Tim James, an Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate, made headlines after he attacked a school for hosting a drag show. He was swiftly accused of hypocrisy after a photo from his high school yearbook showed James participating in his own school drag show.
James, in a recent speech to the North Shelby County Republican Women, accused LGBTQ+-friendly charter school Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA) of engaging in "transgenderism" to "indoctrinate" and "groom" young children.
He even used photos of the school, including students there, in his campaign ads and pledged, if elected, to close an "affirming school with teachers and faculty who three weeks ago put on a drag show in front of the children at the school," an activity he called "abuse."
Naturally, James' remarks prompted journalists to look into his own past.
Unsurprisingly given GOP politicians' track records, hypocrisy on the part of James was discovered. His high school yearbook is available online and in it is a photograph of James participating in his school's tradition of having football players dress in drag before games against rival teams.
James is pictured next to his fellow football players in drag at a school assembly or "drag show."
James is in the white shirt and cowboy hat second from the right.
Baylor School Yearbook/classmates.com
The photograph–and the story behind it–were first publicized by Kyle Whitmire, a columnist for the Alabama Media Group.
In his column, Whitmire describes James as "the sort of character a lazy writer might come up with," adding:
"But he’s real: A lumbering former Auburn football player and son of a former governor fighting for folks to take him seriously."
"So it only seems prudent that if you’re going to crusade against kids in school laughing as their teachers hammed it up in drag… Well, you might want to look back at your own high school yearbook first."
Whitmire notes it was not uncommon for football players at the Baylor School, an all-boys prep school in Chattanooga, Tennessee to "trade their jerseys and helmets for dresses and wigs and put on a show."
But when called out on it, James had the following response:
“This is ridiculous. This is a football team. Yeah, that’s me in the cowboy hat, isn’t it?”
He also rejected any suggestion he was being hypocritical, calling his decision to dress up for his school's drag tradition and MCAA's drag show "two different things and you know it."
But others are not so convinced and were quick to criticize James for his hypocrisy.
James is no stranger to Republican politics.
He previously sought and lost the Republican Party nomination for Governor of Alabama twice, finishing third in the Republican primaries in both 2002 and 2010.
He has been described as an "extreme conservative" for his political positions against LGBTQ+ acceptance. James has also been criticized for his harsh stance against COVID-19 vaccines and is himself unvaccinated.