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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Navy announced this week that it has been utilizing a “drag queen influencer” from their own ranks to lure progressive young people to join the military in an attempt to counter a recent drastic decrease in overall recruitment numbers reported by national defense forces.
Drag queen “Harpy Daniels” – real name Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley – served as the navy’s “Digital Ambassador” in an initiative that ran from October 2022 to March 2023; however, Kelley had reportedly been dancing in drag for service members and officers long before becoming their Digital Ambassador.
“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 said in an Instagram post. “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 spokesperson, the initiative was designed to “explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” due to the fact that the Navy is currently experiencing “the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force.”
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The spokesperson noted that the Navy did not financially compensate Kelley or any others who served as the military branch’s Digital Ambassadors; the program will continue to exist, they said, although it is currently under evaluation for potential future changes.
The attempt to utilize drag queens to attract younger people comes as the military finds itself within the midst of a serious recruitment crisis, with a survey conducted by the Ronald Reagan Institute finding that a mere 13 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds are “highly willing” to join the military, followed by 25 percent being “somewhat willing” and 26 percent being “not willing at all.”
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