know the 34-year-old congressman but asked not to be named said he participated in drag queen beauty pageants and aspired to be Miss Gay Rio de Janeiro.
The congressman said on Twitter on Thursday that claims "that I am a drag Queen or 'performed' as a drag Queen" are "categorically false," adding: "I will not be distracted nor fazed by this."
Santos is the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat in Congress as a non-incumbent, but has positioned himself as a staunch conservative on many social issues.
He has backed Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Republicans are increasingly denouncing drag shows and performers as harmful to children.
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."
Rochard said the congressman was a "poor" drag queen in 2005, with a simple black dress, but in 2008 "he came back to Niteroi with a lot of money," and a flamboyant pink dress to show for it. Santos competed in a drag beauty pageant that year using the drag name Kitara Ravache but lost, Rochard said.
"He's changed a lot, but he was always a liar. He was always such a dreamer," Rochard said.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.
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