For Sunday night's Video Music Awards, MTV invited transgender members of the military and transgender veterans to walk the red carpet, making a big statement against President Trump's decision to ban them from the armed forces.
Transgender service members Sterling James Crutcher, Logan Ireland, Jennifer Peace, and Akira Wyatt—along with trans veterans Laila Ireland and Brynn Tannehil—walked the carpet with GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and August Getty, a fashion designer who worked on Miley Cyrus's VMA dress. They posed with celebrities like Jack Antonoff, Billy Eichner, Heidi Klum, and Tyler Posey.
According to GLAAD, MTV invited the service members and veterans after President Trump announced he was working on banning them from serving in the U.S. military. "MTV continues to be a pioneer and fierce advocate for the LGBTQ community by giving one of the most visible platforms to voices that need to be heard," Ellis said in a statement. "Throughout all the tweets, memos, and speculation, brave transgender Americans are still serving their country and defending the freedoms of this nation while meeting the same rigorous standards of their peers. We are proud to stand with them."
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In a series of tweets on July 26, President Donald Trump said he would reinstate a ban on transgender troops."The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," he wrote. On Friday, Trump officially issued a directive to the Pentagon to cease recruitment of transgender people into the military and to stop paying for current transgender troops' medical care. It's unclear as of now if troops currently serving will be forced to leave active duty.
The White House directed the Pentagon to "deny admittance to transgender individuals and to stop spending on medical treatment regimens for those currently serving," the Wall Street Journalreports. There are between 1,320 and 6,600 transgender individuals serving in the active component of the military, according to a study commissioned last year by the Pentagon.