Speed Reads


Club owner: State Senate candidate against gay marriage was a drag queen


If you're a candidate for state senate in a conservative district and have a skeleton in the closet, make sure that skeleton's not a drag queen named Miss Mona Sinclair.

Randy Duggins, co-owner of the now-closed Club Odyssey in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and a former club employee both told the Winston-Salem Journal that Steve Wiles, now competing in a Republican primary in North Carolina's Senate District 31, worked at the gay club as a female impersonator for a few years in the early 2000s. Before becoming Miss Mona Sinclair, he was a frequent patron of the club. "I recognized his picture when I was looking in the paper," Duggins said. "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."

Wiles was a vocal backer of the state's 2012 constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, the Winston-Salem Journal says, and has denied being gay. "I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young," he said, without elaborating. Wiles has told multiple people that he was never a female impersonator, and while his opponents are not discussing publicly this new revelation, an attack ad has run on a social media website, the Winston-Salem Journal said.

Correction: This article originally included a tweet with a photo showing the wrong drag queen. It has since been removed. We apologize for the error.