Scroll To Top
Politics

Rep. Robert Garcia: 'The Army that defeated Hitler and saved the world included drag queens'

rep Robert Garcia passionate speaker
Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

The California Democrat expertly demolished a Republican proposal to ban drag shows on military bases — but it passed the House of Representatives anyways.

There are more important things for Congress to do than try to restrict drag, according to Representative Robert Garcia.

The California Democrat passionately defended the art form during a debate in the House of Representatives over the National Defense Authorization Act. Republicans sneaked a number of culture war issues into the annual defense funding legislation, including amendments preventing funds from covering service members' abortion travel costs and gender-affirming care, as well as preventing funds from being used to host drag shows on military bases.

Garcia zeroed in on the drag ban when it was his turn to speak, expertly dismantling the measure by citing the military's storied history of hiring female impersonators for entertainment.

“We can document and celebrate Drag shows on military bases since the late 1800s and through both world wars. The USO and the Red Cross supported drag during World War II," Garcia said. "That’s right: The Army that defeated Hitler and saved the world included drag queens.”

He continued, “Ronald Reagan starred in a movie called This Is the Army! — a movie about World War II that featured four drag performances. And he’s not the only Republican president who knew that drag can be fun and sometimes silly."

The House of Representatives, narrowly controlled by Republicans, approved the defense bill Friday with the attached amendments. The measures are not expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Garcia added that in the face of "threats to the health and well-being of our service members and their families" such as "poisoned water, toxic mold in military housing, PTSD, and suicide," he was "stunned to see that the Republican idea to protect our troops is to ban drag shows."

"My Republican colleagues want us to believe that ‘these gays are trying to murder us,’" he said, referencing Jennifer Coolidge's iconic scene in White Lotus season two. "They want us to believe that drag is harmful, or immoral and wrong. This is ridiculous."

Garcia then called out the hypocrisy of the GOP for referring to drag as "obscenity" and banning it when they did not have condemnation for Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after she showed nude images of President Joe Biden's son Hunter during a hearing.

“Mr. Speaker, drag is art. Drag is culture. Drag is creativity. Drag is comedy. And no, drag is not a crime. It’s not pornography," Garcia said. "The real obscenity is when one of our colleagues, the gentlewoman from Georgia, shows literal posters of revenge porn in our Oversight Committee! If we want to end porn in government facilities, let’s ban that.”

Robert Garcia defends drag during NDAA hearing

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.