We report on a broadband, diffractive, light shutter with the ability to modulate unpolarized light. This polarizer-free approach employs a conventional liquid crystal (LC) switch, combined with broadband Polarization Gratings (PGs) formed with polymer LC materials. The thin-film PGs act as diffractive polarizing beam-splitters, while the LC switch operates on both orthogonal polarization states simultaneously. As an initial experimental proof-of- concept for unpolarized light with ±7° aperture, we utilize a commercial twisted-nematic LC switch and our own polymer PGs to achieve a peak transmittance of 80% and peak contrast ratio of 230:1. We characterize the optoelectronic performance, discuss the limitations, and evaluate its use in potential nonmechanical shutter applications (imaging and non-imaging).© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.