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New GOP bill would ban military from funding drag queen shows

"Drag Queen Story Time" event at Ramstein Air Force base. (Facebook screenshot)
May 10, 2023

A group of Republican senators have introduced legislation to stop President Joe Biden’s Defense Department from hosting drag queen performances with taxpayer funds or in taxpayer-funded facilities.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton, Steve Daines, Kevin Cramer, Ted Budd and Marco Rubio introduced the legislation, which is less than two pages long, to “prohibit the use of Department of Defense funds for adult cabaret performances.”

The bill defines “adult cabaret performances” as “a performance that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dances, strippers, or male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to prurient interest.”

“If military officials want to know why we’re facing a recruiting and retention crisis in our armed forces, they need only look to ‘Drag Story Time.’ Young Americans join the military to become warriors and defend America, not to become social justice warriors. There is no reason taxpayers should be funding this,” Cotton said in a statement emailed to American Military News.

Last month, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Milley during a House Armed Services Committee hearing about multiple drag events held on U.S. military bases.

At the time, Austin said the Defense Department does not fund drag queen story hours.

“Well, wait a second. That’s actually not what the record seems to suggest,” Gaetz responded. “You were going to fund one at Ramstein Air Force Base. That one got canceled, but that’s [Department of Defense] insignia. That’s a drag queen story hour for children.”

“Then also at Malmstrom Air Force Base outside of Great Falls, Montana, you had a drag queen story hour for kids. At Joint Base Langley-Eustis, you put on a drag queen story hour on a Saturday for the first ever kid-friendly diversity, equity and inclusion summer festival,” Gaetz added. “At Nellis Air Force Base, you had the ‘Drag You Nellis’ on June 17. Who funded these things, Mr. Secretary?”

Austin again denied that the Pentagon funds such events, and Gaetz eventually concluded that Austin’s repeated claim is not supported by the evidence.

“Our military’s mission is clear: to provide the military forces needed to deter and win wars and to protect the security of our country and our allies. Allowing the DOD to become a branch of far-Left helping to promote their radical gender ideology by hosting and promoting drag queen performances is a threat to our national security and gross misuse of taxpayer funds. This must be stopped immediately,” Senator Daines said in a statement on the new legislation.