From Closeted Soldier to Queer Activist: How “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Shaped My Life by Mx. Colin Blevins

CU Denver Political Science Online

As a senior in high school, I made a life-changing decision; instead of going to college, I enlisted with my older brother to join the United States Army.

I joined the military for a number of reasons, but one affected that decision more than any of the others – the idea that being in a hyper-masculine organization would make me more “masculine;” that it would “set me straight.”

Colin Blevins (center) with team members at Fort Polk, LA 2010. Colin Blevins (center) with team members at Fort Polk, LA 2010.

This idea transformed itself: beginning as a mantra, solidifying as a natural belief that affected every important aspect of my life, and embodying the lifestyle that deprived me of my integrity.

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A giant art installation targets predator drone operators



In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.


The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is a collaboration of artists who made use of the French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag

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