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Two-Spirited Soldier

Artist Feature of Sydney Foster

The photo series "Two-Spirited Soldier" pays homage to Southern LGBTQ+ veterans of the armed forces, with a focus on poet and veteran WJ Lofton. In the visual narrative, Lofton stands as a symbol of resilience and courage, depicted amidst the bold greenery of the battlefield, staking a southern patched quilted flag as a marker of identity and readiness to raise an SOS if needed. Amidst the complexities of military service, Lofton embodies the weight carried by those unseen and unheard, particularly those grappling with their sexuality amidst societal expectations and protocols.

The series delves into the multifaceted experiences of LGBTQ+ veterans, highlighting the challenges of navigating gender identity and sexual orientation within the confines of military culture. Lofton's portrayal underscores the struggles faced by individuals who have yet to come out due to fear of rejection or persecution, carrying the silent burden of those who were unable to express their true selves. As a poignant tribute, Lofton wears a crown of colorful flowers, symbolizing the collective memory of those lost to the silence of societal norms and expectations.

"Two-Spirited Soldier" serves as a visual testament to the resilience, strength, and sacrifice of Southern LGBTQ+ veterans, offering a platform for their stories to be seen, heard, and honored. Through Lofton's portrayal and the accompanying imagery, the series aims to spark dialogue, promote understanding, and foster empathy towards the diverse experiences within the LGBTQ+ community, particularly within the context of military service in the Southern United States.