TransMilitary (2018) Movie Script

[Gen Eisenhower] Soldiers,
sailors and airmen, the hopes and prayers
of liberty-loving people
everywhere march with you.
[archive] We recall the contribution
and sacrifice which so many has made.
[archive] They have come from the cities and
the farms and every section of our land.
They have lived in different times and
they have fought in different battles
on different fields.
[archive] And they gave up two
lives, the one they were living,
and the one
they would have lived.
[archive] I ask every American
to find a way
to thank the men and women
who are defending our freedom.
[archive] You who once wore
uniforms of our Army, Navy,
Air Force, Marines
or Coast Guard.
[archive] These American heroes risked everything
so that you and I can live in freedom.
To all of our incredible veterans,
to the people in the Military,
thank you. God bless you!
God bless the United States of
America. Thank you very much.
[crowd cheering]
[Logan] Every day in Kandahar,
our job itself when you go outside
the wire is inherently dangerous.
You're going out where there's people
that their sole job is to kill you.
[Logan] But what I like about this
deployment is I can be my authentic self.
Here in Afghanistan, a war
zone, I'm just another guy,
whereas back home, I'm still seen as
female. I go by female regs and standards.
Currently in Afghanistan, there's only a handful
of people that know that I'm transgender.
I stand to lose my career,
my future, my foundation...
I stand to lose everything.
[Laila] I joined the Military
when I was 17 years old.
My job that I was assigned
was an interrogator.
And I deployed to Iraq soon
after basic training at the AIT.
We had followed the most wanted list,
whether we captured them dead or alive.
When the repeal of "don't ask,
don't tell" happened,
I had no idea that
it did not cover the TMLGBT.
There was a fear about being discovered
by my unit, and being discharged.
Transgender individuals in the Military,
it is our time now to step forward and say
Ok, it's not about what gender I am,
it's about if I can get the job done.
And we for years have shown that.
And so... Why not acknowledge us?
[Jenn] I enlisted in the Army,
really to get out of where I was
and to get my life in track.
I was homeless and a high school drop...
out. Uhm, I had an abusive stepfather
and the relationship with my
mother wasn't very strong.
And I didn't have
anywhere else to go.
I am now a captain, I am in
the Intelligence Corps.
I am responsible for all of
the intelligence collection
and analysis within
the infantry battalion,
of about 400 soldiers
that I am assigned to.
[gun shots]
I loved being in the Military.
They gave me everything, gave me a home
and the ability
to care for my family.
Since I've transitioned, all my
performance reviews have been excellent.
It cleared my head. It's Made me
have more confidence in myself.
And over all I think it
made me better at what I do.
All of the challenges
of being transgender
have come from military policy.
That's where
it's been the hardest.
[El] I am a human resources
officer in Strike Brigade
in the 101st Airborne Division
at Fort Campbell.
As an officer in the United States Army,
I am not just a soldier, I'm a leader.
Everything that I do, every single
day, is in service to soldiers.
The army, you know
Identified me as female.
The simplest way that I can
explain what being trans is,
is I'm a male,
just born in a female body.
And I have taken and am taking,
right, the steps to make my
biological, physical body
reflect my gender.
I am concerned about
the Military discharging me.
I am concerned every day.
I'm Sue Fulton, I am one of the
founding members of Sparta,
army veteran
and West Point graduate.
We founded Sparta
in the summer of 2013
with one of our primary goals to
get the transgender ban lifted.
[Sue] Couple of months ago
we got an agreement
from Under Secretary of the Army, Brad
Carson that he would meet with our people.
And a big part of this is, you know by
coming out as transgender service members
that raises a risk that the folks who
come to this meting might be discharged.
Everybody is gonna actually rehearse
these a couple of times and time them.
This is the excruciating part of
this you're gonna have to say this.
You have to say it to a timer
and then you have to do it again.
[Sue] It's gonna be
nerve racking for them.
The thing about being a soldier
is if you say:
Well, here's the task
and it's a tough task.
A good soldier would say,
well, then give it to me.
And those are the folks we have.
You'll talk briefly about
the deployment in Korea
and, you know the commander of the CSH
said that you were her best platoon leader.
[Sue] They need to understand the kind
of people that we might be loosing
because of this stupid policy.
We may be talking about our individual life,
but we're not just talking about our life
You have people that have
pending investigations
for something that doesn't
really matter.
Or people who are putting off their
own transition out of shear fear that
just saying anything is gonna get
them kicked out of their livelihood
what's putting food on the table
for their family.
