Pentagon Cancels ‘Family-Friendly’ Drag Show at Nevada Military Base

Naveen Athrappully
By Naveen Athrappully
June 1, 2023USshare
Pentagon Cancels ‘Family-Friendly’ Drag Show at Nevada Military Base
A sign near the main gate of Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas on April 3, 2020. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A pride show set to be held at an American military base was canceled after a Republican lawmaker questioned using taxpayer dollars for drag events.

The Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada has been hosting drag events since 2021. This year, the show was scheduled for Thursday and was billed as “family-friendly,” with no minimum age requirement. However, the show was canceled.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz wrote in a June 1 post on Twitter: “HUGE VICTORY: The Department of Defense has CANCELED a scheduled ‘child-friendly’ drag show after I demanded answers from SecDef Austin and General Milley!”

The cancelation of the drag event comes only a week after Gaetz had raised the issue of “DoD’s pervasive and persistent use of taxpayer dollars for drag events” in a May 23 letter (pdf) to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Earlier on March 29, Austin was asked by Gaetz during a House Armed Service Committee hearing as to whether drag performances and story hours were seen as an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money, to which the defense secretary admitted that it was not.

The Nellis base drag show was set to feature RuPaul’s Drag Race star CoCo Montrese. The event would have been the third annual drag show conducted at the base. According to the Department of Defense (DoD), the show was canceled due to a reported violation of ethics regulations.

“Per DoD Joint Ethics Regulation, certain criteria must be met for persons or organizations acting in non-Federal capacity to use DoD facilities and equipment,” deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said in a statement, according to NBC.

“As Secretary Austin has said, the DOD will not host drag events at U.S. military installations or facilities. Hosting these types of events in federally funded facilities is not a suitable use of DOD resources.”

Taxpayer Money for Drag Events

Gaetz’s May 23 letter highlighted six pride events that were proposed at various bases—five of them in the United States and the remaining one at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

“I find it completely unacceptable that DoD is using taxpayer dollars to fund DEI programs that are divisive in nature. DoD resources should be used for mission-essential operations, not diverted toward initiatives that create cultural fissures within our service ranks,” the letter said.

Gaetz asked several questions about the nature of these shows, including “clarification on whether any punitive action has or will be taken against individuals who facilitated drag events with taxpayer dollars.”

Despite canceling the Nellis base event, the defense department continues to recognize June as Pride month, it said in a May 31 press release (pdf).

“The Department will continue its efforts to embrace a work culture focused on enhancing operational effectiveness, expanding talent pools to meet future warfighting capabilities, and promoting the best-qualified individuals regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” it said.

Canceling Ramstein Drag Show

A children’s storytime hour program featuring a drag queen that was scheduled for June 2 at the Ramstein Air Base was also canceled after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, asking that he prohibit a “public-funded propaganda.”

“I urge you to immediately cancel this politically divisive event and take appropriate disciplinary action against all involved in allowing this gross abuse of taxpayer funding to place children in a sexualized environment,” the May 26 letter said.

The senator insisted that decisions over children and their bodies must be left to their fathers and mothers who are serving the nation.

Rubio pointed out that military bases were for warfighting while the amenities at these bases, like libraries and schools, were to support the needs of service members and their families.

“On installations outside the continental United States, these amenities play an even more central role in the life of our service members and their families,” Rubio said. “In light of this, it is completely insane for Ramstein [Air Base] to use on-installation resources for rituals like ‘Drag Queen Story Time.’”

From The Epoch Times

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