Metro Weekly

Trans airman: Transgender ban is “doing this country an injustice”

Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland says "I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military"

Logan Ireland - Photo: Jesse Ehrenfeld

Logan Ireland – Photo: Jesse Ehrenfeld

“For the President to deny an able-bodied, fully qualified person the inherent right to raise their hand and serve their country, potentially giving their own life for our freedoms, is doing this country an injustice.”

–Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, a member of SPARTA, an organization that advocates for military service, in a statement to Metro Weekly responding to President Trump’s tweet that transgender individuals will not be able to “serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.”

Ireland says he would love to meet with Trump “so I can tell him about the 15,500 honorably serving transgender military members that are fighting right now for their liberties and for their country.”

Ireland also gave an interview to the Air Force Times in which he 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.”

Due to the surprise nature of Trump’s announcement, and the lack of notice given to top military leaders, it is still unclear how such a ban on transgender service members will be implemented, and whether those who were allowed to serve openly under the former administration will receive special exemptions or will be forcibly discharged from their posts.

In retrospect, perhaps Trump’s actions should not have come as a surprise. During a campaign appearance in October, he pandered to anti-LGBTQ questioners who complained about the Obama administration’s decision to lift the ban on transgender service members.

The president told the Retired American Warriors PAC that “we have a politically correct military” and that “some of the things they’re asking you to do, and be politically correct about, are ridiculous.”

Ireland, who came out to his command in 2015, previously talked with Metro Weekly in 2016, just days after Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter changed military policy to allow already-serving transgender troops to serve openly, without fear of being discharged.

In that interview, Ireland praised Carter for following through with studies on the effects of lifting the ban on transgender service members, and for seeking to implement it despite some pushback from some military leaders. He said the end of the ban could give other service members the chance to live openly without fear of being discharged and losing their retirement, education, and health care benefits.

“It means that they’re now able to serve as their authentic self,” Ireland said at the time. “They don’t have to put on their boots in the morning and worry about: ‘Is today going to be the day that I get discharged? Is today going to be the day that I’m found out, my secret is revealed?’ They can focus on bigger things, like their serving in the military and giving that selfless sacrifice.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com