Top officials face scrutiny over drag queen story hours, burlesque shows on military bases

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday the military does not fund drag queen shows on military bases. Such drag shows are increasingly occurring around military bases, along with events for children such as Drag Queen Story Hour.

During a committee hearing on the Pentagon’s budget Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., grilled both Austin and Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs, to address these events.

The $842 billion Pentagon budget was the topic of the hearing that brought questions from Gaetz about how ready the military is and what its priorities actually are.

“How much taxpayer money goes to fund drag queen story hours on military bases?” Gaetz asked.

“Listen, drag shows are not something that the Department of Defense supports or funds,” Austin replied.

But Gaetz listed off a number of drag activities around bases, starting with one that had been planned in Germany, but was canceled after public condemnation. “Then also at Malmstrom Air Force Base outside of Great Falls, Montana, you had a drag queen story hour for kids. At the Joint Base Langley-Eustis, you put on a drag queen story hour on a Saturday for the first-ever kid-friendly “Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Summer Festival.” And at Nellis Air Force Base, you had the “Drag You Nellis” on June 17.”

“Why are they happening on military bases?” Gaetz asked. “I just showed you the evidence. Why are they happening?”

“I will say again,” Austin said, with strained patience. “This is not something we support or fund.”

“So you think ‘hosting’ a drag queen story hour on a military base isn’t ‘supporting’ the drag queen story hour?” Gaetz continued.

“I stand by what I just said,” Austin said.

“You may stand by it but it’s belied by the evidence over and over again,” Gaetz said.

Milley had a different response than Austin: “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.”

Milley didn’t admit to knowing about it raises a concern about whether he was honest with the committee. In 2021, Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas hosted a drag queen show to demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The event was well publicized by Newsweek and other publications two years ago.

A spokesperson for the base told Newsweek the base “is committed to providing and championing an environment that is characterized by equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion,” and said “base leaders remain supportive of events and initiatives that reinforce the Air Force’s emphasis on diversity and inclusion toward recognizing the value every one of our airmen brings to the team.”

According to a report in the blog Task and Purpose, “The event was planned by the Nellis Air Force Base Pride committee, which is composed of volunteers from across the base focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives. It was sponsored by the Nellis Top 3, a private group meant to “enhance the morale, esprit de corps, of all enlisted personnel assigned to the [99th Air Base] Wing and to facilitate cooperation between members of the top three enlisted grades, according to the group’s Facebook page, which is now a private page.

Military readiness has become an increasing concern, as enlistments are not keeping up. The Army missed its recruiting target last year by about 15,000, according to Stars and Stripes. The Army sought 60,000 new recruits in 2022 but enlisted only 45,000. For 2023, the service is aiming even higher — for 65,000 new members.

“Fewer than 25% of all young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 qualify academically and physically to serve in the military, according to recent Pentagon data. Many of them can’t pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test that measures potential recruits’ aptitude and fitness to serve,” the publication said in February.

71 COMMENTS

  1. We have become a joke to the world, which makes us a target. I keep wondering if these libs have thought about what the end game will be the direction they have us going ??? It won’t be freedom that’s guaranteed.

    • And historically, the alphabet groups are the first to be punished and/or eliminated by the overtaking regime.

    • We haven’t become a joke to the world. Do you have any idea what’s happening in other countries? We are not the topic in other countries that people sit around and talk about. Not by a long shot. Get out more.

      • I have friends and family all over from the Middle East to Canada. A common topic of conversation is what the hell is wrong with us.

        I read papers from Australia to Iran. Same thing, but often with a smirk.

        So yeah, I’ve got a pretty good idea what goes on outside our borders and what the world thinks of us. And you couldn’t be more wrong.

    • You actually think we have become a joke to the world? Is that why everyone is trying to immigrate here? You think people in other countries don’t have their own problems? You think they are consuming themselves with a random handful of gays in America? Get out more. And quit giving them so much attention.. they will go away.

  2. Men playing dress-up and putting on shows have been around for decades and were kept in clubs where they were welcomed. I’m trying to understand why it’s being pushed so hard upon the general public and especially in our elementary schools. Is it a form of “art” that an 8 year old needs to learn about? Can someone educate me on the necessity to make this activity mainstream?

