Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley were apparently perplexed by the questioning of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who was questioning top military leaders during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on base drag shows .
“I’d like to look at those for myself and find out what’s really going on there because that’s the first thing I hear about things like this,” Milley said in response to Gaetz Wednesday after the GOP MP read several headlines about Drag shows at military installations, according to Military.com. “I’d like to see them because I don’t agree with them. I think things like that shouldn’t happen.”
Drag shows at military installations, which promoters say are intended to show support for LGBTQ service members, have increasingly grabbed headlines, most recently in the case of a proposed “drag queen storytime” scheduled at Ramstein Air Base, Germany , but the GOP’s criticism of the event was canceled in the middle.
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A spokesman for Milley later told Military.com that Milley does not support taxpayer-sponsored drag shows at military installations, since most drag shows at military installations are funded by private organizations.
Meanwhile, Austin made it clear that drag shows on bases don’t get Pentagon funding.
“Drag Queen story hours are not funded by the department,” Austin said during the hearing.
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Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, later clarified that Austin does not support the shows on military bases.
“Just as Secretary Austin said during the House Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday, the DOD does not sponsor or endorse drag queen shows or storytelling classes,” Schwegman said.
The first drag show on a military base was likely held at Kadena Air Base in Japan in 2014, according to Military.com, while a spokesman for Nellis Air Force Base defended that this Nevada installation is hosting a drag show in 2021.
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“Ensuring that our ranks reflect and include the American people is critical to military morale, cohesion and preparedness,” the spokesman told Yahoo! news back then. “Nellis Air Force Base is committed to creating and promoting an environment characterized by equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.”
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