As part of a recruitment drive aimed at the country’s youth, the U.S. Navy deployed a “drag queen influencer” to assist in boosting flagging numbers in the military.
In November of last year Joshua Kelley aka “Harpy Daniels”, who has over 1,300,000 likes on TikTok, revealed that he was to be the Navy’s ‘Digital Ambassador’.
Whilst the U.S. Navy only recently revealed about approaching Kelley, the drag queen claims to have danced in drag in front of an audience of service officers on a number of occasions, even sharing one video from 2018 on his Instagram.
Kelley was part of a Digital Ambassador initiative that lasted from October 2022 to March 2023, “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates,” a Navy spokesperson told Fox News. The spokesperson also said that the Navy is navigating “the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force.”
“The Navy did not compensate YN2 Kelley or any others for being Navy Digital Ambassadors. The pilot has concluded and we are now evaluating the program and how it will exist in the future,” the spokesperson added.
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Regarding his role as Digital Ambassador, Kelley wrote on his Instagram page: “Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go Slay!”.
Not only the Navy but more broadly the U.S. military face big problems in convincing young people to join. Only 13 pct of 18-29-year-olds are “highly willing” to join the military, whilst 25 pct declared themselves “somewhat willing” and 26 pct are “not willing at all.”
Gender ideology and the military
Gender ideology has become a hot topic in the Navy and all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
In March, a group of House Democrats proposed legislation to prevent the Department of Defense from standing in the way of transgender people who want to serve in the military.
Some critics have argued that the purpose of the U.S. military is to provide security for the country, not to be a tool for gender ideology politics. Whilst others have suggested that in an unstable world, where a lot of military strategy is played out through bravado, such as with military drills, it is perhaps surprising that the U.S. would do the opposite of striking fear into their enemies.