Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, on Saturday ruled out supporting any Department of Defense (DOD) initiatives that involve using drag performances to attract new recruits.
The U.S. Navy launched a pilot program that ran from last October to March in which it used a drag queen as a “digital ambassador” to reach out to younger people who might be interested in joining the Navy. Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the drag name Harpy Daniels and identifies as non-binary, announced on Instagram last November that they had been invited to become a “digital ambassador” for the Navy as per the program, and has performed in drag for sailors.
The U.S. Navy said in March that it was facing a “challenging recruiting environment” and that it didn’t meet its recruitment targets in fiscal year 2022 for reserve personnel and active duty officers, according to the Navy Times.
However, what seems to be an LGBTQ+ inclusion effort on the Navy’s behalf received backlash at a time in which transgender rights are being heavily targeted in ways that range from proposing anti-transgender legislation in Republican-led states to boycotting beer brand Bud Light for using transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney to promote its product. Republicans say the laws are necessary to protect children, but critics argue they create a hostile environment and infringe on LGBTQ+ rights.
Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, a Georgia Republican, is seen on Capitol Hill on February 8 in Washington, D.C. Greene ruled out supporting any Department of Defense (DOD) initiatives that involve using drag performances to attract new recruits on Saturday.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
“I will NOT vote to fund ANY Trans programs of ANY kind especially of medical nature in our NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act]. ZERO. Our military has only one purpose, the defense of our country. Our military needs to train men for war, not turn men into fake women,” Greene tweeted on Saturday. The NDAA includes a series of federal laws that specify the DOD’s annual budget.
Greene was reacting to a Thursday Pentagon press briefing where a reporter asked Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh about whether other branches of the U.S. military will launch the “digital ambassador” program. Singh responded that it was a pilot outreach effort and not a recruiting effort, and said that the “Navy is evaluating the program and how it [will] exist in the future.”
I will NOT vote to fund ANY Trans programs of ANY kind especially of medical nature in our NDAA.
Our military has only one purpose, the defense of our country.
Our military needs to train men for war, not turn men into fake women.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) May 6, 2023
Other criticism came from Robby Starbuck, a music producer who ran in a Republican congressional primary in 2022, who described the program as “insane,” adding that the “military has a huge recruiting/retention crisis because they went woke. How did they try to fix it? By going more woke.”
Representative Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, tweeted on Tuesday that “Biden DoD’s [Department of Defense] recruitment is as good as Bud Light’s marketing,” referring to the backlash the beer brand received over partnering with Mulvaney.
A U.S. Navy spokesperson told The Daily Caller on Monday that the initiative was an attempt to “explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates.” Five active personnel were reportedly chosen, including Kelley, and they were not compensated for their work.
While Kelley became a digital ambassador for the Navy last year, their drag act has been publicized since 2018. “I have many LGBT friends here, and if you can stand at attention properly and speak with proper etiquette, that’s what it comes down to in the Navy,” they told NBC News at the time. “I’ve not once had a bad experience as a gay man in the military.”
Kelley joined the Navy in 2016 and said in their November Instagram post that their experience as a sailor has “been a blessing.”
Newsweek reached out by email to Greene’s spokesperson for comment. » …