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Troops held drag shows during world wars

A June 3 article in the Herald-Tribune that the Pentagon has eliminated drag shows at U.S. military installations demonstrates that Republican opposition to diversity and social conscience has infected more than just the LGBTQ community it claims to abhor.

Despite the lack of any evidence that drag shows do damage, they and we are the victims of today’s hypocritical right-wing-driven hysteria.

In contrast, during both World War I and World War II, our military establishment not only welcomed drag shows, it encouraged our soldiers and sailors to participate in them. In fact, Army Special Services even published a handbook on how to produce the shows.

During the blitz, wherever the British military were stationed, drag shows were a staple of entertainment. My uncle, Dave Seeger, a member of New York’s famous “Fighting 69th” Infantry Regiment, served in an entertainment troupe – often in drag – in France during the last days of World War I. Years later, he was one of the founders of Temple Emanu-El in Sarasota. We all need to take notice of the impact today’s culture war is having on our freedoms – before it is too late.

Marvin H. Morse

Federal Judge, Retired

Letter to the Editor, 6/15/2023, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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