When your country sees you
as being able to serve
and be an officer, be, you know a Sergeant
Major, be those things, you gain respect.
And as a group, if you deploy
in some sort of combat
or fly, you know a jet into to
combat or be on a submarine...
And then say:
"Oh, but you can't work here."
We walked out of the meeting today basically
saying, like what the hell just happened?
We were supposed
to have one meeting
and then...
We had three meetings.
Everybody just was like,
did I just really hear what I just heard
or did I just
completely make that up?
The Under Secretary of the Army
saying that he was gonna do
everything he could
to protect us, and apologize for
how the Army had treated us.
I was about to
break down and cry.
These are like the coolest things
you can ever get in the Military.
- Behind this coin actually.
- What are they?
- This is...
- So, these are military coins.
- Are you gonna let me talk?
- Ok, go ahead, talk.
We receive that one for
Department of the Airforce,
and Under Secretary
of the Airforce
this says Department
of the Army, Under Secretary.
And then at the back, it says Brad
Carson, his name with his signature.
After we were done talking to
him, he treated us like people.
He talked to us,
he spent time with us.
Like he carried our coats
and got our trash,
he told us where we should go to lunch, I mean,
he was the first person that I've ever talked to
outside of this group that I felt
like cared about us as people.
And really had it in his heart that
he wanted to make our lives better.
[Jenn] It was my first time being
in the Pentagon, and it was amazing
It was so empowering to be
open with these people.
And in some form you regained your integrity
because it feels like a lie for so long.
And now you are telling people
the truth about who you are.
About two days before I was
supposed to return to work
I got a message on my phone
from someone I knew.
Everybody knows. The leadership talked
about it. Everybody in the office knows.
It's... It's out there.
Going back to work those first couple
of days afterwards was terrifying.
I reported to my new job at Division
Headquarters. And I was on a Thursday.
On Friday I was told that I was gonna
immediately go back to my old regulations.
Have my hair cut
with the male regulations,
that I was gonna correct people
with the male pronouns,
I was gonna use male gender
segregated facilities,
My command barked that I was making
all this up, that I was lying about it.
And they were concerned that
this was just for attention.
They ordered me to go and speak
t the local psychiatrist.
This provider decided
that I wasn't transgender.
There was a concern that if they
had diagnosed me as transgender,
that they would be forced to
discharge me from the Military.
And everything that I'd been so
positive on over the last few months
had been taken away.
No one ever talked to me about my work.
No one ever discussed the products that I
should be doing or the performance that I had.
I'd sort of been relegated to
a corner where no one wants me.
So apparently somebody complained
that I was using the female bathrooms.
And I tried to explain to them that I
didn't feel safe using the male bathrooms.
If you start looking at sexual
assault rates across the Military
and how many
happened I'd post
and then you end up
in a bathroom
early in the morning before anyone else
gets there or you're working late at night.
No, I don't feel safe in there,
I don't feel safe in an all-male bathroom.
And so I was told that I could
either used the male bathrooms
or there was a porta potty out back
from the construction that was going on.
And so I could leave the building
and go outside and use that.
Even on my most difficult
days, I come home
and I've got a wife and three
kids who need me emotionally.
And they need me physically to be
here and go do things with them.
Autumn, I found another present
you haven't opened.
So the first thing when we got out here,
we completely separated our family life
from the military life.
It's really hard to do,
Because the Military promotes,
you know family involvement so much.
And they have barbecues and get
togethers and holiday parties,
I was told that I wasn't allowed
to attend any more unit functions.
That couldn't come to hail and
farewells and organizational days.
I've put in 11 years of my life
I've deployed every combat zone
that my generation have served in.
I deserve to be there
as much as anyone else.
This is my army too.
- Hi, babe. I missed you.
- I missed you.
- Your hair looks good today.
- Your face looks good today.
[Logan] Honestly,
if it wasn't for missing you
and wanting just to be back
in the States in general,
I would extend out here.
I totally would.
- Please don't do that.
- But it's been great
'cause I am seen 100% as male,
and I'm not questioned
uhm... about anything.
I can grow my male rags and standards
and grow my horrible mustache.
Which by the way, babe, I really
don't like your mustache.
You know when I... when I grew
it out the first time
when we first got here
you hated it,
you hated it, you hate, hate it, hate it
and then when I shaved it off you're like,
"You know what? I...
I actually liked it, I kind of miss it.
Okay, okay, okay.
