LGBT troops perform on military installation

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Gay, lesbian troops perform in drag at Kadena Air Base fundraiser

By Travis J. Tritten | Stars and Stripes

militaryloveKADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Since the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, U.S. military bases have hosted a gay marriage ceremonies and a potluck gatherings. But on Saturday, servicemembers here may have been the first to take to the stage and perform as drag queens on a military installation in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops.

Drag queens and drag kings, to be precise.

Six servicemembers — gay, lesbian and straight — donned heavy makeup to dance and lip sync songs such as “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” for a raucous capacity crowd at the Rocker NCO Club at Kadena Air Base. The event was a fundraiser for the recently formed Okinawa chapter of OutServe-SLDN, which is the largest nonprofit advocate for the military’s LGBT community.

“We didn’t think there was much of a desire for an event like this on the island but it has actually blown up,” said Navy Lt. Marissa Greene, co-chapter leader of OutServe Okinawa.

Greene said she had hoped to sell about 75 tickets to fund some future support activities for the group, which was formed last summer and still “starting from scratch.” The event was approved as a “variety show” by Kadena’s 18th Wing through the same process as other on-base fundraisers.

But an initial 200 tickets were plucked up almost immediately, so they issued another 200.

“We ended up selling 400 tickets in 10 days,” she said.

Amid the unexpected success, OutServe carefully avoided any mention of politics, but its variety show comes at a pivotal time for gay civil rights in the United States, with many states passing laws dealing with marriage or debating individual liberties.

It is also a sign of the times within the military; just a few years ago, gay and lesbian drag performances on a military base would have been unthinkable and potentially a cause for dismissal from the service.

The repeals of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act — the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages — have allowed gays and lesbians in the military to be open with their sexuality for the first time.

The historic shift appears to be mostly accepted and embraced throughout the ranks despite warnings the DADT repeal could harm order and good discipline.

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.

The advocacy group agreed to avoid using the term “drag show” as part of its on-base fundraiser effort.

Tech. Sgt. Kristen Baker, who was among the crowd, said the show got a warm reception and would leave a mark for civil rights.

“Everything is just accepted. It makes me really proud to watch it,” Baker said. In the military, “we are all brothers and sisters no matter what.”

9 Comments on “LGBT troops perform on military installation”

  1. crystal

    Wow….. I don’t know what to say. I guess all I can say is I sure wish Christ hurry up and comes with the shout of the Arch Angel…..

  2. ImaniL

    What the shigidy! It’s one thing to proclaim your sexuality but for the US Armed Force to allow a lesbian and Gay performance to take place in a climate that continue to grapple with the mere acceptance is hard to fathom.

  3. ImaniL

    It’s one thing to proclaim one’s sexuality but it becomes something else when gays and lesbians are allowed to parade in an environment that promotes strength, and more importantly in a climate that continues to grapple with the morality of this issue. Whatever happen to discretion?

  4. george harrison

    True story, one city in the US reduced it police force by fifty percent, now one this city’s notorious high crime community is being ran by gangs and drug dealers who are openly running their activities (Camden, N.J.). Now I say that to say this, U.S. need strength to have peace. Reducing our military will only encourage thug leaders from Muslim countries, N.Korea, Russia, and China to invade other countries and increase their military will throughout the world. POTUS is not a leader but a spokesman for those who put him in power and those who will take care of him once he leaves office. His sponsors think a liberal agenda of changing tradition of family, school, religion, military and geopolitics will benefit USA, this agenda is the path of ungodliness and fall our of society.

  5. RSimms

    SMH….

    This is SICK. Thank God I’m no longer in the military.

    Homosexuals have always served in the military and I knew a few; however, they were in the CLOSET. One has since retired and is out, proud, and married his partner; the other made a pass at the wrong man and was forced to retire.

    This perversion should not be celebrated; it should remain in the CLOSET!

    Lord Jesus, PLEASE, come quickly.

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