The event, set to take place on June 1, 2023, was promoted as a "family-friendly" event with "no minimum age requirement" and alcohol available to those over 21 years old. The show was labeled a "free community drag showcase" featuring "RuPaul's Drag Race" star CoCo Montrese. The cancellation order came just a day before the event was scheduled to take place.
The decision to cancel the event was made by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who reportedly became visibly angry when he was informed about the event just days before. The Air Force was directed to cancel or relocate the event to an off-base location. An alleged Air Force official told NBC News, "The Air Force will not host drag events at its installations or facilities."
The cancellation of the event was celebrated by Rep. Matt Gaetz, who had previously confronted Milley with documents and news clippings that showed "Drag Queen Story Hours" were occurring on United States military installations across the country. The Nellis Air Force Base drag show was cited by Gaetz, who referred to a June 2021 story from Breitbart that described the base's "first-ever drag queen show at one of its on-base dining and entertainment clubs."
In response to the cancellation, Gaetz tweeted, "HUGE VICTORY: The Department of Defense has CANCELED a scheduled 'child-friendly' drag show after I demanded answers from @SecDef Austin and General Milley! Drag shows should not be taking place on military installations with taxpayer dollars PERIOD!"
Sabrina Singh, deputy press secretary, confirmed in an email to the New York Post that "The DOD will not host drag events at U.S. military installations or facilities. Hosting these types of events in federally funded facilities is not a suitable use of DOD resources." Singh also said, according to NBC News, that "Per DoD Joint Ethics Regulation (JER), certain criteria must be met for persons or organizations acting in non-Federal capacity to use DoD facilities and equipment."
As reported by the New York Post, the event's cancellation surprised some, as the location had previously hosted drag shows. However, the decision to cancel the event was made by the DoD Joint Ethics Regulation, which outlines the criteria that must be met for persons or organizations acting in a non-Federal capacity to use DoD facilities and equipment. The decision to cancel the event was made to ensure that federally funded facilities are used appropriately.