On Friday of last week, the day after Veterans Day, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, even though a lower court had ruled that the law which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military is unconstitutional. It’s estimated that 66,000 gays and lesbians–or 2 percent of all U.S. military personnel–are currently serving our country. That’s 66,000 people who are making sacrifices, sometimes leaving their loved ones, and often risking their lives for a country that continues to tell them that their sexual orientation is a problem.
L.A.-based photographer Jeff Sheng has spent two years making portraits of a few of these 66,000 good men and women. His “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” photos were on display last week at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters in Washington, and they’re also available in book form.
Because of DADT, however, Sheng’s portraits are portraits where his subject’s faces have been blurred, obscured, shadowed, and hidden.
“If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits — their 20 years of service in the military would be gone,” Sheng said.
By hiding their faces, his subjects assume the posture of shame. The real shame isn’t in their sexual orientation, of course–it’s in the fact that an outrageously discriminatory law like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell continues to exist in this day and age.
Filed under: DADT, Discrimination, Discriminatory Laws, Don't Ask Don't Tell, Don't Ask Don't Tell Photographic Exhibit, Don't Ask Don't Tell Photography Exhibit, Equal Rights, Gays in the Military, Jeff Sheng, LGBT, LGBT Discrimination, Military Policy, Photographers, Repeal DADT, Shame, Shameful Laws, Supreme Court Upholds Don't Ask Don't Tell, U.S. Military, Veterans Day
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