Video: Gay, lesbian troops perform in drag show in Okinawa

Cross-dressing while Ukraine burns.


"She" has the watch.
“She” has the watch.

[Makes an interesting counterpoint with the sorrow descending on Ukraine.]

A video posted by Stars & Stripes (below) is going viral on the web, and it features military servicemembers participating in a fund-raising drag show at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

There are a few comments to put this in perspective.  One, we sailors always knew there was something a little funny about the Air Force.  OK, OK, cheap shot.  Moving on.

Two, it wouldn’t be the first time military members have dressed in drag for entertainment.  The difference now is that it’s being offered as serious drag performance: as representative of the personal and aesthetic orientation of some servicemembers.

It actually happens from time to time in events like a Navy carrier air wing’s “Fo’c’s’le (forecastle) Follies,” a quasi-official commemoration that occurs at the end of a designated period of flight operations on deployment.  Junior officers from the squadrons get together and make colossal fools of themselves to entertain their shipmates.  The festivities are held in the part of the ship known in modern seagoing parlance as the fo’c’s’le, way up forward, but below decks, in the bow.  Now and then, a JO in the Follies has taken one for the team by doing a terrible impression of the opposite sex.  You might have to just see it to realize it doesn’t qualify in any way as a drag “performance.” Think fraternity hijinks, but with more engineering geekiness involved.

Three, this may be the first video of actual troops doing full-on drag performances.  But it’s not the first officially promoted drag-queen performance at a military base.  Los Angeles Air Force Base may hold that title, after hosting the drag act “Jewels and the Brunchettes” for Diversity Day on August of 2013.

But four, there is a limit to what soldiers, sailors, and airmen can see their fellows – or their NCOs or officers – do, and still retain respect for them.  The performances at Kadena Air Base were probably pretty tame, as drag acts go.  That’s what it looks like from the video.  That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to open wide the spigot for drag expression in the military.

If you don’t know that, you just aren’t old enough to.  There should by no means be torches and pitchforks against drag shows.  But the bottom line is that it will never be important to the security of the United States for our military to be a friendly, approving atmosphere for drag performances.  Making it a priority to cultivate such an atmosphere is very misguided policy, especially when the 800-pound gorilla of game-changing defense cuts is in the room.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.

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16 thoughts on “Video: Gay, lesbian troops perform in drag show in Okinawa”

  1. The ghosts of Patton, Halsey, Puller and LeMay are spinning in their graves. I hope no one tells the shade of General George Washington.

    OK, I can’t resist: “… SAILORS always knew there was something a little funny about the Air Force”(?). The Army got the hint about the Navy after the village people recorded that video aboard one of your ships.

    1. I figured that one wouldn’t slip by everybody, MarcH. Have to have a little fun with this stuff, otherwise it’s all too depressing.

      1. All in good fun, JE.

        In ‘stan I worked with great Navy JAGs on counter-corruption missions. They couldn’t get enough of humping around with troops on patrols.

      2. Just watched the video. I can’t believe it. I was ok with DADT but I find it hard to believe that SMs who swarm to and preen at such event will also be able to stand up to a missile barrage on their air base by the PLA.

        It is not my military of the 1980s. Perhaps I am out of step. I recall a 2007 conversation in a DFAC in Iraq where the BN chaplain (a very SO-CON Bible-belt type) informally debated w/a couple of combat arms junior officers on the morality of such conduct. The chaplain’s POV was not well received, except w/me, an Orthodox Jew.

        If you find the bus stop for the route back to 1964 please let me know.

        1. I am sure JE won’t believe this but way way back in AIT (Ft. Sill, home of 24/7 impact sounds. Not to be confused with the impact area west of the base) we had a young Drill Instructor that had a habit of walking through barracks with a long red silk bathrobe on. I leave the rest to the imagination.
          Remember 1964. We were all Beatles and Beach Boys fans. At the end of the year some guy that was getting hot in England came to Charlotte, NC. Name of Hendrix. I was numb at the end and realized things were going to change. Oh, Marianne was with him. What a set of pipes!

      3. This thing goes back a long way. When the British Navy ruled the waves, life in the Senior Service was famously described as “rum, sodomy, and the lash”

        1. You will be happy to know they have long ago phased out the daily rum ration and flogging.

  2. We should all remember that the same old war-horses who opposed women in the military also supported the continuance of the policy of devoting military resources to weeding out people whose sexual-orientation offended their sensibilities. Pity the same people didn’t devote the same energy to weeding out the heterosexual paedophiles who so besmirched the name of the military in Okinawa and the Philippines.
    In any case, when this country was in real wars fought by largely conscript armies there is no evidence that homosexuals were any less brave or efficient than anyone else. And why should it be otherwise. We all happily work alongside other folks these days without bothering too much about their private lives. And I would much rather share my civilian or military foxhole with a gay person than with an insecure homophobe who is obsessed by what other people might do in bed.
    And, of course, both Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, the signature poets of WW1, both wounded in action and winners of the Military Cross, were gay. Owen died in one of the final actions of the war leading his men storming the Ouse Canal having volunteered to return to the front.

    1. Your argument is a red herring. The issue is not the conduct of some individuals who practice homosexual behaviors. The issue is the effect on military society of the chain of command being unable to regulate homosexual behavior.

      If you contend that sexual behavior is irrelevant to military life you must be entirely unaware of the focus on sexual harassment in the modern, co-ed military.

      Two questions for you:

      1. There are currently restrictions on mixing of opposite sex service members (ex., male drill sergeant entering female recruit barracks w/o certain warnings) would you hold that it would also be a good idea to require homosexual service members to self-identify (and exactly how do we do that in a post-modern culture which celebrates fluid LGBT identities?) and be subject to the same restrictions (ex, “gay” male drill sergeants restricted from entering male recruit barracks)?

      2. Perhaps you would prefer that we go the other direction and abolish all divisions based on sex and sexual orientation Thus we would abolish all single sex barracks, latrines, showers, etc. and just rely on voluminous regulations on behavior (“an EEO officer in every platoon!!”)?

      It’s obvious that a dozen retired sergeant majors could have come up with better policies than all the Harvard drones and high-end coastal elite contributors who BHO recruited to construct the current, politically driven status quo.

      1. Isn’t is amazing how the Dutch and Israeli militaries can deal with all these things in a sensible way without getting their lace knickers in a knot.

        1. BTW, as has so often been pointed out, there were rather more Harvard educated folk in the GWB cabinet than in the present one. And BHO is hardly a high (or low) end “elite”. Unlike the silver-spoon Bush dynasty who in spite of their recent ‘good ol’ boy’ reinvention are archetypical high-end coastal elites.

        2. Didn’t see your answers to my two simple questions above. They should be “no-brainers” for anyone with even a slight first hand familiarity w/military life.

          1. I only answer sensible questions. As you say your questions are “no brainers”.

            1. Translation from popper: “I have no idea what life in the military is like and am lost w/o talking points from NPR”.

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