Gays in the Military Hardcover – 30 Apr 2014
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About the Author
Documentary photographer Vincent Cianni graduated from Penn State university, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and SUNY New Paltz. He teaches photography at Parsons The New School of Design, NYC. He currently lives in Newburgh, NY. Cianni s documentary work explores community and memory, the human condition, and the use of image and text. His photographs have been exhibited at Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Nasher Museum, Photographers Gallery, London; the 7th International Photography Festival in Mannheim; and the George Eastman House. A major survey of his work was exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York in 2006.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Vincent Cianni has offered us a collection of images of gays in the military - a reminder of how ludicrous that now defunct ban was. The photos are just people but people who have suffered, been denied privileges, discarded by the military, or older veterans who reflect on how life was while enlisted and life since the United States military's ban on openly gay service members ended two and a half years ago, its demise one in a succession of triumphs for gay rights. But for more than two centuries, homosexual conduct was a punishable offense in the armed forces. An Nathaniel Frank of the NY Times has written, ` Although "don't ask, don't tell" was supposed to be a step forward -- the compromise reached after President Bill Clinton's failed effort in 1993 to end the ban altogether -- in many ways it made things worse, prompting a new fixation on sexual orientation in the military that contributed to spiking rates of harassment and expulsion of gay and lesbian troops. The closet began to crumble well before Congress ended the military's anti-gay policy. As a result of the rising expectations gay people had about their right to be open and equal, thousands of troops had already come out to their unit mates notwithstanding the law. But even as the culture changed both outside and inside the military, the continued threat of expulsion meant that harassment could not be reported and resolved without risk of being outed and discharged. It meant that intimacy and even friendship were often casualties of the need to conceal. The images in this book were begun while "don't ask, don't tell" was still in place, the project is an apt coda to an experience marked by an evolution from darkness into light. And the shadows and exposures of photography make it the ideal medium to give visibility and humanity to the sacrifices of gays and lesbians in uniform. "I would hope that my service mattered to someone," says one young soldier in an interview. Mr. Cianni shows that it does, and, with an eye toward history, helps give gays and lesbians who valiantly served, finally, their day in the sun.'
This book is an homage to legions of soldiers who struggled but it is also a sensitive lesson in human rights. If only every citizen could read and see this book....Grady Harp, December 14