I'm gonna go grow mine now,
so you can see how it feels.
But for real, if you do have an extra facial
hair from electrolysis, I will take it.
[Laila] I grew up in Honolulu,
Hawaii, with, uh, my family.
I'm the oldest of four children.
My brother is in the Army and my
younger sister is in the Navy.
And my dad was in the Army
before as well.
As far back as I can remember actually,
um, I never identified as being a male.
Once I realized that I was way
different from the other children
I was too afraid to explore the
possibility of even being transgender
because I come from such a...
a religious family that wasn't an option.
[sea waves lapping]
During my first deployment, I didn't
really see eye to eye with my family
based on my life choices.
When Laila did eventually come out I
was in denial. I was mad at... at Laila.
The exact phrase I remember telling them
was, I felt like I wanna be a woman.
I didn't know
what transgender was.
I didn't know there were other people
out there that were just like me.
For a long time
I was not accepting it
because I felt this is my child,
I brought her into this world
as the opposite gender.
I threatened Laila, I said, "You're
gonna do that, I'm gonna disown you.
Don't shame me like that."
[Laila] I didn't hear from them for
several months into the deployment.
That probably crushed me
more than having to leave home.
There was a mission
that we were tossed out to do
and early in the morning, we got notification
that the mission had been dropped
and it was given
to our sister unit.
The mission also called for
an extra vehicle and a driver.
Because I was not in the area,
they had pulled my vehicle and one
of the troops that I work with.
From what we were told,
there was a Pressure-Plate IED
and it detonated
right underneath his seat.
[Laila's mom] We got a call from the
Commanding Officer for the families to come
to the armory up in Wahiawa
because there had been a death.
My gut, I needed to pick it up off the
floor, a lump in my throat and shaking.
[Laila] I remember coming
back to my quarters that day
and there was
a piece of paper on my door
and they were messages from tons of
people in the unit basically saying,
"We love you and we miss you."
Assuming that we were
on that vehicle that day.
There's not a day that goes by that I
don't think that that could have been me.
[Laila's mom] The minute Laila called
home, I just balwed my eyes,
I was like, "Are you okay?"
[Laila] It took them years to come
around, but they came around nonetheless.
That's when I said to myself,
"I've got to love him.
You just have to love him."
[Debbie] I've been on this journey
with Logan from the beginning
and I support him every minute.
At first, I was thinking,
you know, just tomboy.
- Do you have that on video?
- Yes.
[Debbie] But, you know as he got
I knew, you know that well,
he's probably gay. Transgender, though?
It's a term
I was ever exposed to.
He had to educate me.
And he thought me a lot,
he's always taught me a lot
growing up, on what is normal.
You know,
you create your own normal.
- Picture How does, blank, blank, blank?
- You're guarding gr...
[Debbie] You know, I would laugh and
say, "Well, you know my lesbian daughter
ended up turning out
to be my straight son."
[Todd] My closest friends
at work, they don't know.
They know my daughter is in the
Military and is in a Military MP
and the police, and I keep
a few people informed on,
"Hey, he's... she's going to Afghanistan."
You know, It's like I wanted to...
I wanna be able to talk with some people at
work about... you know, 'cause I'm proud.
I mean, we're mechanics. You know, We're
men mechanics and always got their opinion,
but there's usually one opinion
when it comes to this situation.
Now, if they knew Logan's circumstance,
I think they'd write me off as a friend.
You know, and I almost second guess myself,
"Do I really need these people as friends?"
And right now, their opinion of my daughter
being in the Military is one that I liked
for them to have.
It's honorable.
But as soon as I would
possibly mention that,
I think they're going to do a 180
and I don't want their opinion of me
or of my son to be that.
[Debbie] The Military has you
in these compartments,
and you have to fit in
to a certain group
and Logan didn't fit in.
I felt to blame.
I was like, "Gosh, did I do that,
just saying be yourself, be who you are?"
[Todd] I don't know where the mix up was.
If you want to call it that, you know what?
Maybe I'm mixed up, maybe that's the
norm, you know, I don't know.
But I know that God
created these people,
this person and you need to accept
that person for what that person is.
Logan is the most caring person and
that's what really matters to me.
The bottom line is this
is an American going fighting
for your
liberties that you have here.
So, basically what happened,
if I get quiet it's
because somebody's coming by.
My Homebase Commander
called the commander here
over my unit as a whole.
Called him and said,
"Hey. You're going to be getting
an individual coming there.
She's born female, though
she doesn't look it at all."
