Transgender Airman, retired SEAL believe they are “able-bodied” despite mental condition

Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, right, with his wife Army Cpl. Laila Villanueva. Courtesy photos

Several transgender veterans and service members are speaking out against the recent ban on troops afflicted with gender dysphoria, claiming the move is a discriminatory slight against those whom they feel are fit to serve.

Both active duty and former servicemembers have been taken aback by the announcement, including USAF Security Forces Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, a biological female at birth who later began transitioning into a man.

Logan is married to a transgender woman in the US Army, Corporal Laila Villanueva.

“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 said. “I would personally love for my president to meet me so I can tell him about myself, and the 15,500 honorably-serving transgender military members that are fighting right now for their liberties and their country.”

The small number of transgender troops currently serving -around 0.01-0.05 percent- makes the issue of replacing transgender troops a small issue for the military, who has historically disqualified troops from serving due to mental illness or physical disabilities that could hinder their warfighting capabilities. Furthermore, the military as a whole is separate from the civilian population and can grant or deny the privilege of service as they please.

Still, even some active duty personnel -like Logan- are digging in their heels.

“I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military,” Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland said in an interview with Air Force Times. “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.”

Retired Navy SEAL-turned female transgender activist Kristen Beck, who served twenty years in the Navy, told Business Insider that being transgender is a non-issue when it comes to military service.

Washington, DC – Retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck receives a plaque from DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn following the agency’s Pride Month event June 18. (Defense Intelligence Agency)

“Being transgender doesn’t affect anyone else,” Beck said. “We are liberty’s light. If you can’t defend that for everyone that’s an American citizen, that’s not right.”

A decorated veteran, Beck had over 13 deployments within two decades -including Bosnia Iraq and Afghanistan- and was warded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

“I was defending individual liberty,” the retired SEAL said. “I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone.”

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