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.



"Steve & Josh Snyder-Hill"

What’s your personal connection to the military?
I have an uncle who served in the military for 26 years and a cousin who has been serving for 15 years. Having seen first hand the emotional and financial strain it put on the whole family, I cannot imagine how much more difficult it is for same-sex couples, who do not have access to the additional support military families need to cope with the stress that comes with military service.
When you’re setting up a portrait, what is the message you’re trying to send with the staging?
I have photographed most of these couples in the intimacy of their bedrooms because it is the site that is up for debate, essentially. Sexuality is respected as private in the lives of other citizens, but has been politicized and made a cause for discrimination for same-sex couples. By welcoming viewers into the controversial space that has been deemed taboo and "alternative," these couples invite viewers to connect with them and their families, and to see that there are fewer differences in their love, affection, hopes and dreams, than people might imagine.

Also, I have based the portraits on the historic imagery of 17th century marriage and family portraits. The function of a marriage portrait was to legitimize a couple's marriage, as the formal and legal structures we have today did not yet exist. These paintings also served to celebrate the nobility, respectability and wealth of this new family union. In the same way, my portraits celebrate the respectability and validity of these same-sex couples and provide a contemporary take on the notion of traditional marriage and family.

Tags: Military