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Photographic portraits and oral histories investigate effects of military’s ban on LGBT service members and veterans lives and careers

PLEASE NOTE: A few people have been noting that they are having difficulty when trying to donate on-line, the pledge couldn't go through.  In my correspondence with Kickstarter people, they recommended to refresh your browser, try a different browser or contact Kickstarter directly.  Go to this link to rectify any problems: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backer+questions#Trou

THE PROJECT: 

“Gays in the Military: How America Thanked Me” exposes the effects of the military’s ban on the lives and careers of LGBT service members. Combining photographs, text and audio, this body of work investigates the discrimination, harassment, civil and human rights abuses that have taken place, and the brave individuals who have risen above injustices. In Spring 2014, Daylight Books will publish "Gays in the Military" as a hardcover, 160 page, English language book. Your contribution will help cover the post-production, pre-press, design and print costs to make this book a reality. The book includes 80 duotone photographs, interview excerpts, an essay by Alison Devine Nordstrom, curator-at-large at the George Eastman House, and a forward by Don Bramer, one of the subjects who appears in the publication. 

Over a period of three years, I traveled across the United States recording oral histories and making portraits of approximately 120 gay and lesbian veterans and service members. Subjects come from varied socio-economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds and from all ranks in the military. They include World War II and Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, discharged and retired service members, recent enlistees and active duty personnel. The narratives recount incidents of unjust protocols; unrestricted interpretations of the law; prolonged interrogations leading to cognitive and psychological damage; hazing; sexual harassment, violent rape and abuse; mandatory outings of fellow service members; profiling, blackmail, betrayal and verbal abuse. After the repeal of DADT, I also photographed discharged service members who chose to re-enlist or were re-instated, and those who continued to serve in the closet, to investigate how their lives and work environment have changed post-DADT.

"I was interviewed over and over about the most sensitive and personal matters I have ever been compelled to discuss against my will." Rene Pedraza del Prado, Potomac, MD, 2010
"I was interviewed over and over about the most sensitive and personal matters I have ever been compelled to discuss against my will." Rene Pedraza del Prado, Potomac, MD, 2010

"Gays in the Military: How America Thanked Me" represents the thousands of men and women who have suffered from or have risen above injustices. The book will give visibility to and honor the lives of these courageous men and women who chose to serve their country despite the obstacles. It is intended to reach a larger audience and be used as a catalyst for advocacy and activism to advance equal rights in the LGBT and military communities.

The original material will be housed as a photography and oral history project at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, along with my other documentary work, as well as in repositories that focus on LGBT history and culture. Fovea Exhibitions, Beacon, NY and Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, IL have exhibited the project and the material has been used for advocacy by organizations working directly with affected service members to effectively impact the lives of LGBT veterans and the lives of those who know them. I have presented the work in panel discussions, as an article in the Journal of Lesbian and Gay Mental Health and as part of the symposium, Bringing the Uniform Out of the Closet at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. In addition, Gays in the Military: How America thanked Me is the catalyst and material for  developing workshops that will engage veterans and civilians in meaningful conversations on these issues as part of the Veterans-Civilian Dialogue at Intersections, Inc., an organization that focuses on forging a common ground for social global justice. 

THE PUBLISHER:

Daylight, a non-profit organization founded by Michael Itkoff and Taj Forer, is dedicated to publishing art and photography books. By exploring the documentary mode along with the more conceptual concerns of fine-art, Daylight’s uniquely collectible publications work to revitalize the relationship between art, photography, and the world-at-large. 

HELP SUPPORT THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK: 

In 2011, I conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign to help support travel costs to interview and photograph the subjects.  In the interim, I have been editing and printing the photographs, transcribing the interviews and editing the audio pieces at considerable personal expense and with the help of interns and students who In teach at Parsons, the New School for Design.  

The Kickstarter funds will help to cover expenses for:

* scanning negatives and retouching and correcting the digital files for reproduction in the book

* completing the transcriptions of and editing audio interviews

* printing costs

* design and editorial services   

Backing this campaign will ensure that an important historical record and documentary project will be published and be seen by many to open up conversations about equality in the larger LGBT community and in society at large. The rewards attached to the various backer levels have been carefully selected and, in addition, Talking Eyes Media is the fiscal sponsor for this project, so your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law. If you choose not to take the reward attached to any of the backer levels, your entire contribution will be considered tax-deductible.

Kickstarter backers will be the first to be updated regularly on the progress of the publication with written notices, photographs, videos and notifications via Kickstarter.  Also, backers will be the first to receive news of the publication of the book, and any book launch events and exhibitions that are associated with the publication of the book.   

WHO IS TALKING EYES MEDIA?

Talking Eyes Media (TEM) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a long history of producing powerful media for pressing issues as documentary films, multimedia, books and exhibitions that stimulate dialogue and advocate for positive social change.

TEM was founded in 2002 by Julie Winokur and Ed Kashi and has been at the forefront of multimedia storytelling, generating award-winning projects.  Their work has been nominated for two Emmy Awards and has won numerous awards from World Press, Pictures of the Year, the National Press Club. 

Keith Kerr, Santa Rosa, CA 2010. Colonel, U.S. Army/Army Reserve, 1953-1986. Brigadier General, California State Military Reserve, 1986-1991. Retired; came out publicly in 2003 on the 10th Anniversary of DADT.
Keith Kerr, Santa Rosa, CA 2010. Colonel, U.S. Army/Army Reserve, 1953-1986. Brigadier General, California State Military Reserve, 1986-1991. Retired; came out publicly in 2003 on the 10th Anniversary of DADT.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

Since the success of any Kickstarter campaign is reaching out to as many people as possible, I ask you to please share this project via social media (Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.) as many times as you feel comfortable, and join me in contributing to the history of one of the most significant civil rights issues of our time, LGBT equality.

