Commissioned by The New York Times and produced by TransMilitary creator Fiona Dawson in partnership with Gabriel Silverman & Jamie Coughlin of SideXSide Studios, the Emmy® nominated short film Transgender, at War and in Love was released June 4, 2015 as part of The Times' editorial series Transgender Today.
In this 12 minute documentary, SPARTA members Logan Ireland (Air Force) and his fiancée, Laila Villanueva (Army) came out publicly as being transgender.
Ireland, 27, and Villanueva, 29, have a combined 16 years of service, four deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and have received awards and commendations for their work. Yet Department of Defense medical readiness regulations prohibit their open service and classify them as unfit to serve.
On returning from six months in an austere environment where he was seen and treated as a male, this documentary shares how Ireland informs his home-station that he is transgender. Despite his military record stating him as female, Ireland's chief instructs him to adhere to male dress and grooming standards. “That means I can grow a shitty mustache,” Ireland jokes in the film.
However, Villanueva, a nurse in an Army hospital, is not accepted as a female by her leadership. She is required to dress and wear her hair according to male regulations, and is instructed to correct patients at work to use male pronouns.
SPARTA: Founded in 2013, SPARTA is an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who currently serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces and their families. Our mission is to advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT service members, veterans, and their families. As a membership organization, SPARTA exists by and for the LGBT military community. The name SPARTA originated as an acronym for “Service members, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All.” - www.spartapride.org
If you are a transgender service member needing legal help please see links to our TransMilitary supporter Phyllis Randolph Frye.