Here's a nice window into the post-DADT American military: gay, lesbian and straight service members recently staged a drag show on Okinawa's Kadena Air Base. A few years ago, they might've faced disciplinary action or even been booted from the military; instead, they got a friendly writeup in Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the armed services.
The show, at an NCO club on the base, was staged as a fundraiser for the local chapter of OutServe-SLDN, a nonprofit serving LGBT members of the military. Organizers hoped to sell 75 tickets, according to Stars and Stripes (via the Week), but they ended up selling 400—a packed house—within just 10 days.
Stars and Stripes reports:
On Saturday night, the Rocker club was packed for performances by servicemembers using stage names such as Chocolate Sunrise – a crowd favorite — and Artemis Faux. The event's sole lesbian performer took the drag king name Manny Nuff.
Performances included "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and Adam Lambert's "If I Had You."
It sounds like the organizers kept the show pretty apolitical—it was approved by base honchos as a "variety show," rather than a "drag show"—but it's still a pretty radical landmark. It's not the first time American troops have performed in drag, but it's very likely the first time out gay service members felt safe doing so. "The historic shift appears to be mostly accepted and embraced throughout the ranks despite warnings the DADT repeal could harm order and good discipline," Stars and Stripes notes.
"Everything is just accepted. It makes me really proud to watch it," gushed attendee Tech. Sgt. Kristen Baker.
Cue Fox News freakout in 3, 2, ....