THE INKJET AND LIMITED EDITION REWARDS:

For reward levels of $50, $150 and $250, the 5x7" inkjet print will be an image of Duane Michals in his New York City apartment (or a choice of your own) in addition to the other rewards at each respective level:

Duane Michals, New York City, 2012
Duane Michals, New York City, 2012

Limited edition inkjet and archival gelatin silver prints in 8x10", 11x14" and 16x20" sizes can be selected from the following images (or a non-limited edition image of your choice) for the $500 and above reward levels (in addition to the other rewards at each respective level):

The reward at the $10,000 level, a signed 30x40" limited edition archival silver gelatin print (including mounting, framing and delivery) can be selected from the following photographs that were exhibited at the Stephen Daiter Gallery September - December, 2012 (along with the other rewards offered at this level):

NEW SPECIAL REWARDS AT THE $850, $600 AND $450 LEVELS (see the descriptions below and in the rewards section):

NOTA BENE:

Keep coming back to view this campaign for periodic additions and incentives to the rewards listed!!!!

As always, with any campaign, there are hidden costs with Kickstarter fees, production and shipping costs of the rewards and Amazon Payments fees. The stated goal of $32,500 is the minimum needed to cover expenses and to ensure the publication of the book. If you can contribute above the stated reward level to help raise additional funds for other costs, it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

In 2004, "We Skate Hardcore" was published by New York University Press and the Center for Documentary Studies. I successfully conducted a fund-raising campaign raising over $20,000 for its publication BEFORE crowd funding was even developed (and certainly before the term was coined). In addition, I had a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund travel and photographic expenses for photographing the subjects of "Gays in the Military". Every backer received their rewards in advance of the stated deadline and the project was successfully completed, exhibited, published in online journals (see link below) and periodicals.

A contract will be signed in August, 2013 with Daylight Books as soon as money is raised for the publication of the book and I will alert all backers when this is confirmed. If more money is raised, over and above the requested amount, an additional dvd with the edited audio interviews will be included with the book.

I do not foresee any obstacles to its publication. The project is NOT in-progress. The photography and interviewing have been completed and the transcribing and scanning is 50% complete, so backers can be assured that this campaign, when funded, will be successful and the book will be published and all rewards will be honored.

For more information on my previous campaign and to see how I have continually kept in touch with backers even until now, please see: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/449408681/gays-in-the-military-how-america-thanked-me/posts

FAQ

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    14 backers

    A personal thank you written on a 4x6" postcard from the Gays in the Military series

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    15 backers

    A personal thank you, a set of three signed 4x6" postcards from the Gays in the Military series sent to you in a sealed envelope to protect the postcards.

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    14 backers

    A personal thank you, a set of three signed 4x6" postcards and a 5x7" signed inkjet print from the Gays in the Military series sent to you in a padded envelope to protect the postcards/print.

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    A personal thank you on a postcard and a signed copy of Gays in the Military: How America Thanked Me, published by Daylight Books.

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    A personal thank you, a set of three signed 4x6" post cards, a 5x7" signed inkjet print from the project, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book and a mention on the Acknowledgements page.

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    A personal thank you, a set of signed postcards, a 5x7" signed inkjet print from the project, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book, a mention on the Acknowledgements page AND an invitation to a private book-signing party in NYC (travel expenses not included).

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    Two Young Men, circa 1865. (Anonymous) Beautiful 1/4 plate hand tinted ambrotype in its original leather case and gilt frame with embossed red velvet on facing side. Recessed in a black velvet mat with black wooden frame. See image and description in the main text. (Includes rewards at the $75 level)

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    A personal thank you, set of postcards, signed copy of the Gays in the Military book with a signed 8x10" limited edition inkjet print from the project, a SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page AND an invitation to a private book-signing party in NYC.

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    The Douglas Brothers, "Boxer II, Miami", 1993. Gelatin silver lith print. Edition 3/25. 16x13". Signed on verso and photographers' blindstamp on recto. Matted. See image and description in the main text. (Includes rewards at the $100 level)

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    Bill Burke, "Two Boys, One Drinks, near Phnom Penh, 1988. Gelatin silver print from 3.25 x 4.25 Polaroid negative. Signed with photographer's stamps on verso. Matted. See image and description in the main text. (Includes rewards at the $150 level.)

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    A personal thank you, a set of postcards, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book with a signed 11x14" limited edition inkjet print from the project, a SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page in the book AND an invitation to a private book-signing party in NYC or a private 2-hour portfolio review session in your home/my studio (travel expenses not included)

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    A personal thank you written on a postcard, a set of signed postcards, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book with a signed 11x14" limited edition archival silver gelatin print from the project, a SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page, an invitation to a private book-signing party and a pre-book signing dinner in NYC.

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    A personal thank you written on a postcard, a set of three signed postcards, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book with a signed 16x20" limited edition archival silver gelatin print from the project, a VERY SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page in the book, an invitation to a private book-signing party and pre-book signing dinner in NYC.

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    A personal thank you on a postcard, a set of signed postcards, a signed copy of the Gays in the Military book with a signed 16x20" limited edition archival silver gelatin print from the project, a SUPER SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page in the book AND an invitation to a private book-signing party and pre-book signing dinner in NYC AND a portrait session in your home/my studio (travel expenses not included)

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    A personal thank you on a postcard, a set of signed postcards, a signed copy of Gays in the Military with a signed 30x40" limited edition archival silver gelatin print (mounting, framing and delivery included), a SUPER PERSONAL SPECIAL MENTION on the Acknowledgements page in the book, an invitation to a private book-signing party and pre-book signing dinner in NYC and a portrait session in your home/my studio (travel expenses not included)

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Funding period

- (29 days)