Photography by Tatjana Plitt
At left: Kershunda (Army, retired) and Keyana (Army) with Larry and Tajuan
Not so long ago, photographs like these, evidence that military personnel had same- sex partners, could have been grounds for an honorable discharge. Many went to great lengths to hide important aspects of their lives, including whole families, to stay in the military.
Since 2012, when Australian-born artist Tatjana Plitt began looking for post–“don’t ask, don’t tell” military families for a “Gay Warriors” photo series, she’s had little trouble finding subjects willing to take part in portraits that pay homage to 17th-century family portraiture. “I came to understand that for many, being a soldier was as much a part of their identity as being gay or lesbian, and they didn’t want to have to choose between the two,” she says. Plitt’s series was exhibited in Amsterdam as one of the winners of the Photo Pride Award in 2013.