As of today, December 13th, 2010, a repeal of the heinous 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' act looks to be beyond hope. The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships while serving in the United States armed forces. Any person supporting this inhuman, impractical and absurd effort, rooted in religion, makes me about as mad as anything. I am humbled to publish a selection from Jo Ann's series 'Proud to Serve'.
'Proud to Serve' is a portrait project featuring Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) American service members who served their country in silence or were discharged under the current law, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.
There are roughly 65,000 gay service members currently serving in the armed forces. Since 1994, nearly 14,000 service members have been discharged for being gay. There are more than one million gay veterans.
Documentary photographer Jo Ann Santangelo is putting a human face on the statistics of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. Over the last two years she has visited the homes and documented the stories of these men and women. More than half of the portraits featured in 'Proud to Serve' took place on Jo Ann's recent, twenty-eight day, 10,167-mile road trip around the United States. All images are available in a self-published eighty-two page, full-color, limited edition photography book.
'Proud to Serve' is currently on exhibit at The LGBT Center 208 West 13th Street, NYC.
View the full screen magazine photo feature.
Corporal Robert Potter © Jo Ann Santangelo