Because of them knowing,
the leadership here, they told my
Master Sergeant, called him in,
"Sir, do you understand, uh, the
situation and what's going on?"
Him being
himself was like, "Yeah.
We fucking went to Fort Bliss
together, we trained together,
you know, there's nothing wrong
with him. What's the problem?"
and they're like, "She needs to
be put in a female barracks.
She needs to be
addressed as such."
And he said, "Let me
correct you right there.
His name is Logan.
He is gonna to be
living with his brothers.
You don't need to be worried
about him.
We have everything
figured out on our end."
If anybody knew the policy,
they could say, "Oh, hey.
This Airman shouldn't be here anyway.
This Airman needs to be kicked out."
The more people who know, puts me in a
really awesome position to get discharged.
[El] With me are like my five
best friends since college.
We all went to the Military
Academy, went to West Point.
I think it's been almost three years
since all six of us have been together
in the same place, at the same
time. I'm headed out again here
end of April to another deployment
and so we were just like,
"Hey, before I leave like,
we gotta all get together."
I love your face, man.
This is the worst part
of the fucking transition.
- You don't seem to notice...
- You have nice skin and then that shit goes.
I saw your shit and I was, "Shit. Should
I start taking some of the stuff too?"
I was like, my shit
isn't even, what the fuck?
I was so mad.
I was mad. I was like damn.
Your beard be on mother
fucking fleek and I'm over here
with this spotty patchy shit.
Speaking of cosmetic changes,
I took a look at a picture of myself
when I was going to prep school, 19,
and I look at my hairline.
I'm right here with you.
The side effects of this shit.
You know like,
I tried to take a little sexy picture
today and my hairline was like,
"No, the fuck you won't."
- [El's friend] That's what's going on? I'm sorry.
- [El] Oh yes.
You know, like you and like Clichy and
even me sometimes would always be like,
"You know, is El
like a man? Is El gay?
- Like, what's going on?
- [overlapping talk]
- Is so and so fucking with so and so?"
- Let's ask the shit
that you have been curious about
but you just haven't asked about
and maybe you're not... 'Cause to
me, I hate misrepresenting people.
I hate it when
people misrepresent me.
So, I don't want to misrepresent
somebody to anyone else.
You've been saying, "I'm El Cook.
I'm a fucking man," your whole life.
Yes. As a kid, like yeah, as a
kid, I was like, " I knew this."
At some point it becomes far easier,
actually, to say that you're a lesbian
than to say, "No, no, no,
this is what I really am."
Because if you're a trans,
you're some kind of fucking mutant head.
Right, anytime you talk
about being trans,
like for most people they
generally have one question.
Their mind goes
to one place, like...
Even top brass in the Army, and I
know this because I've talked to them,
right, it's just like: "what do
your genitals look like?"
That's really
all they care about.
Just like black people,
trans people are not anomalies.
You'll have men who have vaginas
and there are women out there
who have other...
I don't ever want people to think that
that somehow invalidates who they are.
Like, I don't need to see anybody
else's vagina or a penis to know
that they're a man or
a woman, nor do I care.
If you tell people, "I've
got something in the bar."
and they're like, "I'm a
woman." "Cool, you're a woman."
So, to do in surgery and all that,
like completing the transition,
you are not like worried about negative
like professional repercussions?
Yeah, like, I think every day,
every day of my life, right?
I mean, they can still mess with
you at a lower level, right?
Like so they're like, "All right. Fine.
We're not gonna try to discharge you
and send it up, you know, but maybe,
I will find everything about you to, like,
- if you park and your tires are over the line," right?
- Yeah. Yeah.
Gonna cancel you.
You know what I'm saying?
If you show up, any less than
15 minutes early, right?
Like, if you get any less
than a 300 on, right?
They can like still find ways.
It kinda just
makes me feel like,
"Damn." Like, people are out there
being hurt, being, uh, you know.
There's like
violence against them
all because we can't
open our minds and accept.
This isn't what I've
been told I'm supposed to like.
The killings of three trans-women
were reported over a 24-hour period.
Another was killed
the following day.
These women are more than
just a compilation of names,
and ages, and stories of violence,
and trauma. They were people,
people living at a vulnerable
intersection of race, gender and class.
People whose names are only
spoken by the majority of us
when they can no longer respond.
[somber music]
The first time I met Laila
was in the office,
very bubbly, positive,
the patients love her.
We have gotten far more positive comment
cards with Laila working on the front desk.
