White House Pride Reception to Include Transgender Military Attendees
Air Force Authorizes Exception for Logan Ireland to attend in Male Uniform
Washington, DC – Six SPARTA members will be attending the White House’s annual LGBT Pride Month Reception.
Two actively serving transgender service members will attend the Reception on Wednesday, June 24. Upon receiving his invitation, Air Force Senior Airman Logan Ireland notified his command, who authorized a policy exception to allow him to attend in male dress uniform.
Ireland recently returned from Afghanistan, where he was treated as male; because he was identified as female when he joined the Air Force, regulations currently require him to abide by female uniform and grooming standards.
Ireland is attending with his fiancée, Army Corporal Laila Villanueva, who will attend in civilian clothes.
Four transgender military veterans will also attend the Reception.
Army Colonel (Retired) Sheri Swokowski;
Navy Lt. Cdr. (USNR) Brynn Tannehill;
Former Marine Sergeant Devon Allen; and
Former Army National Guard Specialist Bryce Jordan Celotto.
“For those of us who are veterans, this is our opportunity to represent over 15,000 transgender people currently serving in our Armed Forces,” said Swokowski. “We are here to tell their stories while they continue to risk discharge by coming out. They serve their country with honor and distinction while they are denied medically necessary care as well as personal integrity to be who they are. It’s the current version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”
SPARTA has called for a moratorium on transgender discharges, and an expedited policy update to reflect current medical practice.
Recent media coverage includes:
New York Times Op-Doc of Sr. Airman Logan Ireland and Army Cpl. Laila Villanueva and editorial featuring Army Staff Sgt. Loeri Harrison
Colorado Springs Gazette profile of Army Sgt. Patricia King
BuzzFeed profile of Major Jamie Lee Henry
About 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 “Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All.”