Gay soldiers most poignantly symbolize the injustice of current laws regarding the rights of the LGBT community in the USA, namely, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). They are being treated as second-class citizens by the country they are serving and putting their lives at risk for. Gay Warriors documents this generation’s civil rights movement, with an intimate look at the individuals who are at the frontier of this battle for marriage equality.
These photographs of same-sex couples in the US military are a contemporary interpretation of the imagery of 17th century Flemish marriage portraits. These portraits, positioned within the politicized setting of their bedrooms, reveal the fragility, dignity and humanity of a community who have had to hide in the shadows until the historic repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in 2011. In reference to the traditional image of the war hero, the couples have been posited in a formal pose, to denote the respectability of their unions and their status as soldiers. Without breaking the formality of the portrait, subtle hand gestures symbolize their romantic and familial connections.