On March 29, during a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) demanded that top Pentagon officials, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, explain why drag queen story hours were still occurring on U.S. military bases, including at locations in Germany and Nevada, Montana, and Virginia.
"Drag queen story hours is not something that the department funds," Austin responded to Gatez's demands. Milley then asked to see the brochures for the story hour events Gaetz was asking about.
"I'd like to take at those, because I don't agree with those," Milley told Gaetz.
While Austin continuously refused to speak at length to the matter, despite Gaetz's persistent questioning, Milley was reportedly visibly angry to discover that the events were being hosted on U.S. bases when he was informed of the events earlier this week.
Despite Austin's essential denial that the story hours were taking place, the DoD canceled a drag show at Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas not even a week later.
The canceled event was to be hosted by the Nellis LGBTQ+ Pride Council and was advertised as a free "family-friendly" drag show that had been scheduled for June 1 as a kickoff for pride month.
In response to the cancelation, Deputy Press Secretary for the Department of Defense, Sabrina Singh, said, "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 fo 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. 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," Singh concluded.
While this year's event has been canceled, Nellis AFB hosted a pride month drag show in June 2021 called "Drag-u-Nellis."
According to a spokesperson for the base, that event was meant to promote diversity and inclusion.
Meanwhile, Rep. Gaetz took a moment to celebrate on Twitter saying, "HUGE VICTORY: The Department of Defense has CANCELED a scheduled 'child-friendly' drag show after I demanded answers from @SecDef Austin and General Milley!"
While Rep. Gaetz was successful in getting these drag shows removed from military bases, one must wonder how many other similar events are being hosted at bases nationally and globally given that Austin turned a blind eye and Gen. Milley was clueless about the events happening at Nellis AFB and elsewhere.