Riese’s Team Pick: Proud to Serve

Proud to Serve is a portrait project by photographer Jo Ann Santangelo, a recent graduate of ICP. She has spent the last two years traveling to 31 states and photographing men and women who served or were discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.”

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


  1. I served in the United States Navy – I turned down an offer to re-enlist in order to stay with my girlfriend, who I intend to marry.

  2. Screw the military. They didn’t do anything. Gays shouldn’t even want to serve in the military. It’s such a horrible place! I respect those who served, but no more! Stop the hate by not serving.

    • While I respect your opinion/anger towards the military, I don’t think choosing not to serve would stop the hate; it would just prolong it. The people who don’t want DADT repealed would just see it as one less thing they have to worry about. Also, for a lot of people (myself included) choosing to serve in the military is a choice that goes beyond ones sexual orientation. While it pains me everyday, it’s a sacrifice that I chose to make to serve my country. Granted it’s one that I shouldn’t have to make, I would do it again even if there was no possibility of repeal. The way I like to look at it, as naive or ridiculous as this may sound, is I’m not serving for the pigheaded politician’s like John McCain. I’m serving for people like you, Autostraddle, and other like-minded individuals. In the meantime, I’m patiently (sometimes not so patiently) waiting for the rest of the country to catch up to us.

  3. “and the government demanded that she repay her scholarships”.
    Wait what? I didn’t know this was one of the possible repercussions. It’s disgusting!

  4. when you join ROTC you have to sign that professional conduct waiver, it says you aren’t allowed to do drugs, be an alcoholic and participate in homosexual sex. i had to repay all my scholarship money too. (well still am repaying it…) they are terrible too since its the government, can’t negotiate anything with them as far as loan paybacks :/

  5. ugh. the only thing dishonorable here is the shameful way our government treats its gay citizens/soldiers.

    the disgrace belongs there and nowhere else.

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