Anti-Marriage GOP Candidate Was Once A Drag Queen Named Mona Sinclair

Steve WilesIt’s not surprising when a Republican opposes marriage equality. It is, though, when the Republican once was a drag queen who entertained under the name Mona Sinclair.

Steve Wiles is now a 34-year-old realtor in Belews Creek, NC, seeking the Republican nomination for a state senate seat. But starting in the late 1990s, Wiles was a fixture at the Odyssey, an LGBT club, according to the Winston-Salem JournalThere, Wiles performed as Mona Sinclair. In fact, Wiles eventually emceed the shows and book performers for it.

“I recognized his picture when I was looking in the paper. That’s definitely him. He has aged some, but that’s him,” Randy Duggins, the co-owner of the Odyssey, told the paper. “I have no ax to grind against him. I just think he’s a liar.”

The liar part relates to Wiles’ opposition to marriage equality. Wiles was once a Democrat, voting in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. By 2012, he was a Republican, campaigning for the state’s anti-marriage equality amendment. For someone politically ambitious with flexible principles, the move was a natural, since the GOP has come to dominate the state political apparatus.

Wiles was also less than forthcoming about his mascara’d past. He repeatedly denied to the Journal that he was Mona Simpson. He was even confronted about the rumors last year by the county GOP chairman, denying it to him as well. Finally nailed by the paper, Wiles issued a non-explanation.

“I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young,” Wiles said. He just never said what “the things” were.

In a subsequent interview with Business Insider, Wiles was somewhat more transparent. “For me, from a religious standpoint, just for my life, for me, it just was not something that I wanted to continue,” Wiles said. “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.”

Queerty also discovered a few more details that Wiles would probably prefer not to share. It wasn’t just a drag show that Mona hosted. It also include male strippers. 

And Wiles would have you believe that his past was well past. It it not. Queerty found that as late as 2011, Mona Sinclair was still entertaining, at the Miss North Carolina Entertainer of the Year show. That’s the same year Wiles was banned from the Miss Gay America Pageant system for “conduct unbecoming to a promoter”–another story waiting to be told.


A webpage for the now-defunct Odyssey talks praises Mona for her “wit and caddy [sic] humor.” It will come in handy now.

Business Insider asked Wiles point blank if he was an ex-gay, Wiles refused to answer. “No, no, I really wont make any comments on that,” he said.

Perhaps that’s a question that Mona would be able to answer.

BTW, if anyone has a picture of Mona, we would love to see it.

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