Troops based at the Kadena Air Base in Japan know how to party. On Saturday, six gay and straight service members applied some of their finest makeup and lip synced to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” in what is believed to be first drag queen and king show on an American military base. The show was thrown in support for the base’s recently formed OutServe-SLDN chapter, a nonprofit advocacy group for the army’s LGBT community.
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. 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 show was warmly received by spectators, who rocked out to performances by the likes of Manny Nuff and Chocolate Sunrise (“a crowd favorite,” the website notes.)
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. –Jordan Valinsky