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Air Force hosts drag show at kid-friendly ‘diversity, inclusion’ festival on base

Breaking Barriers Alliance of Joint Base Langley-Eustis put on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Festival on July 30, 2022. (Joint Base Langley-Eustis/Released)
August 01, 2022

The US military’s Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) hosted a drag show on Saturday during its first-ever kid-friendly “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summer Festival.”  

According to the event’s website, the festival included a number of guest speakers and performances, including a drag show by Joshua Kelley aka “Harpy Daniels – The Navy Drag Queen.” Organizers encouraged children to attend the festival, advertising that there would be “bouncy houses and face painting for the children.”

The festival’s stated goal was “to provide education, increase collaboration through outreach efforts, and recognize the diverse composition of JBLE.”

Colonel Gregory Beaulieu, commander of the 633d Air Base Wing at JBLE, approved the event with the drag show, a base spokesman told The Daily Wire. Beaulieu also authorized the use of military resources for the event. 

JBLE posted several photos from the event on its official Facebook page, but the base did not include any images from the drag show. 

“Today, the Breaking Barriers Alliance of Joint Base Langley-Eustis put on the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summer Festival! The festival was a time for members of the community to learn about and celebrate the many people that make #TeamJBLE the rich, diverse and strong team that it is,” the base posted. “Thanks to all the communities, performers and folks that came out to learn, have fun, and make JBLE the best place to live and work!”

JBLE told The Daily Wire that the event was designed to ensure “every Airman, Soldier and civilian feels valued.”

“The goal is to provide education and awareness, increase collaboration through outreach, and recognize the diverse composition of JBLE. The theme of the event is ‘Celebrating Differences’ and will feature a number of different performers, guest speakers, and information booths, including Tuskegee Airman, Asian Indians of Hampton, a hula routine, a drag performance, and many others,” the statement read. 

“All featured guests will be participating or performing as volunteers. The installation assisted by providing funding for logistical requirements, such as a tent, stage, tables and chairs, etc., as specifically authorized by DoD regulations and policies. JBLE leadership is committed to celebrating differences and cultivating an inclusive environment where every Airman, Soldier and civilian feels valued,” it continued.

A JBLE employee who received an invite to the event told the Wire that the drag show was infuriating. 

“It’s burlesque, it’s hyper-sexualized, it’s not something appropriate for children,” said the individual, who requested anonymity. 

The drag show and diversity event follows a recent push for so-called “diversity, equity and inclusion” in the US military. Earlier this year, a Navy official told American Military News that Navy members who intentionally “misuse” transgender service members’ pronouns are in violation of the Navy’s harassment policy and could face administrative or judicial action.