(The Hill) – The Navy’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts have apparently taken down posts celebrating the start of Pride Month.
The service’s Instagram account Thursday featured a post depicting a fighter jet with the LGBTQ flag colors in its wake, but by Friday morning the image was gone.
The move is the latest in a string of Pentagon efforts to shy away from culture wars, with top Defense officials earlier this week moving to ban drag performances on all military installations.
In a statement to The Hill, a Navy spokesperson acknowledged the original posts but would not say why or when they were removed.
“The US Navy posted graphics in support of the start of Pride month to honor the service, commitment, and sacrifice of the LGBTQ+ Service members and personnel who volunteer to defend our country,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“As we do with all Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) observance months, we will look for additional opportunities to celebrate the diversity and strength of our Sailors. Members of the LGBTQ+ community serve their country, fully contribute to the DoD mission, and deserve a welcoming environment which enables them to reach their full potential.”
The Navy in the past has faced blowback from its promotion of LGBTQ Pride Month, including last year when service officials discussed how to post its graphic marking Pride over fears it would be flooded with “feedback from trolls and ugliness,” Fox reported Wednesday.
In an email exchange, two Navy officials debated on whether to disable comments on social media posts to avoid vitriol.
The Navy has also received intense criticism from GOP lawmakers over enlisting a sailor who is also a drag queen to serve as a digital ambassador and help with recruiting.
In a wider Defense Department effort, drag performances have been banned on all military installations.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley stepped in to stop a drag show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., scheduled for the start of Pride on Thursday.
The Air Force pointed to recent remarks from Austin to explain the decision, while the Pentagon painted to a long-standing policy in a statement to The Hill. However, that policy has not always been applied in the past, with Nellis having hosted drag shows in recent years.