Trans Woman In Running For ‘Military Spouse Of The Year’

Laila Ireland, herself a veteran, is already through the competition's first round

Members of the military continue to break boundaries — REUTERS
Feb 23, 2017 at 6:27 AM ET

At the same time that President Donald Trump rolls back protections for transgender students, one couple is proudly breaking boundaries for trans members of the military.

Laila Ireland, a transgender woman and Army veteran, has been nominated as Peterson Air Force Base’s representative in the annual Military Spouse of the Year competition, hosted by Military Spouse Magazine. Ireland is married to a transgender man, Senior Airman Logan Ireland, and they are stationed together at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs. The couple first gained prominence in 2015, when the New York Times produced a mini-documentary on Senior Airman Ireland titled “Transgender, at War and in Love.” Later that month they attended the White House’s LGBT Pride reception.

Laila served as an Army combat medic for 13 years before her retirement in December of 2015. Since then she has worked to advocate for trans members of the military, winning the Military Spouse Leadership award from the Military Partner Association in May 2016. She now works with SPART*A Trans, an association for active service trans soldiers. Ireland told Military Spouse that, if chosen, she would use her title to help raise awareness, ” and to help educate other families of the opportunities that can form when being diverse and inclusive to all cultures.”

The Military Spouse of the Year event has been held for nine years as a way for military families to network with people and the organizations that support them, while honoring the outstanding commitment that some spouses display toward the military family community. Nominees representing dozens of bases from every branch of the service compete for the title, with around 1,500 spouses nominated every year.