PHOTOS: Portraits of 'Gay Warriors' in a Post-DADT World

The end of "don't ask, don't tell" hasn't meant the end of discrimination against military families.



"Zachary & Marvin"


It wasn't long ago that gay and lesbian soldiers had to hide their families.

Now Photographer Tatjana Plitt wants to travel the country to finish her series of portraits called "Gay Warriors" — a look at members of the military and their home lives. She says the pictures help draw attention to the discrimination these families still endure as a result of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the military from recognizing their marriages and equalizing benefits.

The Advocate spoke with Plitt about the series, about her Kickstarter campaign to support the project, and why the photos are often taken in bedrooms. Check out more of her photos on the following pages.

The Advocate: What were you doing before this project, and what suddenly inspired you to take military portraits?
The focus of my art practice has always been portraiture. I am interested in how cultural narratives impact the lived experience, emotions, desires, relationships and identities of the people I photograph. Before this current project, I was working on a series of portraits based on the imagery of Harlequin romance novels, in which real couples performed a highly staged, climactic romantic moment in their own domestic spaces. I turned to taking portraits of same-sex military couples because the challenging situation they are currently in gives us a powerful opportunity to re-examine our cultural narratives around marriage and family. Although "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed in 2011, same-sex couples in the military still face discrimination from the very country they are fighting to protect. The Defense of Marriage Act and some Department of Defense policies prevent these soldiers and their families from being entitled to the protections, benefits and responsibilities their heterosexual counterparts automatically receive.

Tags: Military