Active-Duty Drag Queens Find Home With Air Force Musical Ensemble
LACKLAND AFB, TX - After a year following the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), Air Force Tops in Blue has seen a 500% increase in the amount of tryouts.
Tops in Blue, billed as "the Air Force's Premier Entertainment Showcase," is a group of amateur and active duty entertainers who travel the world entertaining troops in-theater and at Air Force Balls, military conferences, and RV shows. The music ensemble continues to delight many rent-a-crowds looking for Branson-style entertainment, full of over-the-top theatrics and shiny sequins along with the best covers of the music hits of today and yesterday.
"We have seen a tremendous increase in the interest in our program," said Master Sergeant Stephen Rodriguez, Tops in Blue program manager. "We have had so much interest lately that for the first time in our 60 year history we have actually had legitimate tryouts."
"For many years we had 'open' auditions," Rodriguez said, "and we would only have 3 or 4 people trying to fill 6 spots. This year we have had 26 people, all guys, auditioning. And the candidates are much more eager to push boundaries and bring more style to their tryouts."
Rodriguez mentioned the newest crop of tryouts have great experience in the small musical stage.
"These guys are very good at doing their own makeup. And they bring their own elaborate costumes full of glitter and sequins," Rodriguez said. "When they perform, they become someone else who is not afraid of putting it out there."
"I am not sure why these guys have waited for so long to tryout," Rodriguez wondered aloud. "It seems like they have so much experience in performing in front of raucous, drunk crowds."
"A lot of us trying out this year have drag queen experience," Staff Sergeant Timothy Dreyer, "and we are excited to finally bring this experience to the Air Force, the only place we can be so fabulously gay."
SSgt Dreyer has been serving with the Air Force for 8 years and this has been his first tryout. The 28 year-old has been a drag queen for 10 years. Dreyer says they have gotten full acceptance from Tops in Blue due to the already high level of gayness.
"Tops in Blue is so gay it makes Glee look like monster truck rally," said Dreyer. "Now that DADT is gone, folk are going to flock to Tops in Blue like lonely housewives flocking to real housewife shows on Bravo."
There have been some disappointments as well.
"We have had some guys show up," Rodriguez said, "and once they see what they are facing then they decide to not tryout."
"Yeah a few guys were disappointed when they showed up to find out Tops in Blue was not what they thought it was," Dryer said.