Joshua Kelley is out there snatching wigs and taking names of America’s enemies.
While serving as his squadron’s administrative supervisor on a ship in Yokosuka, Japan, Kelley, 24, also helps boost morale and entertain his fellow crew members as he performs as Miss Harpy Daniels.
The Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department often puts on events to combat the effects of spending long days and nights at sea. One such event is a lip-sync battle, in which Harpy Daniels absolutely slays.
“Once I made it into the [lip-sync competition’s] finals, I asked to perform every night,” Kelley told NBC News, adding that second place even landed him a $1,000 Navy Exchange gift card.
Kelley, who joined the Navy two years ago, was inspired by VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, and after he started to dress and perform, so did his twin brother. “When I told my parents about me doing drag, they were worried,” he said. “They were like, ‘Why are you going around dressing as a woman?’”
However, Kelley’s father, who was also a member of the Navy, had a change of heart when he saw his son perform as Harpy Daniels at a Bloomsburg University event in Pennsylvania.
“He cried and said, ‘I didn’t know what this was. I didn’t know it was all this joy,’” Kelley told the outlet.
“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,” said Kelley, whose Instagram description reads, “Serving my country by day, serving looks by night.” “No one tells me I’m too feminine. I’ve not once had a bad experience as a gay man in the military.”
At the end of the day, Yeoman 3rd Class Kelley hopes he can serve as an example to others and that other young people won’t conform to societal pressure. “It’s a reflection of who you are and what your creativity is,” he said. “I want a young person to see me and think, ‘You’re serving your country, and still doing what you love.’”
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