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Pentagon bans drag shows on US military bases

"Drag Queen Story Time" event at Ramstein Air Force base. (Facebook screenshot)
June 02, 2023

Drag events will no longer be allowed at U.S. military facilities or installations under President Joe Biden’s Defense Department, a spokesperson confirmed this week.

“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,” Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said in a statement, according to Politico. “As [Defense Secretary Lloyd 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.”

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

The decision comes after a group of GOP senators introduced legislation to stop the Pentagon 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.”

“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.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing in April, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) questioned Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Milley about multiple drag events held on U.S. military bases, including a “Drag Queen Storytime” for children at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, which was eventually canceled following backlash.

After Gaetz listed off several news headlines highlighting drag events on military bases, Milley said, “I’d like to take a look at those myself and find out what actually is going on there because that’s the first I’m hearing about that kind of stuff. I’d like to take a look at those because I don’t agree with those. I think those things shouldn’t be happening.”