No Drag for Military: Gay Congressman Lashes Out at GOP Ruling

Mark Pocan, a gay democrat congressman, is in the headlines this week for criticizing Marjorie Taylor Greene and the GOP for attempting to create a ban against drag shows on military bases. 

Defense Authorization Debate

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A proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) seeks to ban drag performances on military bases and sparked significant debate within the House over LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Mark Pocan

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The congressman who criticized the GOP is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Wisconsin. Mark Pocan is known for his advocacy for progressive issues like LGBTQ+ rights. 

Protecting Values

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Pocan emphasized that such a ban targets the LGBTQ+ culture and community, but the GOP is trying to pass it off as an attempt at protecting military values.

Erasing LGBTQ+ Identities

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Pocan stated during a press conference, “This is a blatant attempt to erase LGBTQ+ identities from public life,” and denounced the GOP’s motives as poorly disguised discriminatory actions.

Historical Context

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You may be unaware, but drag performances actually have a long history in military entertainment for providing morale boosts and cultural enrichment.

The Broader Tradition

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In his critique of the new ban, Congressman Pocan argued that these performances are part of a broader tradition of inclusivity within the armed forces.

Spreading Discrimination

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Pocan said, “This move by the GOP is not about protecting the military; it’s about spreading their discriminatory agenda under the guise of protecting so-called traditional values.”

Why It’s Suddenly an Issue

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Pocan said, “If the military has had drag shows for years to boost morale and build community, why is it suddenly an issue now? It’s clear this is about politics, not policy.”

Political Motivations

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Other critics of the ban have spoken out and argue that it is politically motivated and meant to rally conservative voters ahead of the upcoming elections. 

Diverting Attention

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In these critiques, they believe this tactic diverts attention from more pressing issues affecting the military and focuses on an issue that really doesn’t matter compared to the more daunting problems with the military-industrial complex.

Drag Story Hour

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Jonathan Hamilt, the executive director of Drag Story Hour, leads an organization that promotes drag performances and discussed drag’s cultural significance and the discriminatory aspects of the proposed ban with CNN.

Up for Debate

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In his interview with CNN, Hamilt said, “If drag wasn’t rooted in gay culture and rooted in queer community, I don’t think it’d be up for debate.”

Trending Homophobia

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Hamilt then went on to say, “Nobody is banning clowns, nobody is banning miming. This is nothing new, this is just the 2023 trending version of what homophobia looks like.”

Cultural Hypocrisy

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The congressman also highlighted the hypocrisy of Republicans who have participated in drug-related events themselves, like former President Donald Trump. 

Historical Evidence

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In his statement, Pocan presented a photo of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani in drag during a 2000 charity event to highlight the hypocrisy being shown by the GOP.

Popping Up Again

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However, this is not the first time this photo of Trump and Giuliani doing drag has resurfaced. Anytime there is a debate on drag bans this photo tends to pop up as people question why drag was okay then and not now.

Broader Legal and Social Context

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Unfortunately, this case seems to be part of a broader trend of conservative legal challenges to policies that protect LGBTQ+ events and celebrations.

Free Speech Cases

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In the majority of these lawsuits targeting protections for LGBTQ+ events, the conservative opposition tends to focus on free speech and claims of religious freedom.

Increasing Legislative Efforts

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Nationwide, there has also been an increase in legislative efforts to limit the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including access to gender-affirming care and participation in sports.

The post Ban on Military Drag Shows: Gay Congressman Lashes Out at GOP Ruling first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

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