    Maureen, are you there?

    • Ok I’ll take your request

      It has been a part of a lot of cultures for thousands of years. Folks whose own cultural norms have been set against it find it offensive.

      • Oh, I get it now. It’s a cultural thing. I fully understand your thought process: It’s been in “lots of cultures for thousands of years” and since the USA is a melting pot of thousands of cultures, we need to embrace and make this particular culture mainstream, even if it’s offensive to others’ “culture norms”.

        So, where is the line drawn? Are there any cultures out there that shouldn’t be embraced by others who may find it offensive? How about these: Genital mutilation without that person’s consent. Arranged and forced marriages. Adult men marrying and raping 12 yo girls?

        It’s culture, that’s been going on for thousands of years, right?

  3. I am very glad that people from Ukraine are willing to fight for democracy, because if it was left to us I think I know what the outcome could be.

    • Um, Mark, your reading comprehension ability appears to be abysmally deficient.
      .
      Representative Gaetz is AGAINST the radical leftist agenda that is pushing drag queens in the public’s face, and in the faces of children. As opposed to most Demoncrats, who are in favor of that agenda.
      .
      Do try to keep up here.

      • Did Matt or the author of your scary story provide any evidence of drag queen shows being forced on children on military bases? It must be so scary he’s hiding it away from everyone to see. Maybe you could reply by using your real name.

        • Ah, the tired and lame non sequitur of the radical leftist when confronted by logic, reason and truth: the diversion to the attack on anonymity, which is just another version of the ad hominem attack. As if anyone here can know the real name of any given poster, much less that the name under which any poster makes their posts matters to the logic and veracity of their arguments.
          .
          Thanks for outing yourself as just another failed radical letist idiot, “Mark”.

      • Oh no, did he hurt your feelings on a public forum? Will your lawsuit include your real name? Sapper this. Freedom of speech.

        • Correct on the freedom of speech. He has the freedom to make that statement and I have the freedom to demand some evidence.

          Now, is there any evidence to back up Mark Hayden’s claim that Matt Gaetz has had sex with a minor?

  4. Milley should be courts marshaled, be busted way the hell down to mid officer rank, and possibly do a stint in Leavenworth.

    One of Trumps biggest mistakes is not firing him and compelling him to resign.

    Austin is an incompetent diversity hire.

    Elect stupid people, get stupid government.

  5. Remember when our military was about killing people and breaking things?

    I do, but I’m pretty old.

    Ever since Bush 41 the military has mostly been photo ops, social experimentation, and nation building.

    • Remember when our military was about defending democracy?

      I do, but I’m pretty old, too.

        • Sure wasn’t killing and breaking things when the National Guard showed-up in my childhood midwestern streets every year because of tornado damage.

          • The military can multi-task. It’s not killing & breaking things all the time. It’s about being prepared when the time comes. Anything that detracts from that mission or adds no value to it shouldn’t be encouraged or funded.

          • The national guard provides different services domestically. You know this but I suppose it’s the only card you have.

            Additionally, bailing out a community in crisis doesn’t “defend our democracy”.

            Sad. Predictably sad.

          • The Army and Air National Guard units are reserve components to their respective branches. Under normal circumstances these units are under the direct control of the governor of their state. Only when ‘federalized’ do these units fall in with regular Army or Air Force units, under the command of the branch commanders and, ultimately, the POTUS. After disasters it is typical for the governor of the state to send Guard units in to support local search and rescue and humanitarian aid efforts. They are an organized group of personnel that can be given a mission and sent to accomplish it with a minimum of supervision. Some units may even have equipment such as high ground clearance trucks and generators that can be used to immediately support the local population.

  6. General Milley needs to take and pass the Army physical fitness test. If he cannot do it, he should resign or retire. Fitness to serve starts at the top. Past deeds cannot substitute for current readiness. Once we have a qualified officer corps we can move to address other pressing issues.

