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The U.S. Air Force has granted approval to allocate taxpayer funds for covering travel expenses of service members who wish to attend the upcoming “pride” events organized by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) in Washington, D.C.
Marianne Malizia, the director of the Air Force’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, last week issued a memorandum to inform branch commanders about the forthcoming LGBT-related events. According to the memo, commanders in the Air and Space Force are authorized to utilize “unit funds” to facilitate travel and participation of service members, subject to approval from their respective supervisory authorities.
The memo reads:
Air and Space Force Commanders are authorized to utilize unit funds for their Air and Space personnal to travel to, and participate in, this year’s DAF Pride Events if approved by their individual supervisory authority.
Service members or civilian employees may attend conferences at the unit expense to maintain and improve professional competency or to improve management of the Department’s functions and activities.
BREAKING: “Pride at the Pentagon”: Troops, don’t miss out on your opportunity to use taxpayer dollars to travel to Pride Month at the Pentagon beginning this Thursday, 8 June.🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️✊🏿 🧵 Check out the official memos in this thread… pic.twitter.com/WhrNLSxslb
— Matt Lohmeier (@matthewlohmeier) June 6, 2023
The DAF justifies their use of taxpayer funds under Section 030201, which allows the release of public funds for “travel and transportation allowances” for military personnel.
An accompanying flyer, adorned with rainbow colors, details three forthcoming events in which the DAF is expected to take part. These events include a “Pride at the Pentagon” celebration set to take place at the Pentagon Air Force Art Gallery on June 8, an “LGBTQ+ Initiatives Team (LIT) Symposium” at the Pentagon Library & Conference Center on June 9, and a recruiting booth at the D.C. Pride Festival on June 11.
The Air Force has also issued a pre-written memo allowings service members to apply for permission from their commanders to be excused from their unit and travel to D.C. to attend the celebrations.
In May, the DAF issued a similar memo acknowleding June as “Pride Month,” authorizing Air Force installation commanders to organize and execute suitable activities. “During this time, we celebrate the progress we have made towards inclusivity, commemorate the contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans, and recognize the obstacles they have faced and overcome along the way,” the memo read.
Among the planned events was also an all-ages drag show scheduled at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, although the event was eventually cancelled following pressure from Republicans in Congress. An Air Force spokesperson later confirmed that the organization will no longer “host drag events at its installations or facilities.”
Rep. Matt Rosendale, a Republican from Montana, this week put forward legislation banning the Department of Defense (DOD) from funding, hosting, or endorsing adult cabaret performances. A copy of the bill, first obtained by The Daily Caller, describes an “adult cabaret performance” as an entertainment act that includes topless or go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, or impersonators of either gender.
“Anything that does not help our troops be the most effective fighting force on earth is a distraction and a waste of resources,” Rosendale told the Caller. Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Ryan Harriet Hageman (R-WY).