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Report: Unable To Meet Recruiting Targets, The U.S. Navy Is Turning To Drag Queens For Help

Drag queens at a pride parade
Image CreditMark/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Struggling to meet their recruiting goals for fiscal year 2023, U.S. Naval leadership has found whom they believe to be the perfect person to increase the branch’s ranks: Drag Queen Harpy Daniels.

According to a Daily Caller report, the Navy brought on Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley — an active-duty drag queen who goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels and identifies as non-binary — to be a “Navy Digital Ambassador.” The Digital Ambassador initiative, which ran from October 2022 to March 2023, was reportedly “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” for military recruitment, according to a Navy representative.

In November, Kelley announced on Instagram the Navy had invited him to become the branch’s first “Digital Ambassador.” During his announcement video, Kelley highlighted his experience performing in drag for the Navy as early as 2018 and his new role as a so-called “leader” and “advocate” for individuals who were allegedly “oppressed for years in the service.”

“From joining to 2016 and being able to share my drag experience on my off time with my fellow sailors has been a blessing,” Kelley wrote. “This experience has brought me so much strength, courage and ambition to continue being an advocate and representation of queer sailors!”

According to a Navy representative who spoke with The Daily Caller, the Digital Ambassador program “concluded in April, and the Navy is now evaluating the program to consider what form it will take in the future.”

The Navy’s use of a drag queen as a “digital ambassador” comes amid the branch’s predicted failure to meet its recruiting targets for the 2023 fiscal year. Last month, The Military Times reported that the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Army are projecting recruiting shortfalls in the “thousands” this year. While the Navy is estimated to fall roughly 6,000 recruits short of its goal, the Army and Air Force are projected to miss theirs by 10,000 and 3,400, respectively.

Following President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration, the Defense Department began pushing military leadership to adopt discriminatory “DEI” ideology. For context, diversity, equity, and inclusion (often abbreviated to DEI) is a divisive and poisonous ideology dismissive of merit to discriminate based on characteristics such as skin color and sexual orientation. Individuals who qualify for a certain position due to their merits but don’t meet the discriminating entity’s goal of being more “diverse” are passed over in favor of those who meet the preferred identitarian standards.

In May 2021, then-Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker released a memo outlining an action plan to promote DEI in the Navy. The document instructed the Navy’s assistant secretary and chief diversity officer to “lead and oversee all DEI efforts across the Department to synchronize key policies and initiatives … and to develop a strategy to advance DEI across the enterprise.”

The Defense Department’s embrace of DEI ideology continues to permeate the military. As Helen Raleigh reported in The Federalist last June, the Navy released an instructional video advising service members to create a “safe space” by using “correct” pronouns.

“The video emphasized how service members must use ‘inclusive languages’ and not ‘misgender’ others,” Raleigh wrote. The Army has also released similar material instructing soldiers on so-called “gender identity.”

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