  7. Gosh no wonder my sons said HELL NO when the recruiters were bugging(harassing) them to enter a branch of the military! They were smarter than a sixth grader as Jeff Foxworthy used to say.

    • Military life is not something that one can imagine if they have not experienced it. Forced working conditions. Living quarters that leave nothing to the imagination. 24 hours a day, eating, sleeping, and training with people from the most diverse backgrounds possible. We have to learn to trust each other with our actual lives, because in real world deployments, we quite literally keep each other alive. Ask anyone that has ‘been there’ and you’ll see that this description is no exaggeration. Anything that distracts from this mindset is eliminated quickly. Have a squad member that doesn’t like ‘those people’? Then you either have a come-Jesus-meeting with him or move him to another unit. Anyone that becomes a problem child is ‘retrained’ (lol) or moved out.

      My last deployment, my driver was the youngest soldier in the platoon and my gunner was from the Marshal Islands. I trusted my life to both of them every moment of that deployment. I never once questioned their focus on the job at hand. Now, how do you think it would have changed our effectiveness (read; ability to stay alive) if we each looked at the others and just hoped there was nothing to distract them from doing their job.

      I know that you don’t like to admit it but for most of human history the whole gay/lesbian thing was not socially acceptable and was kept quite. I figured this out way back when ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was in affect. That particular rule change had little effect as anyone with those leanings just kept them to themselves. Now days, being gay or lesbian is being held up as some kind of badge of distinction. If you want to push for ‘more rights’ for the alphabet crowd, that’s your right to do so in the civilian world. But this is not something that can just be shoehorned into the military with it’s unique living/working conditions. Like it or not, the type of person that gravitates to the military has never been friendly with the gay/lesbian scene. But if you are not in the military, why should that offend you? The citizens of America should have only one question for the military: Can you defend the country?
      The military’s job is to find the bad guys and kill them. Why would anyone want to disrupt that?

      • So make sure they are not getting purposeful misinformation and disinformation through FOX NEWS on base Paul.

        People in the military are trained to find and hit a target.

        Not asking for more rights. Just the same rights. Like the Constitution says.

        I keep reading the theme of “but hets are more populous, for a long time meaning something other than a lot of them or a lot of years. Paul you seem to me to be better read than a lot of folks here. Bet not Queer history astold by queer people though. Definitely Queer history from a religious standpoint by non-Queers.

        • No one else but the alphabet gang get to demand how they are addressed, how they can dress, and the military honor it.

          The epitome of special treatment.

          Nothing stops them serving as the gender God made them. Except them.

          Your comment about the military are trained to find and hit targets without any caveats show just how completely you have zero idea what you are talking about.

          Did I say zero? Good.

        • It is illustrative of your hypocrisy, and of your blatant political bias and blindness, Maureen, that you do not include CNN, MSNBC, and the other alphabet purveyors of so-called “news” in your screed against the pro-establishment, pro-globalist misinformation and disinformation spewed by corporate media organs such as FOX (which is admittedly not without merit).

        • Just a matter of not disrupting a military machine that’s tasked with defending the country. That’s all.

        • I try to understand that there is a difference between what is LEGAL and what a person considers wrong/bad/immoral/etc. It just is that way and I’m not going to argue as to WHY it’s that way (such as from upbringing, religion, human nature).

          So here is my take on the last part of your above comment, Maureen. I am an American. I see that as being deeper than just saying a U.S. citizen. I was raised to revere this country and all the freedoms we have when compared to any other country in history. And one of those freedoms was to just be ‘you’. We have been and continue to be a melting pot of people/cultures from around the world. And even though I was raised in the ‘white bread and mayo’ part of the midwest, I absolutely LOVE living in Alaska surrounded by people from pretty much everywhere. They are not all white, they are not all Protestant, and they are not even all born here. Love it. So, understand me please, that when I am told that I MUST except someone because of who they sleep with, I get a bit pissy about the whole thing. Have there been gay people around? Well only since the beginning of humans I suppose. Is it ‘legal’ to be gay or lesbian in the U.S.? Yes. A generation ago, it was actually illegal in a lot of places. Society changes over time.

