For a television weather forecaster, the weather has become quite a burden; actually, the meteorologist dressed in drag. To celebrate Gay Pride Month, ABC Australia weather presenter Nate Byrne decided to leave his conservative appearance on the air to take on the role of Gail Warnings, his drag namesake who Twitter users voted on.
Viewers knew something was up on June 13 when Byrne posted a hypothetical poll to Twitter asking, “If … a certain dimpled weather presenter needed a drag name, what would be the best?” The name ” Gail Warnings” rose to the top of the vote with 4,199 votes cast; Misty Showers was a close second while Miss Thunder Stood and Summer Storms rounded out the list. Bryne also took to Twitter to explain that he was also considering Nina Floods, Philma Oceans, Sultry Knight, Icee Winters, Dawn Oak, Amber Syke and Beck Byrne.
The News Breakfast meteorologist documented the transformation on his social media channels as well as in a segment for the morning news show he is a part of. Byrne spoke about the challenges of going from male to female and the extensive makeup used to introduce Gail Warnings to the world. During a segment that aired on News Breakfast, Byrne thanked Valerie Hex, the drag alter ego of James Wellsby, an MC at Melbourne’s Yummy Cabaret, for assisting with the character and circus performer Jarred Dewey for helping him , to complete the development from man to man woman.
Not every viewer was grateful for the transformation, however. “No news not interesting it’s actually pretty gross,” one viewer wrote on Twitter, to which Byrne replied, “lol…I thought Gail was good but ‘disgusting’? Yaaaaaas! Great praise.”
Byrne is no stranger to criticism of alternative lifestyles. In 2020, Byrne appeared on ABC’s first ever carnival float at the Melbourne, Australia parade. Byrne joined ABC makeup artist Kerrie Stanley and presenters Patricia Karvelas, Annabel Crabb and Fran Kelly on ABC’s float. Sporting shiny silver shoes, rainbow socks and a touch of glitter around his eyes, the morning meteorologist shared waves and smiles with the crowd that had gathered for the event. Not everyone was pleased; One viewer took to Twitter to write to the meteorologist: “Poofter now you know why I won’t watch News Breakfast! This is a very sick world to live in.” Byrne responded, “It IS a sick world we live in — one where that kind of unproven hate is still on the horizon.” Byrne’s role in the parade became however, considered praiseworthy by more people. @SharpShard wrote on Twitter: “Glad to see you so free and happy. Yes to Australia, which encompasses the full spectrum of people and our differences, because at heart we are all the same.”
Byrne joined ABC in March 2017 as the weather presenter for the News Breakfast program. Prior to his television job, Byrne earned a Masters of Science in Communication from the Australian National University. Byrne spent most of his career in the military: he spent more than 12 years as a naval officer, a naval warfare officer and a Maritime Geospatial Officer dealing with both meteorology and oceanography for the Royal Australian Navy. Along the way, he also earned a postgraduate certificate in meteorology from the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian equivalent of the National Weather Service.
In 2017, Bryne penned an essay describing the value and importance of being a science communicator, writing, “It’s best when your forecast can be both informative and entertaining.” Byrne added that it’s important for a TV weather expert To be an effective communicator who could engage an audience and convey the importance of warnings and severe conditions, Byrne said looks shouldn’t be a factor. He wrote: “I’ll admit that for some stations the weather presenter is really an itinerant entertainment reporter who happens to be reading out the temperatures. For the rest, if you look at it every day, it goes without saying that you will develop a significant understanding of the weather. That’s how we should measure the value of a weather presenter. Not her looks. Not on their clothes. And certainly not on their gender.”