Organizers of a drag queen show held last week at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada were blasted on social media by users who expressed a combination of derision and mocking contempt.
The event, dubbed “Drag-u-Nellis,” was held June 17 “in order to boost morale and promote inclusivity and diversity,” Newsweek reported, quoting base sources.
The outlet went on to report that the Nellis Air Force Base Pride committee was behind the event, and the Nellis Top 3 was the show’s sponsor.
According to the Nellis Top 3 Facebook page, the group describes itself as a “social and professional organization established to enhance the morale, espirit de corps, of all enlisted personnel assigned to the Wing and to facilitate cooperation between members of the top three enlisted grades.”
Meanwhile, the pride committee says it focuses on diversity and inclusion initiatives at Nellis utilizing volunteers at the base, Lt. Col. Byron McCarry, a spokesman for Nellis, said in an interview with Task & Purpose.
“The show featured drag queens from the Las Vegas area, including appearances by Coco Montrese, Makena Knight and Alexis Mateo. The event intended to help attendees ‘discover the significance of Drag in the LGBT+ Community,’ according to the event’s flyer,” Newsweek reported.
So @NellisAFB is having a base-sanctioned drag Queen show; isn’t that awesome?
Maybe some of our military “journalists” can call them up and ask them about this. 🙄 pic.twitter.com/CJdGjpuun9
— BKactual (@BravoKiloActual) June 18, 2021
The event drew widespread condemnation and ridicule from social media users, some of whom may have military backgrounds.
Some questioned why the country’s largest air combat training facility felt it necessary to host such a show, calling it “outrageous” and “unbelievable.”
A spokesman for the base essentially repeated a series of familiar talking points in explaining the event to Newsweek.
“Nellis Air Force Base is committed to providing and championing an environment that is characterized by equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion,” the spokesperson said, according to the outlet.
“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,” the spokesperson added. “Approximately 180 Nellis community members attended and feedback from attendees was resoundingly positive.”
Not everyone who found out about the event agrees, however.
“I guess the airmen at @NellisAFB have completely mastered air and ground combat so they can relax with an event that has grown men in dresses twerking; very cool!” wrote one.
“I’m so embarrassed for our military but our country. Some of you may think this ok but many more of us are disgusted and find this appalling and disrespectful to those in uniform past and present. On a global stage we are being laughed at,” another wrote.
“The Air Force deserves all the ridicule it attracts,” said another user.
“@Timcast… you gotta see this… Will the new theme song of the air force be ‘It raining men’? Yeah we’re projecting some real strength here,” wrote another, tagging former VICE writer and “disaffected liberal” Tim Pool.
The drag show at Nellis is the latest to draw criticism from opponents who see so-called “wokeness” — a general reference to left-wing cultural leanings — politicizing the U.S. military in the Biden era.
Earlier this week, top military officials including Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin were pressed by Republican lawmakers over controversial critical race theory and other Marxist-infused ideologies that ranking officers are increasingly embracing.
Military officials have generally responded that they don’t see a problem with introducing such materials because they are reflective of the American public from which the services draw recruits.
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