Iconoclasts vs. Capitol Hill: Lady Gaga and Terry Richardson call for an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

This is fascinating: In a surprisingly solemn video, Lady Gaga asks her fans to call up their US Senators and tell them to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the US military. (According to the current rule of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, gays and lesbians are allowed to serve, as long as nobody knows they’re gays and lesbians. This rule was implemented as a compromise in the early ’90s, after Bill Clinton failed to integrate the armed forces due to conservative lawmakers‘ resistance. There’s a chance to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the Senate in the upcoming week.)

The video was shot by the prominent photographer Terry Richardson, who, along with his famous fashion and documentary photos, shot a much underrated, and much less solemn, music video for Whirlwind Heat’s »Purple« before.

While probably not being the most exciting piece of agit-prop in recent years, I find Lady Gaga’s and Terry Richardson’s advocacy and their aesthetic choices remarkable. It’s also noteworthy because both have been framed by mainstream as well as feminist media outlets as mindless hedonists as of late. It seems: Wrongly so!

(So, I guess the curtain is pulled now?)

For those who want to learn more about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I can recommend a speech by Dr. Steve Estes I had the pleasure to attend last June. Hosted by Hamburg University’s AG QueerStudies initiative, Dr. Estes talked about his research on the history of gays and lesbians in the US armed forces. You’ll find a high-quality recording of his talk on the AG QueerStudies‘ website (abstract and audio in English).

[via Terry’s Diary]

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