          But I am not going to go out and champion the ‘gay cause’ as I would be lying. I was raised in a religious home and was taught that it wasn’t ‘right’. And that is ME. If I found out a neighbor was gay, would I burn them out of their house? Of course not. I’m a human being. If I find that person to be unpleasant, I’ll avoid them. If they are friendly, I’d say ‘hi’. But even if they were friendly, I’d not go to their wedding as it seems wrong to me. When you think about it, there are a lot of people in the world that I feel the same way about. Does that make me a bad person in your eyes? Would you feel better if I went to that wedding and was angry that I was talked into it?

          Flip this around. Are you Irish? No? Tough sh&$, you’re going to see Irishmen more and more and you better just deal with it. Doesn’t matter if we are friendly or screaming and carrying signs, you just need to agree with us! Tell me that’s different. We can’t control being born Irish. I wasn’t our choice to be this way. We were ridiculed because of who we are. See?

          Why can’t the activist alphabet crowd just be like the rest of us? Accept that you can be friends with some people and some people will not like you no matter what.

          • Paul, what a wonderful, thoughtful and intelligent comment and response!
            .
            Sadly, your libertarian, live-and-let-live mentality, which I share, is not shared by those on the radical left. For them, their core being revolves around demanding and forcing others to conform to their own narrow, twisted and dysfunctional lifestyle and beliefs. Your differences from them are seen, by them, as a direct threat, and like the Terminator, they will not step until you either conform, or are dead.

      • I have a slightly different take. Not majorly, but slightly different.

        I’m old enough to have seen the military accomplish amazing things when called upon. Since it used to the most effective meritocracy in America, people rose and succeeded based on work ethic and character.

        If there is any institution which could absorb the 624 genders, trannies, and whatever else, it’s probably the military. Provided they were allowed to.

        Problem is, they won’t be allowed to. Since Obama, frankly Bush 43 the military has steadily lowered the standards of what it requires out of people. At least my sources tell me so.

        When blacks in particular wanted in the military, and women to a lesser degree, they wanted to be a part of it. To prove themselves. For opportunities. To a degree for patriotism (I’ve been told by damn near everyone who served from Korean to Iraq when the poo and fan meet, you fight for the man on either side you you first. Country later).

        The difference this time is from Obama forward the military has been primarily a tool to social engineer, not to defend the Constitution. While there be some one out there, most of Obama/Biden’s special projects are there to change it, not support and be a part of it.

        Alittle more specifically, Elenor Roosevelt’s black troops (not the name used at the time) wanted to serve and be a part of what was. They couldn’t hide their skin color. Biden’s trannies want to fundamentally change it to be “inclusive and fair”. They can serve as the gender they were born as and “fix” America later.

        Those who actually want to serve for service sake will have the opportunity, perhaps not in the way the want, but will have it. Those who want to “teach and disrupt” need to be elsewhere.

  8. By the way Kubota2 the innocent civilians of Ukraine have already fled to neighboring countries by the millions. The only ones left are the staunch supporters of the corrupt Zielinski who is on a world wide money grifting campaign not to be used to preserve democracy but to fund the corruption that has plagued that country for years. If it were a true democracy Joe Biden would not have been able to withhold a half billion in aid as vice president until their attorney general was fired for investigating corruption in Burisma Gas co. Who Hunter was being paid $80,000 per month to sit on the board and make important decisions. (In between crack smoking orgy sessions). If you want to continue sending billions to support corruption sell your home cash in your retirement and donate it all to the cause. I have friends who are Russian nationals and they have a very different view of Zielinski and the history of Ukrainian corruption as they have relatives who live there as well.

  9. If Ukraine wasnt so corrupt the Bidens would not have wasted their time there in the first place. They would have spent all their time in China as Joe Biden proudly brags as vice president to Xi “Gosh I have spent so much time here on so many trips to China I feel like this is my second home”. Sit back and think about that statement he loved to brag about as VP. Why in hell would any politician spend that much time in a communist foreign country that has been a threat to our nation forever…..Its gotta be the $$$$$money$$$$$ and lots of it!

