The United States Navy has come under significant scrutiny from conservative commentators after it enlisted the help of an active-duty sailor and drag queen for its “digital ambassador” program. The program intends to extend its outreach in social media platforms such as Instagram to approach more potential recruits, given the military’s significant recruitment issues. Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels, was reported to have been chosen by the Navy to become its inaugural “Navy Digital Ambassador”.
REPORT: U.S. Navy Now Using Drag Queens To Recruit Troops – As Recruitment Plummets https://t.co/MFDHtzzo3R
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) May 3, 2023
According to an Instagram post from 2022, Kelley shared his gainful experiences within the Navy and identifying as non-binary. The post read, “I identify as Non- Binary, and this has been an unbelievable experience since I’ve joined the Navy. From joining to 2016 and being able to share my drag experience on my off time with my fellow sailors has been a blessing.”
The military has a huge recruiting/retention crisis because they went woke. How did they try to fix it? By going more woke. Meet Joshua Kelley. Drag name Harpy Daniels. U.S. Navy named him Digital Ambassador to recruit new demos to join the Navy. Insane. pic.twitter.com/2DWOAIgWr4
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 2, 2023
I guarantee the Chinese are showing this video to their soldiers so they can mock what our military has become. They will not fear us which makes them stronger.
— 🇺🇸Culture War Report (@CultureWar2021) May 2, 2023
You use this as a recruitment tool you will end up with military that has nothing that would instill fear in the enemy. You will have a recruit that will not be able to fight a well trained, well disciplined and highly motivated enemy with an expectation of victory before an…
— Sailing Away (@LewisSailingF1) May 2, 2023
I'll take "Toxic Masculinity" for $1,000…
— Patricia Longfellow (@PatriciaLongfel) May 2, 2023
Kelley gained attention from press coverage after performing in drag during a morale-boosting MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) event on the ship. Though the event was designed to raise morale and give entertainment during a long deployment, conservative commentators have found Kelley’s involvement appalling. Critics argue that the Navy should have been relying on conventional methods to attract recruits and that the military is opening itself up to ill-suited people via social media channels.
Furthermore, conservatives have pointed out the looseness in current regulations and guidelines allowing openly non-binary and gay sailors to serve within the military. These individuals are technically prohibited by long-standing, time-tested regulations that aimed to ensure the military’s proper function. Such changes have been put forth with the administration’s culture-war agenda, opening the military up to issues that could compromise its effectiveness.
Many conservatives were quick to express their outrage, calling for officials to review what they regard as an absurd and hopeless plan to attract recruits by establishing an outreach program to the LGBTQ+ community. Critics claim this move is yet another display of progressive indoctrination influencing our nation’s military and enables the country’s security to its enemies’ advantage.
The inclusion of Kelley in the Navy-sponsored program adds to the increasing list of secularist agendas that have entered the military, which conservatives find alarming. Supporters for traditional military norms argue that the Navy should focus on the military’s mission rather than appointing envoys to promote gender and diversity. Meanwhile, the conservative base has widely criticized this initiative, questioning the government’s preparedness to protect the country and the nation’s values.