Earlier this month, on Saturday, Nov. 4, the Marine Corps held its annual ball at the military base in Albany, Georgia. And believe it or not, in attendance was an alum of RuPaul’s Drag Race! That’s right — Kelly Mantle and her Marine boyfriend, James, dressed in their finest and turned heads at the 242nd Annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball Celebration.
Every year the Marine Corps Ball is a black-tie affair offering dinner, music, dancing and the cutting of a ceremonial birthday cake in honor of the Marine Corps. Marines and civilians are in attendance.
This year’s ball of course occurred after Donald Trump had made statements on Twitter (in July) regarding a ban of trans soldiers from the military, “in any capacity.” In late October, though, a U.S. District Court Judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, blocked Trump’s ban, calling it “not genuinely based on legitimate concerns regarding military effectiveness or budget constraints, but are instead driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally.”
That blocking of Trump’s trans military ban was fresh on the minds of America when this year’s Marines Ball occurred, during which Kelly Mantle — presenting as a woman — and her boyfriend James danced the night away.
“The reaction was overwhelmingly positive,” Mantle tells Hornet exclusively. “I met so many of his fellow Marines and their significant others, and everyone was so welcoming and warm and happy for us. There were also a few Drag Race fans there that recognized me from the show. That was funny.”
Mantle says the night was “a blast.” The decision to attend was an easy one as well.
“He asked me to go to the Marine Corps Ball with him pretty soon after we met,” Mantle tells us. (The two met earlier this year and “fell head over heels for each other.”) “There was no hesitation on either of our parts. I immediately said, ‘Hell yeah!'”
Mantle says it was an experience never to be forgotten.
“We had a blast,” Mantle says. “It was like being in a fairy tale, and it gives me hope that society continues to move forward. James is an amazing man, and it’s an honor to be with him.”
Images courtesy of Kelly Mantle