The U.S. Navy is pulling out all stops in its effort to reach its 2023 fiscal year recruiting goal. According to a report, it is utilizing a secret weapon to fill the military branch’s quota, a drag queen named Harpy Daniels.
The Daily Caller reported the Navy looked inward for this recruiting tool. It found Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who is on active duty and identifies as non-binary. Kelley performs in drag under the stage name Harpy Daniels.
A Navy representative confirmed that the effort was part of the Digital Ambassador initiative, which brought Kelley on board as a “Navy Digital Ambassador.”
The spokesperson said the project was intended to utilize the digital world to reach out to a broad spectrum of candidates for naval service.
The U.S. Navy hired this non-binary drag queen as a “digital ambassador” to try to recruit people pic.twitter.com/l3LIEtndVD
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 2, 2023
Kelley went to Instagram in November to announce the honor of being the Navy’s first digital ambassador. He used the social media proclamation to spotlight his performances in drag for the Navy that date back to 2018 as well as the chance to advocate for those “oppressed” by the military.
Kelley wrote that it has been a “blessing” to share his drag persona on his off time with his colleagues. “This experience has brought me so much strength, courage, and ambition to continue being an advocate and representation of queer sailors!”
He recounted enduring outside pressure when he was scheduled to do a drag performance at a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) event at Langley Joint Air Force Base in 2022.
The drag queen sailor said the show “caused an uproar to many conservatives and Christian extremists.”
The Navy Times reported the military branch looks to increase its enlistment to 347,000 in 2024, up from the current 341,736 in fiscal year 2023.
In the last fiscal year, the Navy managed to eke out its goal by digging into the delayed-entry pool. That may not be an option this time around, and the branch is expected to fall short of its new mark by 6,000 recruits, or 16%.
The latest budget proposal states that “to attract the most talented and diverse workforce, the Navy continues to evaluate its compensation package and admission requirements, and how it reaches potential recruits through advertising and career events.”
Apparently that diversity push includes using drag queens as “ambassadors” for the U.S. military.