LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — According to government officials, plans for a drag show Thursday at Nellis Air Force Base have been scrapped.
The move comes after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a House Armed Services hearing in March that drag shows are not something the Pentagon funds.
“Consistent with Secretary Austin’s congressional testimony, drag events will not be hosted on military installations or facilities,” said a US Department of Defense official.
The official went on to say that the event would either be canceled or relocated to an off-base location. There has been no indication of whether or not the event will be relocated.
8 News Now spoke to those at Las Vegas PRIDE who said they are happy to help find a new venue for the show.
“The last two events that they have had are the last two June pride celebrations on base have been great successes and have been met with great fanfare and great celebration. They were well, embraced and to see it take a different turn is concerning and confusing,” Brady McGill with Las Vegas PRIDE said. “Drag is an expression of many different art forms. So it is usually done through performative art, arts and makeup. Imagine like a movie character that might dress up. People being able to express different skills that they have to bring entertainment to audiences.”
Las Vegas PRIDE is Nevada’s largest LGBT non-profit organization and the host of the annual Las Vegas PRIDE LGBT Festival & Parade whose mission is to “Create safe and inclusive spaces for self-expression, inspire an authentic sense of activism in the continued fight for equality, and celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of the LGBT+ community of Southern Nevada and its allies.”
According to Coco Montrese, one of the drag queens expected to perform, the show was privately funded and did not use taxpayers’ money. A statement from Montrese to 8 News Now said:
“Shocked and disappointed by this announcement, I performed in the very first drag show on the Nellis Air Force base a few years ago, but recently the attacks on the LGBTQ+ community are getting louder and louder. Fear is a very big business for politicians who use it to control the masses. Creating a narrative by certain actions is careless because actions do speak louder than words. This action, 24 hours before the event would take place, is a clear message. I think we all know what that message is.”
On May 22, Montana became the first state to ban people dressed in drag from reading to children in schools and libraries. The bill took immediate effect after it was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.