Is that a photo of Ronald Reagan in drag?


A World War II era photograph showed former US President Ronald Reagan in drag.


research in progress

In March 2023, left-leaning online social media users shared a photo allegedly showing former US President Ronald Reagan in drag.

“This is Ronald Reagan in drag! It’s the only thing he’s ever done right,” one Twitter user wrote Posted on March 24th. Attached to the post was a photo showing three men wearing makeup and costumes standing on a stage.

The claim spread across other social media platforms, such as Reddit And tick tock. The Facebook group for The Other 98%, a left-leaning non-profit media organization, did likewise Posted the picture and generated more than 8,600 reactions and 4,000 shares.

The photo was genuine in that it authentically showed three people in drag makeup and clothing, but there’s no proof that any of them were Reagan. They were soldiers during World War II and dressed up for the show This Is The Army, according to the National Park Service (NPS) and other sources.

Next to the NPS is the National Museum of World War II in New Orleans published the image online, citing the National Archives as the original source. We searched the National Archives’ online database for the photo, but we couldn’t find it. We also contacted the agency for more information. We will update this fact check when we receive feedback.

(Wikipedia also has an entry for the picture stating it was taken in 1942. It is not known whether or with what evidence this was true.)

On the websites of NPS and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the captions indicated that the soldiers were part of the United States Army Signal Corps, a branch of the Army responsible for communication. The identities of the soldiers were not given in the cutline.

Reagan served in the Army, but he was never part of the Signal Corps. According to the Reagan Presidential Library, Reagan first was 1942 ordered to do military service and joined the San Francisco port of embarkation as a liaison officer.

He later joined it The Army Air Force’s first film unit and then the 18th Army Air Forces Base Unit, where he ended active duty in 1945. according to a research article Brigham Young University researcher Doug Cunningham created the First Motion Picture Unit specifically to operate independently of the Signal Corps, allowing the Army Air Force to control its own cinematic image and become independent of the Army overall.

We contacted the Reagan Presidential Library, who informed us that the picture was not of Reagan but could not provide us with any further information.

Accordingly Friends of the National World War II Memorial, some gay soldiers at the time found refuge from rigid gender roles by appearing as female characters on shows like This Is The Army. Described in the A book Coming Out Under Fire was the most famous Special Services theatrical production of World War II. The show featured men serving in the military carry out Comic routines, dancing, singing and imitating female characters.

This wasn’t the only photo that social media users claimed showed Reagan in drag. A tick tock claimed that a man wearing a purple dress with a matching hat was also the former president. In reality this man was Alan Mansonan actor who appeared in the 1943 film adaptation of This Is the Army.

Reagan played the main role in this film. We found images from the film for you to find watch online free at the time of publication. While some men appeared in the film as female characters, the former president was not one of them.


Bérube, Allan. Coming Out Under Fire: The Story of Gay Men and Women in World War II. University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

“Cross dressing.” WikipediaApril 4, 2023. Wikipedia,

Cunningham, Douglas. “Imaging/Imagining Air Force Identity: ‘Hap’ Arnold, Warner Bros., and the Formation of the USAAF First Motion Picture Unit.” The moving picture, vol. 5, no. 1, spring 2005, pp. 95–124,

“Gee!! I Wish I Were A Man”: Queer Americans in World War II. Retrieved April 5, 2023.

Gender, expression and WWII (US National Park Service). Retrieved April 5, 2023.

“GIs as Puppets: Uncovering the Hidden Stories of Wartime Drag Entertainment.” The National Museum of the Second World War | New OrleansJune 15, 2021,

“Military Service of Ronald Reagan.” Ronald ReaganAccessed April 5, 2023.

Oliver, Mirna. “Alan Manson, 83; Soldier turned actor.” Los Angeles TimesMarch 12, 2002

“Signals Officer.” Goarmy.ComAccessed April 5, 2023.

That’s the Army (1943). tubitv.comAccessed April 6, 2023.

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