Pentagon 'cancels' drag show at Nellis Air Force Base as Pride Month begins
By KTNV Staff,2023-06-01
The Pentagon ordered the cancelation of a drag show at Nellis Air Force base that was scheduled for the start of Pride Month, multiple news organizations reported Thursday.
The drag show was scheduled for June 1 and was intended to recognize the importance of LGBTQ+ service members and civilian personnel as well as kick off Pride Month, a military official told CNN . The official tells CNN it would have been the third drag show held on the base.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has previously spoken in support of Pride Month in the military, saying in 2021 that "LGBTQ+ citizens have fought to defend our rights and freedoms from the founding of our nation to the Civil War."
However, during a recent congressional hearing, Sec. Austin told legislators that funds from the Department of Defense could not be used to host drag events or shows on military bases.
NBC News was the first to report on the show's cancelation. An Air Force official has since told CNN that commanders at a variety of bases have been directed to "either cancel or relocate these events to an off-base location."
A Pentagon spokeswoman also told CNN that drag shows are "not an appropriate use of U.S. military bases."
"As Sec. Austin has said, the DoD will not host drag events at U.S. military installations or facilities," spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in a statement to CNN. "Hosting these types of events in federally funded facilities is not a suitable use of DoD resources. Our Service members are diverse and are allowed to have personal outlets."
In a statement to Channel 13, Singh said DoD Joint Ethics Regulations require persons and organizations acting in non-federal capacities to meet certain criteria before using DoD facilities and equipment.
"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," her statement continues. "Service members and their families are often involved in a host of special interest activities related to their personal hobbies, beliefs, and backgrounds.”
In March, Sec. Austin told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that "drag shows are not something the Defense Department supports or funds."
During the same hearing, Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley told legislators he wanted to "look into" occurrences of drag shows on military bases to "find out what actually is going on there."
"I'd like to take a look at those because I don't agree with those," he said. "I think those things shouldn't be happening."