6 Transgender Service Members Walk Red Carpet At MTV’s VMAs
Six transgender service members walked the red carpet alongside the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Sarah Kate Ellis, on Sunday night at MTV’s Video Music Awards show.
The service members, Sterling James Crutcher (Air Force), Logan B. Ireland (Air Force), Laila Ireland (Army), Jennifer Peace (Army), Brynn Tannehill (Navy), and Akira Wyatt (Navy), were invited by the network to join the red carpet festivities and make a statement in rebuke of President Donald Trump‘s recent memo halting the enlistment of transgender service members in any branch of the U.S. military.
“Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stand for equality is a hero at MTV, and to young people everywhere,” MTV president Chris McCarty told Billboard in a statement.
“Historically, the VMAs have been a huge platform for social issues that are currently happening, so being able to have that platform and share our stories is important to us,” Laila Ireland told the music publication.
Last week, the President issued a memo to the Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting secretary Elaine Duke, asking them to terminate the “policy and practice” of allowing transgender people to serve in the country’s military.
The ban, which was first announced by Trump on Twitter last month, is left mostly to the discretion of Mattis, who has the authority to decide to proceed with the directive in whatever capacity he sees fit.
The President’s ban has been met with strong criticism from both sides of the isle, but mostly from Democrats who argue that anyone wiling and able should be allowed to serve and sacrifice their lives for their country.
There is no known number for how many transgender people serve in the U.S. military.