Watch our Emmy® nominated short documentary about the challenges of a military couple, who are banned from serving simply because they are transgender.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

This Op-Doc profiles an airman named Logan Ireland, who completes a deployment serving as male, the gender he knows himself to be. Remarkably, after telling his leaders and some peers that his sex was assigned female at birth, he receives their support—despite the military policies that prevent transgender people like him from serving openly. Meanwhile, his then fiancée, Laila Villanueva, who was assigned male at birth, has a similar scenario, but she works without the support of her command.

Their dreams of serving in the military until retirement, having a home, and creating a family are all on the line simply because of how society and the United States military discriminate against transgender people. Logan and Laila were aware at the time that by coming out publicly in this film, they could have been discharged.

When I speak to military audiences, I show a clip from “Transgender, at War and in Love,” and all of a sudden, like magic, the audience gets it. They come to understand that transgender service members are loyal Americans who want to serve their country, and who deserve respect just like all other members of the armed forces. Changing hearts and minds was crucial to convincing the military to allow transgender troops to serve, and this short documentary has been the key to that end.
— Aaron Belkin, Palm Center Director

 

IMPACT

In 2015 Fiona Dawson, Gabe Silverman and Jamie Coughlin of SideXSide Studios were commissioned by The New York Times to produce the short opinion documentary, "Transgender, at War and in Love." This Op Doc was a great success, becoming one of The Times' most viewed online short films. Dawson was awarded by The White House as an "LGBT Artist Champion of Change," the film won The White House News Photographers Association's Best Documentary, was nominated for a GLAAD Award and was a 2016 Emmy® nominee for "Outstanding Short Documentary."

On June 30th, 2016 Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ended the ban on transgender service members. But with the prevalence of stigma and discrimination against transgender people across the world, our feature documentary strives to touch hearts and change minds with powerful stories of those who sacrifice their lives to serve. 

From left filmmakers Gabe Silverman, Fiona Dawson, Jamie Coughlin and subject-matter-expert, Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld at the 37th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards

From left filmmakers Gabe Silverman, Fiona Dawson, Jamie Coughlin and subject-matter-expert, Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld at the 37th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards