Earlier this week, President Trump signed a controversial memo banning transgender men and women from enlisting in the military. On Sunday, August 27, six trans service members sent a message to the president at the MTV Video Music Awards: “If you’re willing to serve our country and you’re among the most qualified in the nation, you should be welcome in the United States Armed Forces just like everyone else.”
Active service members Sterling James Crutcher, Logan Ireland, Jennifer Peace, and Akira Wyatt joined veterans Laila Ireland and Brynn Tannehil, as well as GLAAD president Sarah Kate and LGBTQ fashion designer August Getty, on the VMAs red carpet at The Forum in Los Angeles.
“It’s hard to care about trans service members as a generic, but when you learn the stories of people like Sergeant Ireland and Akira [Wyatt], all these people, and you can put a face and a name to it, it matters,” Peace told MTV News correspondent Gaby Wilson during the VMA pre-show. “All we want to do is be treated like everyone else and be discriminated against based solely on our performance.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are,” Peace added. “Our nation is only safe if we have the best and brightest in our country serving the military. There was a time when blacks couldn’t serve, when women couldn’t serve, when gays and lesbians couldn’t serve, and there was a time when trans people couldn’t serve. But today the Armed Forces are open to everyone, regardless of your race, gender, religion or anything else.”
Anyone who is willing to risk their life for our country is a hero. Plain and simple.