Pentagon cracks down on drag shows at military bases

The Pentagon will no longer allow shows involving drag artists to be held at military installations, a spokesperson said Thursday, enforcing a longstanding policy amid growing pressure from Republican lawmakers to reverse the practice.

Drag shows on military bases have been a controversial topic in recent months as part of a broader push by some Republican lawmakers who say personnel policies, including diversity training and citizenship education racial justice, divert attention from war fighting and undermine recruiting efforts.

“According to the Joint DoD Ethics Regulations (JER), certain criteria must be met in order for individuals or organizations acting in a non-federal capacity to use DoD facilities and equipment,” the spokeswoman said. Pentagon, Sabrina Singh, in a press release. [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin] said, the DoD will not hold drag events at U.S. military facilities or facilities. Hosting these types of events at federally funded facilities is not an appropriate use of DOD resources.

This has been long-standing DoD policy, but it hasn’t always been applied at lower levels, Singh said. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, recently told lawmakers he was unaware of the events unfolding.

Service members “are diverse and are allowed to have personal outlets,” Singh added.

On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Pentagon leaders had canceled a drag show to celebrate Pride Month at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday.

The cancellation of the event marked the first time the Defense Ministry’s top leadership has enforced the policy, according to a Defense Ministry official who was granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.

Military commanders had previously authorized the use of DoD facilities to host drag events. For example, Yeoman 3rd Class Joshua Kelley performed in drag as “Harpy Daniels” while serving on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan from 2016 to 2018.

These events had been sanctioned by the department’s Morale, Welfare and Readiness Policy, designed to boost morale and provide troops with a break from daily duties.

Nellis hosted its first drag show on June 17, 2021, telling Breitbart at the time that the event was sponsored by a private organization, Nellis Top 3.

The crackdown comes after House and Senate Republicans this spring questioned Pentagon leaders about happenings at military installations and called on Austin to shut them down.

At a March House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) pressed Austin and Milley about “hours of drag queen history” at bases around the world.

In response, Austin told lawmakers that “drag queen story hours are not something the department funds.

Milley said he was unaware of such events and does not support them taking place on military bases.

“I would like to take a look at it, because I disagree with those,” he said.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who is holding back hundreds of high-ranking military promotions over the Pentagon’s abortion travel policy, also expressed outrage at the issue, sending a May letter to the chief Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday ask for the names of the officers “responsible for funding and promoting drag queen performances aboard warships.”

And House Republicans sent a letter to Austin in May asking him to “end” to drag events in the army.

“We should focus on deterring China and other adversaries, not drag shows, which do nothing to improve our deterrence and combat capabilities,” the lawmakers wrote.

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