Laila has had some challenges
with her chain of command.
We thought that she'd
been treated differently.
This place makes me
like my stomach a little...
I get knots in my stomach.
- [guard] Morning. How are you today?
- Good morning.
Good. How are you?
- [guard] Great. Have a great day.
- Thank you.
You know they'll come in. And they'll
say, "You need to wipe off the blush off,"
and she's like,
"I have no blush on." You know,
or "Wipe off the mascara
and so, like wipe it off.
Just like it's nothing."
Coming to campus, like, I don't
know what's gonna happen today.
We had unofficial
meetings by [indistinct].
When the staff
showed up for the meeting,
we had to identify our gender.
So, I just thought that was really
odd to open the meeting in that way,
but it was almost like they all
had something against the gays,
the lesbians,
you know, and transgender.
And so, all of them
were always flagged.
What can I possibly
get into trouble for today?
If I do the right thing,
I get into trouble.
If I do the wrong thing,
I get into trouble.
And if I ask a question or ask
questions about it, I get into trouble.
And so my experience with Laila,
she's just an asset
to the team, valuable.
I'd like to see
everyone be treated fairly.
[somber music]
Me and Logan are both in the Alpha
vehicle at the front of the zoom.
I'm the lead gunner
and he's a lead driver.
[suspenseful music]
[Daniel] I consider Logan to be
one of my better friends here.
He's easy to get along with
and a fun person to be around.
You know what?
This is as far I'm gonna go.
Logan, being transgender,
and us working outside the wire
does not affect
his ability to do the job.
I'd say most days
that we go out our mission,
there's an element
of danger involved
And I have full confidence in him
that he can get us through it.
I don't feel burdened carrying the
secret that Logan is transgender.
It's Logan's personal life
and I think it's his choice
if he wants to
let people know that.
And I feel like he trusts me as a
friend, him being okay with me knowing
and talking to me about it.
All transgender troops want to do
is serve like every other troop.
[Jesse] I actually met Logan
when he came because of an injury
that he had received as
the course of the deployment.
A couple deep breaths for me.
I was a little surprised to find out
that there was a transgender person
who was deployed.
By all accounts, you know he was just as
qualified as anybody else who was there.
It's like technically acquired
this from an old DoD compound.
I just keep all my shots in here
and put them in a safe
container for afterwards.
Very conspicuous and in case
somebody wants to go in there
I have my prescription already put in
it, so they can see it is legal.
If you're doing it
every week for over three years,
you just kind of get used to it.
[interviewer] Where's the most
awkward place you've done this?
I had to give myself my shot
one time in a porta potty.
This puts my stocks through for my
natural middle range for my age group.
And that's it.
Oh my goodness. Like once in a
lifetime chance this was seriously...
So, Jesse messages me.
He's like, "Hey,
a really big 747 just landed."
Perhaps, you know we ought to
see if there's an opportunity
to meet whoever had arrived.
[Eric] Secretary Carter
was sworn in on a Monday
and we left Friday for Afghanistan,
and we're in a hangar with,
I don't know, a hundred troops.
He's doing a question and answer session
talking about priorities,
taking questions.
When I was sitting there listening
to the Secretary of Defense
deliver his update, I couldn't
get away from this idea
in my mind that there
was this perfect opportunity
to ask him a question
about transgender service.
And, You know,
I turned to Logan and said,
"If you could get up and ask
a question what would you ask?"
I'd probably ask him what his
thoughts are on transgender troops
serving in austere environment
such as Afghanistan.
The press were there,
this was a high profile moment
and I knew that there was
no turning back
if I asked this question.
That it would be reported.
It could potentially expose Logan
in a way that would have jeopardized
his deployment
and his service and his career.
[Logan] So, Jesse makes
a beeline for the mic,
introduces themselves and
flawlessly asks that same question.
What's your thoughts on
transgender service members serving
in an austere environment
like this here in Kandahar?
I'm in the back of the room
and I hear, "transgender"
and it sort of focused
my attention very quickly
as I raise my head, look around
who's asking this question.
Everybody in the room
immediately looks over.
Every cam in
the room starts going nuts.
We want to make our conditions
and experience of service,
uh, as attractive as possible to
the best people in our country.
I'm very open-minded
about their personal lives
and proclivities are, provided they
can do what we need them to do.
[Logan] Everybody gets up,
we started heading over to Carter.
Literally, at the last split second
I decided to introduce myself.
"Sir, I'm Senior Airman Logan Ireland.
