Logan Ireland, an Air Force staff sergeant who began his transition to a man after two years of service, tells PEOPLE exclusively that he’d “love” to meet with President Trump and discuss the implications of the new sweeping ban on transgender military personnel.
“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,” Ireland says.
He continues, extending his invitation to Trump for a conversation, “I would love for my President to meet me 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.”
Staff Sergeant Ireland joined the Air Force in 2010 as a woman, according to the Air Force Times. In 2012, he began his transition – a process Ireland had postponed to ensure he could enlist, as at the time serving as openly transgender was banned.
Ireland was previously profiled alongside his now-wife, Laila Villanueva, in a 2015 New York Times Op-ed documentary. Villanueva is also a transgender soldier.
In the documentary, both Villanueva and Ireland expressed that they had been met with acceptance and support by fellow service members, despite the then-policy.
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In June 2016, Obama’s Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all transgender peoples would be allowed to serve in the military, and set a one-year deadline for the Pentagon to come up with a plan to integrate the services.
This year, Trump’s Defense Secretary, James Mattis delayed the implementation of Carter’s plan by six months. Trump’s announcement came just one day before the military’s deadline to update its medical standards to accommodate transgender service members.
Trump announced his plans on Twitter, Wednesday, writing, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”