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My Strange Relationship With Nate Schatzline
Uncomfortable Pictures, Evangelical Pastors, Twitter Faux Pas, And Awkward Mistakes: This Story Has Them All.
This week a Republican called me a bully. Not just any Republican but a sitting member of the Texas State House. This particular Republican are I are developing a strange relationship that may end in my ultimate smiting. Our relationship is getting a little weird, so it’s time to clear the air.
One of my core values is the belief that racism, homophobia, and bigotry are wrong. Standing up for others who are targets of hate and discrimination is an important and moral obligation. We have to speak up and actively support those who are marginalized, discriminated against, or oppressed. We must create a culture where hate is not tolerated, and everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
(This is when Republicans sarcastically chime in with, “The tolerant left.”)
See, the right doesn’t seem to understand that while tolerance is about accepting and respecting differences, it doesn’t mean we should accept bad behavior or allow harm to be done to others. In fact, tolerance should be accompanied by an unwavering commitment to justice and equality. Our responsibility, as a society, is to actively promote a culture of tolerance and respect while holding accountable those who perpetuate bigotry and hate.
It all started in Keller.
A few months back, after Keller elected three new Conservatives to their School Board, they promptly banned all books which depicted or referenced transgender and nonbinary people. An action that caused the ACLU to file an immediate suit as Keller’s policy violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school that receives federal funding.
Seeing characters in books with similar identities and experiences can help LGBTQ students feel validated, understood, and less alone. It can also help cisgender students develop empathy and understanding for transgender and nonbinary people, reducing the likelihood of bullying and discrimination. Additionally, reading about diverse experiences can broaden students’ perspectives and knowledge of the world, promoting acceptance and inclusion of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.
Why did these Conservative Board Members of Keller ISD want to:
Make LGBTQ children feel alone, misunderstood, and isolated?
Increase bullying and discrimination against LGBTQ children?
Make schools less inclusive?
The actions of the Keller ISD will directly harm LGBTQ children. There are no positive outcomes of their decision. The only thing that they did was give comfort to bigots and homophobes.
Soon after Keller’s destructive new policy, I was casually watching their board meeting, and low and behold, during public comments, newly-elected Republican Representative Nate Schatzline mosied up to the podium to tell the Board, “Thank you.”
Can you imagine seeing a group of adults doing something to harm an already marginalized group and telling them you were proud?
Here’s when things start getting weird.
I commented to Schatzline on Twitter about his skinny jeans at the ISD meeting. Unfortunately, he took it wrong and thought I was hitting on him. Now, don’t get me wrong. Nate Schatzline is a very pretty man. He has long, luscious eyelashes, and his teeth sparkle when he smiles, but the vibe I felt wasn’t a heterosexual one. My gaydar was going off like a five-alarm fire.
Then I was put in the awkward position of trying to explain to him that the comment about his skinny jeans wasn’t a come-on. He blocked me.
I wanted to know more about this man living in my county and working in my government.
Soon after, I wrote House Rep Deep Dive: Who Is Nate Schatzline?
We’re all human. Even Nate Schatzline. Even me. I made a mistake that week, owned up to it, and tried to correct it, but it led to more weirdness.
During my “deep dive” into his family’s social media, I found several uncomfortable photos.
In recent years, there has been a debate among psychologists about kissing children on the lips. Some people see kissing on the lips as an intimate action between romantic partners and should never be done with a child. While I realize there are celebrities and everyday people who post pictures of themselves kissing their child on the lips on social media, it’s still seen as very controversial.
The pictures I found were of Schatzline kissing his much younger relative; another picture showed them lying down, hugging in a bed.
While Schatzline’s relative is no longer a minor, they were a minor in those pictures, and when I shared them on Twitter, I was thinking about their age today, not then. I was called out on it and promptly deleted it. That was my mistake, and it wasn’t done to hurt anyone but to show the hypocrisy of Shatzline, who claimed to want to protect children. Though the pictures were not exploitative or sexually explicit, they were still very uncomfortable.
That’s when Shatzline’s dad and wealthy evangelical pastor messaged me.
Many years ago, I got into an argument with a friend of a family member on Facebook. Y’all remember the old Facebook days when we tried to talk to the right instead of just blocking them? Well, it was back then. The argument was over LGBTQ rights, and you already know which side I was on. It was also public, so dozens of people could see the discussion, and several chimed in.
