By Yaron Steinbuch - May 3, 2023
The US Navy invited an active-duty drag queen to be a “Digital Ambassador” – as part of a recent drive “to attract the most talented and diverse workforce” and combat plunging recruitment.
Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who identifies as non-binary, was appointed as the first of five Navy Digital Ambassadors in a pilot program that ran from October to March.
Kelley, whose stage name is Harpy Daniels, has shared their journey on TikTok and Instagram, where they described how they began performing onboard and became an “advocate” for people who “were oppressed for years in the service.”
“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 wrote on Instagram in November when announcing their appointment as a digital ambassador to their more than 8,000 followers.
“Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go Slay!” they added.
|The ambassador program was launched |
as the Navy is trying to boost
its size to 347,000 members in 2024.
The “Digital Ambassador” program that Kelley took part in ran from October to March and was “designed to explore the digital environment to reach a wide range of potential candidates” as the Navy battles “the most challenging recruiting environment it has faced since the start of the all-volunteer force,” a Navy spokesperson told Fox News.
The service branch is evaluating what form the program, which included five active-duty personnel, will take in the future, the rep added.
“The Navy did not compensate YN2 Kelley or any others for being Navy Digital Ambassadors,” the spokesperson also noted.
The ambassador program is one of several ways the Navy uses to reach various populations to overcome what the spokesperson called “the most challenging recruiting environment since the start of the all-volunteer force.”