Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are reported to have ordered Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to cancel a drag show that was to be held on base Thursday to mark the start of “Pride” month. The ‘family friendly’ drag show being held for the third year in a row at the base. Orders were to cancel the show or relocate it off base.
The move comes two months after Austin and Milley told Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at a Congressional hearing they did not approve of drag queen story hours military bases.
Gaetz called out Milley and Austin this month when a ‘cry for help’ was posted about the Nellis drag show.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 19, 2023
Drag shows should not be taking place on military installations with taxpayer dollars PERIOD, especially when they’re openly targeting children to attend.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 23, 2023
NBC News was first to report the Pentagon’s orders (excerpt):
Pentagon leaders have stepped in to stop a drag show scheduled for Thursday at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, according to two defense officials and a U.S. official.
The show, which was in celebration of Pride Month, was approved by Air Force leaders, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Air Force it is not Defense Department policy to fund drag shows on bases and the show should be canceled or moved off base.
Drag shows and events on military bases have become a politically contentious issue in recent months, with conservative politicians and pundits arguing the military should not be spending taxpayer money on them.
…“Consistent with Secretary Austin’s congressional testimony, the Air Force will not host drag events at its installations or facilities. Commanders have been directed to either cancel or relocate these events to an off-base location,” an Air Force official said when asked about the Nellis event.
“Per DoD Joint Ethics Regulation (JER), certain criteria must be met for persons or organizations acting in non-Federal capacity to use DoD facilities and equipment. 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,” deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said in a statement.
After the March hearing, Gaetz gave Milley documents on drag shows at bases:
Gen. Milley asked @RepMattGaetz to give him the articles the congressman referenced on drag queen story hours and shows on military bases, claiming he was unaware of them.
Here is a photo of Gaetz taken by his staff of him physically handing Milley a folder of the articles… pic.twitter.com/5CJmPt5oL8
— Kristina Wong (@kristina_wong) March 30, 2023
The person who posted the cry for help said tweeted Wednesday night and thanked the members of Congress who stepped up, but it appears Nellis still has “Pride” events scheduled for June that target children.
From the Nellis Air Force Base LGBTQ+ Pride Council:
“We have received notification that the DoD has directed commanders not to host drag events on military installations.”
— Matt Lohmeier (@matthewlohmeier) June 1, 2023
Gaetz declared victory, “HUGE VICTORY: The Department of Defense has CANCELED a scheduled “child-friendly” drag show after I demanded answers from @SecDef Austin and General Milley! Drag shows should not be taking place on military installations with taxpayer dollars PERIOD!”
HUGE VICTORY: The Department of Defense has CANCELED a scheduled “child-friendly” drag show after I demanded answers from @SecDef Austin and General Milley!
Drag shows should not be taking place on military installations with taxpayer dollars PERIOD!
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 31, 2023