Laila and Logan Ireland/The White House

Trans Service Members Speak Out On Trump’s Military Ban And The Meaning Of Veteran’s Day

"We will not be silenced. We are here to serve our country just as our brothers and sisters have done."

For Veteran’s Day, we reached out to four transgender service members to reflect on Trump’s military ban, which has been temporarily suspended by a federal court, and what it means to serve our country openly and honorably.

While the discourse surrounding trans people in the military has been confusing and contradictory, these four patriots remain hopeful.

“For trans people who are looking to enlist, keep on waiting as the news is updated,” says Army veteran Laila Ireland. “We will be welcoming you with open arms.”

  • Laila and Logan Ireland

    Laila and Logan Ireland

    Laila and Logan are a married trans military couple. Laila is an Iraq veteran, a former Army combat nurse, and the membership director for SPARTA. Logan is an active-duty Air Force staff sergeant.

    First reactions to Trump’s military ban

    Laila: “I took it just as anyone else did. It was abrupt, surprising, and very disheartening to see the leader of the free world not fight for the people who are fighting for him. But we continue to move forward because we cannot let an idea as outrageous as this dictate our lives.”

    Logan: “Since those tweets, it’s had little to no impact on my day-to-day service. I go to work, I conduct my mission, I lead my troops to the best of my ability and do what my country has asked me to do. Personally, it brings up the question: Do I have a job come March of next year?”

    On a federal judge blocking enforcement of the ban

    Laila: “This is great news and a step in the right direction, but we still have a very long road ahead of us. Transgender military members are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve with honor, dignity, and respect as we have done for so long.”

    Logan: “For transgender service members, this means we haven’t won the whole war yet, but we have won a segment of it. A war isn’t just won in one explosion, but a series of small ones.”

    John Shearer/Getty Images for MTV

    On starting a family

    Logan: “Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’m going to be with or without a job come March. So the adoption process has been put on hold because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to provide for my family. It’s in our best interest to pause right now, though it’s still in our game plan for our future. But is it going to be a military family or a civilian family? We don’t know yet.”

    On the meaning of Veteran’s Day:

    Laila: “I still feel very proud of my service for this country and I believe that moving forward we need to have everyone on the same page, in the same book, in the same chapter. That way we can honorably pay tribute to those who have fallen and those who are still fighting.”

    Logan: “Veteran’s Day for me hasn’t weakened—it’s just gotten stronger. I think trans service members as a whole don’t want the issues we are having with the current administration to overshadow what Veteran’s Day really is—to honor those who gave an ultimate sacrifice.”

  • Evan Young

    Rhys Harper

    Evan Young is a retired United States Army Major and President of the Transgender American Veterans Association.

    On the ban’s suspension

    “It’s been a rollercoaster: You can serve. Now you can’t serve. Later, yes, you can serve. The impact has been a huge stress for our community. But I was happy to learn that the court ruled in favor of transgender service members and felt that the justice system can finally put this issue to rest.”

    On the meaning of Veteran’s Day

    “Veteran’s Day is a day to reflect back on those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our country. It’s a day that I thank those that wear the uniform for the freedom I have.”

    Advice for trans service members

    “Nothing is more honorable than serving your country. Find a supportive community that knows and understands what you’re feeling and talk about it. It can be as simple as joining a group on Facebook.”

  • Riley Dosh

    Riley Dosh

    Riley Dosh is the first openly trans graduate of West Point. A legal loophole in Pentagon policy, however, denied her commission.

    On the ban’s suspension

    “I think this is a very important thing for open implementation of transgender service because it’s honestly now on the government to prove why we should be kicked out.”

    “[The blocking] will require the Trump administration to put out evidence, but they need to find that evidence and will have to wait for a study to be concluded. The study is going to come out with the exact same conclusion as the last time they did this: There is no issue with transgender service. I don’t think the Trump administration will have any evidence to go forward.”

    Advice for trans service members

    “Hold on and let’s see how this plays out. Continue serving honorably as you have been.”

Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and professional cake-eater.’90s horror movies calm me down.
@JesseSteinbach