While Joshua Kelley was stationed abroad with the U.S. Navy, they performed in drag to boost the morale of their fellow sailors on the USS Ronald Reagan in Yokosuka, Japan.
“My biggest performances here are the lip sync competitions we hold to build up morale,” Kelley told NBC News in 2018. “Once I made it into the (lip sync competition’s) finals, I asked to perform every night.”
Earlier this year, the Navy named Kelley, who identifies as non-binary and performs under the drag name “Harpy Daniels,” as one of its five new digital ambassadors. Part of a pilot project, ambassadors were asked to chronicle their journeys on social media.
Kelley runs active TikTok and Instagram accounts, boasting nearly 61,000 followers on the former. From October-March, Kelley, often wearing their uniform, posted photos and videos about their experience as an out person in the U.S. Military.
Many of the videos were heartfelt. Earlier this year, for example, Kelley spoke about their appreciation when a commanding officer asked about their preferred pronouns.
“He asked me what my pronouns were, and I thought it was incredible to see that inclusion and change,” said Kelley. “To be seen. And I think it’s so important for that, because it shows the change physically. I’m experiencing it, and I hope everybody else does.”
Seems pretty nice, right?! Kelley posted many more TikToks about their real experience in the Navy.
Kelley’s TikToks depict an out and proud member of the U.S. Military who’s serving their country and living their best life as their true self. Who could be opposed to that? “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was abolished more than a decade ago!
Well, if you guessed the same people who threw a monthlong tantrum over Dylan Mulvaney partnering with Bud Light, you would be correct!
Robert O’Neill, who was part of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, said he now regrets his service.
“Alright. The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor Drag Queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us. YOU GOT THIS NAVY. I can’t believe I fought for this bull****,” he tweeted.
Other right-wing flamethrowers have launched their salvos, too.
And Kelley is shutting them down one by one. Over the last couple of days, Kelley has responded to some of the trolls, exposing their ignorance.
As P!NK says, trust yourself, and you will shine bright. Kelley certainly has that part down.
The Navy, to its credit, is sticking by Kelley. A Navy spokesperson told Fox News the digital ambassadorship program was conceived to counteract the “most challenging recruiting environment” the Navy has faced since the “start of the all-volunteer force.”
To reach new recruits, the Navy decided to enlist Kelley. Their campaign showed an inclusive side of the military that often gets overlooked.
It seems like Kelley accomplished their mission.
Scroll down for some more TikToks of the lovely Harper Daniels…