House Republicans move to reinforce Pentagon ban on drag shows

Washington DC - House Republicans want to bar drag shows in the US military, seeking to codify a ban already enforced by the Defense Department.

The House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment proposed by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz to ban funding for drag shows in the US military.
The House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment proposed by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz to ban funding for drag shows in the US military.  © ollage: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & ALEX HALADA / AFP

Members of the House Armed Services Committee voted 33-26 to adopt an amendment proposed by Florida Representative Matt Gaetz – who was investigated over alleged sex trafficking– to prohibit funding for drag performances in a draft of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

"I think it's time for us to do something to make our voice known that we will not let this happen in the US military – woke ideology and the drag queen shows have no place in our military, zero, bupkis. That is not the way to recruit people," said Missouri Representative Mark Alford.

The Pentagon has already banned such performances across its bases and ships following GOP outcry.

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Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley canceled a drag show at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Democrats speak out against military drag ban

Republicans in states around the country are seeking to severely limit drag performances as part of their assault on LGBTQ+ rights.
Republicans in states around the country are seeking to severely limit drag performances as part of their assault on LGBTQ+ rights.  © MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Many Democrats have characterized the attempt to write the drag ban into the NDAA as the latest attack on LGBTQ+ rights, all while ignoring more pressing issues military families are facing around housing, childcare, health care, and more.

New Jersey Representative Donald Norcross reminded his GOP colleagues that drag performances have a long tradition in the US military, with even legendary Bob Hope taking part.

"I don't think this is the first time this has been going on. You might want to Google it," Norcross said.

The amendment's passage comes as a wave of Republican-led states have sought to crack down on drag performances, including in a bill signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week.

Cover photo: Collage: ALEX WONG / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & ALEX HALADA / AFP

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