Transgender airman: ‘I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military’
One of the most prominent transgender people in the US military has said he’s not leaving, no matter what Donald Trump says.
The ban, announced by Trump earlier this week in three tweets, sparked outrage from LGBT people across the world and was condemned by everyone from former Vice President Joe Biden to John McCain, Laverne Cox and JK Rowling.
Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, a security forces airman who has been deployed to Afghanistan, said: “I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military.
“You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life,” he added in an interview with Air Force Times.
Under President Barack Obama, Ireland was invited to attend the 2015 White House Pride Reception, in a man’s uniform, with his out trans wife Army Corporal Laila Villanueva.
But the shift towards transphobia, which was clear in Trump’s revoking of Obama’s guidance on trans students being able to use their bathroom of choice earlier this year, has now come to a head.
And Ireland is, rightfully, not happy.
“For the president to deny an able-bodied, fully qualified person the inherent right to raise their right hand and serve their country, potentially giving their own life for our freedoms, is doing this country an injustice,” he said.
“I would personally love for my president to meet me so I can tell him about myself, and the 15,500 honourably serving transgender military members who are fighting right now for their liberties and their country.”
He also wanted to highlight the broad impact which trans people make every day in the military.
“We have pilots; we have doctors; we have combat medics; we have security forces members like myself,” said Ireland.
“We are everywhere in the military, and for our president to not have a military member’s back that is willing to die for him, blows my mind.
“And it just makes me very motivated today to continue my training.”
Transgender Navy SEAL Team 6 member Kristin Beck, who served for 20 years in the unit whose troops killed Osama bin Laden, challenged Trump to tell her that she was “not worthy” to her face.
The ban was announced despite the revelation that the Pentagon spends 10 times more on erectile dysfunction medication than it would on trans medical expenses.
The American Civil Liberties Union vowed to fight back against Trump’s decision by representing anyone affected by the ban.
Chat show host James Corden fought back in his own way, with a clever parody of Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E that cut to the core of Trump’s insecurities and ignorance.
And General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rushed to defuse trans fears, saying there will be no action taken – for now.