Logan Ireland, an Air Force staff sergeant who began his transition to a man after two years of service, tells PEOPLE exclusively that he’d “love” to meet with President Trump and discuss the implications of the new sweeping ban on transgender military personnel.
“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 says.
He continues, extending his invitation to Trump for a conversation, “I would love for my President to meet me so I can tell him about the 15,500 honorably serving transgender military members that are fighting right now for their liberties and for their country.”
Staff Sergeant Ireland, 29, joined the Air Force in 2010 as a woman, according to the Air Force Times. In 2012, he began his transition – a process Ireland had postponed to ensure he could enlist, as at the time serving as openly transgender was banned.
Ireland was previously profiled alongside his now-wife, Laila Ireland, in a 2015 New York Times Op-ed documentary. Laila, 31, is also transgender and served in the military for 12 years as a combat nurse before retiring in 2015.
In the documentary, both Laila and Ireland expressed that they had been met with acceptance and support by fellow service members, despite the then-policy.
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Now, Laila tells PEOPLE that she doesn’t know what will become of her husband’s military career — he is still an active service member — but she says she and Ireland are determined to push back against whatever unjust legislation comes their way.
“We really don’t know what’s going to happen. In my personal life with Logan, we have a lot of aspirations. We have a lot of plans for our own life — our private life. We want to build a family and he wants to apply to become an officer in the Air Force and move forward with that,” she said.
“So, if this whole thing happens, that puts us in a precarious situation, and a lot of other people too. The one thing I can rest on is that him and I, we don’t give up. We’re always innovative and coming up with new ideas and we’re always chasing things that can better us as people, as an individual and as a couple.”
She continues: “He is my rock. I am his rock and we will always — we are going to be okay. We cannot tell ourselves that we are not going to be okay. We have to believe that. In terms of his career, I don’t know where that puts us. I don’t know where that leaves us. We have to go with it as it comes.”
In June 2016, Obama’s Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all transgender peoples would be allowed to serve in the military, and set a one-year deadline for the Pentagon to come up with a plan to integrate the services.
This year, Trump’s Defense Secretary, James Mattis, delayed the implementation of Carter’s plan by six months. Trump’s announcement came just one day before the military’s deadline to update its medical standards to accommodate transgender service members.
Trump announced his plans on Twitter Wednesday, writing, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”