LGBTQ+ leaders react to drag show cancellation at Nellis Air Force Base
By Jaewon Jung,2023-06-02
A third annual drag show scheduled to take place June 1 at Nellis Air Force base was abruptly shut down by the Pentagon Wednesday.
Those in the LGBTQ+ community said the decision is disappointing.
"When politics gets brought into social issues, things start to happen and usually it's not good," said Brian Hosier, chief operating officer at The Center.
The Center is a Las Vegas based organization providing resources for the local LGBTQ+ community.
Hosier said he's disheartened the drag show was canceled at the start of National Pride Month.
"Unfortunately in the last couple of years in this country, this environment on the national level, the marginalized are easy targets," Hosier said.
The annual show recognizes the importance of LGBTQ+ service members and civilian personnel.
The Department of Defense press secretary Sabrina Singh said in a statement:
“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 inconsistent with regulations regarding the use of DoD resources. We are proud to serve alongside any and every young American who takes the oath that puts their life on the line in defense of our country. Service members and their families are often involved in a host of special interest activities related to their personal hobbies, beliefs, and backgrounds.”
Brady McGill, president of Las Vegas Pride, said there are a lot of misconceptions about drag and he invites the community to attend their drag events.
"Drag is an art form and it's entertainment just like any other entertainment you would find at any bar in the world," McGill said. "Every month we have our Las Vegas pride family bingo event that includes family friendly events, drag queen hosts. It's been going on for over 10 years and we've never had any issues. We've never had any complaints. We've never had any concerns about appropriateness."
A spokesperson for Nellis Air Force Base said, "The base commander originally approved the event. The Air Force received new guidance from the Department of Defense that required the change."