Politicized Navy Sacrifices Recruitment, Ethics to Push LGBTQ Activism

Circumventing recruiters, impersonating reporters, and changing information all in service to an agenda.

June 1, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Today, government watchdog Functional Government Initiative (FGI) announced it has found troubling evidence of politicization and ethical impropriety in documents obtained from the Navy in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents come from the office of the Navy Chief Information Officer (CHINFO) and regard Navy preparations to participate in “Pride Month” in June 2022.

In a series of e-mails about modifying Navy shields and symbols with rainbow colors and the transgender flag, employees of the Navy Newsroom disparaged those who question the military’s role in pride month as “less savory members of our audience” and “bad actors.” Elsewhere in the documents, CHINFO personnel identified opponents of the military’s celebration of Pride Month as “bigots.” The staff also discussed how to evade objections to the LGBTQ modifications from within the Navy’s own Recruiting Command, with one employee suggesting giving the recruiters no notice of the changes until it was too late for any of the recruiters to express concerns.

In chat messages from May 5, 2022, a naval superior instructed a naval officer, prior to a news conference regarding their LGBTQ posts, to impersonate a reporter and ask questions to advance the agenda: “[Y]ou will act like a non‐navy Journalist. Please use your real name because I will not be able to remember fake names. You’re from [left-wing feminist site] Jezebel and will ask questions like: Before we get started, what is your gender identity and your preferred pronouns?”

Other suggested questions included, “IF THEIR GENDER IDENTIY IS DIFFERENT THAN THEIR OUTWARD IDENTITY: What hardships do you face being in uniform as a ______. Does the Navy and your peers allow you to be your true self?” and “How did you develop Harpy Daniels persona, what made you want to so openly tie her to your service?”

“Harpy Daniels” is the drag stage name of Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, whom the Navy recently named a “digital ambassador” to recruit young people.

The Navy also has issued conflicting statements about LGBTQ “safety transfers,” which can be made when stated concerns for the safety of service members and/or their dependents result in a permanent transfer prior to a normal projected rotation date.

Also, it appears that the armed services are offering solutions in search of problems. For example, amid a series of claims that state laws and policies are being enacted to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, branches of the military were prepared to consider requests for “safety transfers” to new duty stations for service members and their dependents if they felt unsafe or discriminated against on the basis of such state laws. Yet, the Navy candidly acknowledged to a reporter last June that it had not received any requests for safety transfers for reasons related to state laws or policies that may affect LGBTQ+ Service members or their dependents. However, two weeks later, a message to the same reporter said, “The Navy had 433 re‐assignments similar to safety transfers in FY21,” without additional detail about those re-assignments.

Peter McGinnis, spokesman for FGI, issued the following statement:

“It appears there are personnel in the U.S. Navy who believe promoting the LGBTQ agenda is more important than their ethical responsibilities to keep politics separate from their responsibilities in the military. Devising schemes to circumvent any input of recruiters while the armed forces suffer a recruiting crisis puts the nation at risk. Impersonating reporters as well as offering conflicting answers to inquiries are certainly nothing to be proud of regardless of what month it is.”