Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jesse Gard by Jim Wilkinson

'Patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.'
President Barack Obama

At times I wondered if it would ever happen and often questioned Obama's (as I still do) commitment and strength to really push for change, but as of Tuesday, Don't Ask, Don't Tell officially finally came to an end.

I have an annoying propensity to look at things from all sides and DADT has never been an they/us issue to me. The issue is actually quite simple, an issue of rights. The way in which it has been portrayed however has made incredibly complicated. As much as many in society want to paint every gay person with the same brush, many also painted the entire military with a brush that equally did not fit. I just hope that sometime/somehow everyone who lost their jobs, their future, are compensated in some way. The military represents society and our society in general is so far behind many other countries in the world in how we prioritize human rights. Rights for not just for gays but for women, other cultures, the poor, the handicapped,the elderly, those who not meet the media's standard of beauty. We really have so far to go.

Can't think of any better images to celebrate the occasion than these shots above of model Jesse Gard by Jim Wilkinson Images. I have profiled Jim's work before, first with his amazing work with incredible Eric Glenn. The two shots of Jesse above are from Jim's Naked Truth series and book. Naked Truth, Exposing Men's Souls, turns a light on many of the hidden, and not so hidden, emotions and fears our community shares.

Exposing is central to Jim's work, exposing the body, mind and most importantly soul. Jim's images are not just about what a man looks like, they are about who that man is. 27 year old Jesse from Everett, Washington, wasn't just sending a message with the words painted on his body, as a former member of the air force, the message he was sending he knows well. Now ex-military, Jesse is currently focusing on his education, studying at the Art Institute of Seattle.

'He's very easy going, great to work with and not the least bit shy. He'sone of the most open men I've worked with, as far as being really comfortable in his skin.'

Check out much of or Jesse and more of Jim's work on Jim's blog HERE:

Jim Wilkinson Images on ModelMayhem
Jesse on ModelMayhem

And Yet....

Still so far to go...

Each time I hear about anyone, especially a teenager, whose life becomes so unbearable, so devoid of hope, that they feel there is no choice but to end it I feel sad and get angry. This sadness however is usually short lived as it is tragically becoming a regular part of the news cycle.

Something said about Jamey Rodemeyer has really stuck with me and I can't seem to shake it. An 8th grader at Jamey's school said 'He made friends of the friendless.'

I think of all the Religious based organizations who have poured millions into trying to stop same sex marriage. All the people in the name of the bible trying belittle, criticize and assault those different than themselves. Then I think of this 14 year old, making friends of the friendless. If there was ever a behavior that so closely mirrored that of Jesus it would have been the way in which this 14 year old gay youth interacted with others. The irony is fucking mind boggling.