Six gay and straight service members March 1 applied some of their finest makeup and lip synced to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” in what is believed to be first drag queen and king show on an American military base.
The concert too took place in the Rocker NCO Club, which is located within the air base itself.
The show was in support for the base’s recently formed OutServe-SLDN chapter, a nonprofit advocacy group for the army’s LGBT community.
Just a few years ago, performances like these would have been grounds for a possible discharge. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has made it possible for events like this to occur.
Historically after its repeal, there have been many gay marriage ceremonies and potluck gatherings on U.S. bases in support of the LGBT movement.
However, Stars & Stripes reports this is the first time service members took to the stage and performed as drag kings and queens on a military installation in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops, reported inquisitr.com.
Navy Lt. Marissa Greene told Stars and Stripes she only expected to sell 75 tickets for the variety show, but ended up selling more than 400 in ten days.
Greene, co-chapter leader of OutServe Okinawa, said “We didn’t think there was much of a desire for an event like this on the island but it has actually blown up.” To her surprise, 200 tickets were bought immediately, so another 200 were issued.
The event went through the same approval process as other on-base fundraisers go through, with the only caveat being that it was not allowed to be labeled a “drag show” in its publicity materials.
The event was approved as a “variety show” by Kadena’s 18th Wing through the same process as other on-base fundraisers.
OutServe avoided partaking in anything political, but the fundraiser does come at a pivotal time for gay civil rights in the United States. At this moment, numerous US states are debating on the topic of legalizing or not legalizing gay marriage along with the arguments of individual liberties.
This also shows the direction the military has gone. If a drag show were to happen on base ten, or even five years ago, it would be looked upon with disdain. The offense would probably be enough firepower for a dishonorable discharge, reported inquisitr.com.
Not everyone is happy about the drag show. Right Wing News gave a very scathing article calling the performance “disgusting.”
The show was warmly received by spectators, who rocked out to performances by the likes of Manny Nuff and Chocolate Sunrise, the theweek.com reported.
Kadena Air Base is the hub of airpower in the Pacific, and home to the Air Force’s largest combat wing — the 18th Wing — and a variety of associate units. Together they form “Team Kadena” mode up of nearly 18,000 Americans and more than 4,000 Japanese employees and contractors.
You can watch some interviews and clips from the concert in this video here:
Source: theweek.com, inquisitr.com