Anyway, this old bigotted boomer was losing the argument and called me a “bitch.” That’s when my mom jumped in on the conversation and told him to leave me alone. Now mind you, I was grown then, with my own children. I didn’t ask her to do it, but she did. Then this old bigot posted about how “my mommy was coming to save me.” It didn’t help my argument.
That experience is why I didn’t tell my followers about Shatzline’s dad contacting me. Y’all know that I usually tell you everything about my interactions with these Republicans, but this is one interaction I skipped. I love my followers, but I knew if I told you, everyone would make fun of Nate Schatzline for his “daddy coming to save him.” It didn’t seem productive then, but I’ll tell you now.
Daddy Schatzline basically said that they were prepared for negative attention when Nate ran for office, but they never imagined it would have been this bad (referring to House Rep Deep Dive: Who Is Nate Schatzline?). He called me vile but said he’s a Christian and supposed to love everyone, so he’ll pray for me instead.
Come to find out, because of me, Daddy Schatzline deleted his entire Facebook page.
It was weird. I’ve exposed a lot of Republicans for a lot of things, but no one’s parent spazzed out the way that Daddy Schatzline did. In fact, I’m sure it’s probably been over 20 years since the last time someone else’s parents scolded me. Typically, when I put out information about a Republican, they ignore me (sometimes they block me), but Daddy Schatzline couldn’t let it go and had to tell me how he felt.
Anyway, I let it go and moved on with my life. And then, the legislative session started. I’m watching and reading bills daily, and I see Schatzline filed a bill targeting the transgender community.
What does Nate Schatzline’s bill say?
HB 1266 changes the definition of a sexually oriented business. In this bill, any business that allows a “drag performance” in their establishment would now have to reclassify themselves as a “sexually oriented business.” But look at how he defined “drag performance:”
A performance in which a performer exhibits a gender identity different from the gender assigned a birth. This bill targets transgender people.
If a coffee shop allowed a transgender person to sing on open mic night, they would have to be reclassified as a sexually oriented business. Likewise, if a theater company put on Shakespeare, they would have to reclassify it as a sexually oriented business. In addition, events that feature non-professional performers or those who do not identify as transgender could be affected by this bill, as it is based on the performer’s gender presentation rather than their actual gender identity.
Bills like HB 1266 harm the LGBTQ community by perpetuating discrimination and stigmatization against transgender individuals. It implies that the transgender community is somehow deviant or abnormal, and it could lead to further discrimination against them. Additionally, the bill’s reclassification of businesses that allow drag performances as sexually oriented businesses could have severe economic consequences for these businesses, potentially leading to job losses and financial hardships. Such bills only promote intolerance and bigotry and further marginalize an already vulnerable community.
You can imagine my surprise when someone sent me a video of Nate Schatzline performing a skit in a dress.
To be clear, this video was sent to me, I did not go and seek it out. Although, it’s easy to understand why Schatzline believed I did, which is why he responded, “Michelle, please find something better to do than look up old videos from when people were in school.”
I posted the video on Twitter and TikTok, and it went viral. National media has picked it up; everyone knows what a hypocrite Nate Schatzline is. Under his own bill, the park he and his friends were at during the video would now be classified as a sexually oriented park, and kids would never be allowed to visit again.
And Schatzline couldn’t help but respond once again. The sensible thing would have been to ignore it until it fizzled out, but by constantly responding, he’s making it seem like he has something to hide.
His response was how he wore a dress for a class project because his buddy dared him. Republicans on Twitter have been flooding my posts and saying that “liberals can’t tell the difference” and “it was innocent fun.”
But we can tell the difference, and we don’t care if it was innocent fun or if Schatzline is wearing a bra under his clothes every time he walks on the House floor. It is about his targeting and purposeful discrimination of the LGBTQ community and children.
Nate Schatzline's bill is just one of the many vile pieces of legislation proposed by the Texas Legislature to harm marginalized communities. We must remain vigilant and fight against all forms of discrimination and bigotry. As a society, we must actively promote a culture of tolerance and respect and hold those who perpetuate hate accountable for their actions. We cannot allow lawmakers like Schatzline to get away with their blatant targeting and discrimination of the LGBTQ community and children. We must continue to challenge and confront their hateful behavior until justice prevails.