Human Rights Campaign Calls Out Pentagon for Giving in to Bigoted, Far-Right Pressure by Canceling Drag Performance at Military Base on First Day of Pride Month

by Cullen Peele

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — responded to the Department of Defense’s decision to cancel a drag performance at Nellis Air Force Base, a discriminatory move that comes on the first day of Pride month. Despite the fact that previous drag events have been held at the Nevada base at least twice before, and with the military’s long history of supporting drag entertainment, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other officials called for today’s performance to be canceled following pressure from Congressman Matt Gaetz and other extremist lawmakers.

Before today, Secretary Austin has been unwavering in his support for LGBTQ+ Americans who proudly serve in uniform. However, instead of truly standing up for our community on the first day of Pride, he chose to side with the politics of fear and discrimination peddled by extreme members of Congress. For decades, our community has fought for our right to exist without shame or exception, yet the Secretary’s decision to ban an event that has happened in prior years reinforces false tropes about LGBTQ+ culture. At a time when we are under attack, the Pentagon is ceding to extremist forces focused on taking away our rights -- leaders responsible for national defense ought to do better. Our people deserve better, the United States military deserves better, and all Americans deserve better.”

Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email