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Air Force Says Drag Acts Symbolize Gay Pride
The U.S. Air Force said that a well-known drag queen group was invited to perform on base during a “Diversity Day” celebration because drag is a “symbol of gay pride and unity. But the performance sparked outrage among some airmen who called the drag show “totally offensive and inappropriate.”
Jewels and the Brunchettes performed to a small crowd at the Los Angeles Air Force Base on Aug. 8, the military confirmed.
The Air Force said in a statement to Fox News that “Diversity Day” featured eight cultural groups and was meant to “foster equality and diversity in the workplace.”
Photographs provided to Fox News show an individual wearing a giant wig and sporting form-fitting dresses performing to a sparse crowd underneath the American flag.
“Drag acts to this day represent the struggle for freedom and equality of the LGBT community, while at the same time providing a deep-rooted historical form of entertainment for the LGBT culture,” said Peggy Hodge, a spokesperson for the Office of Public Affairs.
The military said the drag queen group did not include any members of the Air Force.
“Drag queen acts are historically one of the main forms of entertainment in the LGBT culture, having its roots in the earliest of days of the gay rights movement,” Hodge said in a written statement.
She said individuals dressing in drag harkens to the days of the Stonewall riots when a gay bar was raided by police.
“What followed was the brutal beating and jailing of several men dressed as women,” she said. “This is commonly accepted as the start of the gay rights movement in the United States.”
As a result of the Stonewall riots, Hodge said, “the wearing and performing in drag became a symbol of gay pride and unity.”