Moving: Photographer Showcases Gays In US Military In New Book

Moving: Photographer Showcases Gays In US Military In New Book [LOOK]

By HuffPost on March 21, 2014
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Victor Fehrenbach, Boise, ID 2011 Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, 1991-2011 Retired. F-15E Fighter Pilot. Tours of duty in Iraq (including Operation Iraqi Freedom), Kuwait and Afghanistan, 88 combat missions, 400 combat hours; successfully fought DADT after coming out on Rachel Maddow show in 2009

Documentary photographer Vincent Cianni offers a stark and stunning look at gay and lesbian service members in his forthcoming book, Gays in the Military.

Cianni’s collection, which is slated for an April 30 release and published by Daylight Books, follows American military officers who faced enormous challenges before (and during) the days of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” (DADT) as well as their subsequent journey following the controversial legislation’s 2011 repeal.

dustin and zacZachary Werth (Specialist, Idaho Army National Guard, 2007-2010) and Dustin Hiersekorn (Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 2010), Boise, Idaho 2011 Werth received a general discharge under honorable conditions, erroneous enlistment; used as a smokescreen for homosexuality, while Hiersekorn was discharged for medical reasons two weeks after enlisting.

Cianni told The Huffington Post that he traveled through the U.S. from November 2009 to June 2013, during which he shot photographs and recorded oral histories of roughly 100 gay and lesbian service members and veterans, all of which recounted the impact that the ban on serving openly had on their careers in the armed forces and lives afterward.

“The effort to gain their trust was a delicate process and the resolve to achieve it proved fruitful in many ways, particularly on a personal level,” Cianni, who is based in Newburgh, N.Y., said. “I remember leaving each time as emotionally drained as they were, recognizing how horrible some of their experiences were and what personal sacrifices they made.”

gays in the military 2Victor Fehrenbach — Boise, Idaho 2011 (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force, 1991-2011) Retired F-15E Fighter Pilot. Tours of duty in Iraq (including Operation Iraqi Freedom), Kuwait, and Afghanistan; 88 combat missions, 400 combat hours; successfully fought DADT after coming out on Rachel Maddow’s show in 2009.

Cianni usually shot the photographs after the interviews were conducted, so by then, the photographer and his subjects “had created our own brief history, of intimacy and vulnerability.”

“I hope these photographs and interviews honor their lives in service to their country and stand as a testament to everyone’s right to choose to serve our country based on our beliefs and in a way we see fit,” he said.

gays in the military Debra Fowler — Lowell, Mass. 2013 (Specialist, U.S. Army, 1986-1988) Korean Linguist. Defense Language Institute Soldier’s Award; dishonorable discharge, fraudulent entry; outed when being investigated for top-secret security clearance.

Check out a selection of Cianni’s incredible photographs below, and read more about his work here.

Donald Bramer -- Washington, D.C. 2011 LIEUTENANT O-3, U.S. NAVY (2002–PRESENT) Intelligence Officer. Top-secret security clearance; multiple deployments to the Middle East; numerous medals and commendations from combat operations; provided anonymous testimony during the hearings to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell."
Donald Bramer — Washington, D.C. 2011
LIEUTENANT O-3, U.S. NAVY (2002–PRESENT)
Intelligence Officer. Top-secret security clearance; multiple deployments to the Middle East; numerous medals and commendations from combat operations; provided anonymous testimony during the hearings to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Eric Alva -- San Antonio, Texas 2011 STAFF SERGEANT E-5, U.S. MARINE CORPS, (1991-2004) Retired. Honorable discharge; first U.S. military casualty in Operation Iraqi Freedom; Purple Heart recipient; Presidential Unit Citation; advocate for equal rights.
Eric Alva — San Antonio, Texas 2011
STAFF SERGEANT E-5, U.S. MARINE CORPS, (1991-2004)
Retired. Honorable discharge; first U.S. military casualty in
Operation Iraqi Freedom; Purple Heart recipient; Presidential
Unit Citation; advocate for equal rights.
Katie Miller -- New Haven, Conn. 2011 U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT (2008-2010) Resigned commission on moral grounds
Katie Miller — New Haven, Conn. 2011
U.S. MILITARY ACADEMY, WEST POINT (2008-2010)
Resigned commission on moral grounds
Mary Harris and Vonda Todd -- Austin, Texas 2012 For Todd: SECOND LIEUTENANT, SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD (1983-1988) MAJOR, U.S. ARMY RESERVE, (1998-2012) Quartermaster, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Retired For Harris: MAJOR, U.S. ARMY, (1982-1987) AND U.S. ARMY RESERVE (1988-2002) Adjutant Generals Corps, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Retired Both came under scrutiny and underwent questioning in an investigation based on their health insurance beneficiary forms and shared home address.
Mary Harris and Vonda Todd — Austin, Texas 2012
For Todd: SECOND LIEUTENANT, SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD (1983-1988)
MAJOR, U.S. ARMY RESERVE, (1998-2012)
Quartermaster, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Retired
For Harris: MAJOR, U.S. ARMY, (1982-1987) AND U.S. ARMY RESERVE (1988-2002)
Adjutant Generals Corps, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Retired
Both came under scrutiny and underwent questioning in an
investigation based on their health insurance beneficiary forms
and shared home address.
Matt McCary -- Orange Park, Florida 2011 AIRMAN FIRST CLASS E-3, U.S. AIR FORCE (1998-2000) Intelligence Specialist. Honorable discharge; put under arrest after being singled out by coworker; discharged within five days with no investigation.
Matt McCary — Orange Park, Florida 2011
AIRMAN FIRST CLASS E-3, U.S. AIR FORCE (1998-2000)
Intelligence Specialist. Honorable discharge; put under arrest after being singled out by coworker; discharged within five days with no investigation.
Paul Goercke -- San Francisco, 2012 MESSMAN/STAFF OFFICER, U.S. MERCHANT MARINES (1944-1945). World War II Veteran. Served in Okinawa, Ie-Shima Island, Hawaii, and Saipan
Paul Goercke — San Francisco, 2012
MESSMAN/STAFF OFFICER, U.S. MERCHANT MARINES (1944-1945).
World War II Veteran. Served in Okinawa, Ie-Shima Island, Hawaii, and Saipan
Tim Thomas -- Douglasville, Ga. 2011 U.S. NAVY (1981-1985)
Tim Thomas — Douglasville, Ga. 2011
U.S. NAVY (1981-1985)

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