  10. Wiccan Services have been held for years at JBEAR

    Wiccan Controversy Tests Military Religious Tolerance

    In the two years since Fort Hood approved wiccans, open circles have popped up at other military bases: Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Wainwright in Alaska, Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa…
    ‘https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/june99/wicca08.htm

    • And one can request a Wiccan symbol for their military headstone in military cemetaries.

  11. It is not any longer a matter of accepting that people are different. They now are looking for their way to become the new normal and seek to recruit others because they want to become larger than 3% of the population. Pre-pubescents and pubescents are already confused by their bodily changes and present an opportunity. Plus you get a lot of attention by being different. Many children are deprived of attention by their parents, who as first generation to the technological age don’t know what family time is. I have seen many young couples twiterpaiting by text while sitting at the same table across from each other. What a shame to loose the art of communication in one generation. Three year olds absorbed in video games with their own personal “smart “ phones. Their parents doing much the same. Why bother gathering together for this? Can’t leave the device at home when you go out? Afraid you might get lost, break down, or miss out on some drama while enjoying family time? I personally drowned my smart phone in the sink over a year ago and don’t miss it. An iPad is good enough to stay current. Send an email or use your landline, or talk.

  12. Long past the time to send austin and milley to the beach. We need actual military leadership both in DOD and the Pentagon. The kind of leadership that focuses the military on it’s job; being ready, any time, day or night, to go where the bad guys are and kill them all. Anything that distracts from this focus is detrimental to a good military environment and erodes our nation’s security. But austin and milley already know that.

    • Miley needs to be fired. Mealy mouthed Miley does not deserve his uniform, he is an insult to our armed services.

  13. Drag queen anything needs to remain in adult venues. What absurd insanity to think any of this is appropriate in libraries, schools, or military bases. And zero tax dollars should be going toward any such dysfunctional entertainment. And I’m sorry, to compare to Shakespeare ( another article elsewhere) is a gross insult to the Baird. Drag Queens – men with fetishes. If that toots your proverbial horn well fine, go to the night club that accommodates. Do not force it upon children or the general public.

  14. Sometimes this publication is wildly entertaining. Going down Matt’s woke rabbit hole, one will find all kinds of entertainment on U.S. bases with men dressed as women, even going back to “the greatest generation’, during WWII. For those inclined to entertain themselves even more, all one has to do is do a simple search on “USO drag shows”. There, ya’ll and Matt will find Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, Sammy Davis Jr., Glenn Campbell, Jonathon Winters and others, performing in opposite sex roles.

      • Would have been nice if the writer of this story could have provided at least one documented example of a “drag queen” on a military base “twerking for children”.

    • All those old entertainers you listed were putting on comedy shows for adults. Modern drag shows are being put on for children. ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ is not apt to attract many adults.

      • Milton Berle’s show was sold to families, caused a boom in home TV sales back then.

        You know Paul, parents bring their kids to Drag Queen Story Hours.

        • I advocate that parents are responsible for raising their children. The upside is that I choose what is right or wrong when it comes to teaching/educating my children. The downside is that I have to extend that same right to all American parents. And just like some parents take their kids to the bar (I wouldn’t) some choose to take their kids to see drag shows (I wouldn’t do that either).

          But just like bars, drag shows should not be publicly funded. Take your kids to the drag show? Do it on your own dime.

    • Anytime an adult demands or craves access to someone else’s child its a warning sign. Ask yourself why the alphabet groups go nuts over attempts to protect children.

  15. They were broadcast on the airwaves in the United States of America, for EVRYONE to see, including children of all ages. The FCC back then didn’t have a problem with it.

    • “Mark”, your pathetic attempt at false equivalency is disgusting.
      .
      Milton Berle’s burlesques were obvious farces, and were not overtly sexualized as many current drag displays are, nor were they expressly focused at children.
      .
      The disingenuousness of the radical leftist can always be counted on, however.

    • Were the parents forced to turn the TV on? Were they forced to turn the TV to a specific channel? Nope, parents had the choice to not tune in if they felt that way.

  16. What in the hell has happened to my beloved Air Force? There is no place for this trash in the military, we are built to fight and win, not to be a social experiment.

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