I am representing one of the 15,000
actively serving transgender
members at the Military."
His eyes bugged out, and he is
the sweetest guy, and he's like,
"Wow, this is...
this is incredible.
Thank you so much. Thank you
so much for your service
and having the integrity to come
up here and tell me that."
And he gave me a coin.
Yes, it says, "Presented by the Secretary
of Defense, United States of America."
That was pretty cool.
[reporter] During a Military Town
Hall event yesterday in Kandahar,
Secretary Carter expressed an openness
to the idea of openly transgender service
saying "only suitability for service
should bar an American from enlistment."
Does the President share
Secretary Carter's views on this?
Chris, I've seen the reports
of Secretary Carter's comments.
I can tell you that the President
agrees with the sentiment
that all Americans who are qualified
to serve should be able to serve.
For that reason, we here at the White House welcome
the comments from the Secretary of Defense.
[reporter] Secretary of Defense,
Ash Carter has ordered a six-month study
to review the Military's policies
on transgender service members
and to consider the effect that
changing those policies would have.
[reporter 2] The review includes looking
at a 40-page document of medical conditions
that preclude service including sexual
conditions or disorders like transgender.
But Officials say senior military leaders
are pushing back with serious reservations.
There are questions about
where to house those troops,
where do they go to the bathroom,
what effect will it have on their units.
[reporter3] Retired general
John Kelly of the Marine Corps
believes it may not
be that simple.
Right now if you are being
unless it's fairly temporary,
you will get a discharge.
It is my understanding that some transgenders
need lifelong hormonal treatments,
tend to depression issue
in many cases. It goes back
to this issue where it,
does it make us more lethal?
And I clearly would argue that
it doesn't make us more lethal.
We don't know if we're on
track to get a change in policy
but we've been hearing things from
people we know inside the building,
and some of them are positive
and some of them are concerns.
The deadline really is the election.
There's just the political reality that
a new president in their first term is not
gonna necessarily wanna take on this issue.
[Sue] I've gotten to know
General Milley, and I asked him,
"Can I come in and talk to you about
it just to understand your issues,
maybe provide some
additional information?"
He agreed to me, and that's
what we're planning to do.
[somber music]
[Sue] The only thing I want to
hear is I want to hear your intro.
- My intro?
- Yup.
Good morning, sir.
My name is Jennifer Peace.
I'm a captain in the United
States Army, currently stationed
with the 7th Infantry Division
at Fort Lewis, Washington.
We're here for our
soldiers and ourselves.
Our concern is that we're being offended,
but we are being able to provide you
any answers to
questions that you may have.
I don't intend to have your
job before you're done with it
but if you could keep this
seat warm and perhaps go ahead
and settle their
nameplates for the door.
I think it would be
beneficial to everyone.
You're killing me. [laughter]
Gonna give her a heart attack.
Seriously. Seriously.
Really, General Milley
may never have another chance
to talk to a transgender service
member before he makes a decision.
And right now, I think
the solution is looking for him
to know where he really stands.
This is gonna be a pivot point.
It's gonna be a huge pivot point
because if he comes out of here,
even neutral,
even neutral, we've won.
We've won.
[somber music]
[Sue] Didn't start out bad. He basically
said: "I'm opposed while I'm in here,
you know, don't know what
I don't know."
He said look my job is
it's not about equal opportunity
or equality. My job is readiness.
More like that's what we're
all about. That's all yours.
And Jenn said, "Sir, they
treat me like a male soldier."
He says, "Well, I don't
actually want them to do that.
They should treat you as a female
soldier." Right, Is that what he said?
It's like they're making you use
male pronouns and I'm like, "Yeah."
He's like, "And you going to...
which bathroom are you using?
I said, they want me
using the male bathroom.
And then he said like,
"Like have you had surgery?"
She said, "I've had three
surgeries." And then he said,
"What's up with your hair?
I need to hear this story."
I was just like, "Well,
I keep it because I hope
that it will convince people that I am a female
soldier that I have to pass as one of them."
[woman] And here is
the other thing, he said,
[Sue] "I just want you
to know I had never met,
to my knowledge, I have
never met a transgender person."
That means he's never knowingly spoken
with a transgender soldier before.
- And now it started [crosstalk]
- Yeah, he needed to know, the applicants will tell you
anything and you go, "Sir,
I am not an advocate, I'm just a soldier."
The questions he had, we had
answers for all of them.
He's like, "Transgender people commit suicide
at four times the rate of everyone else,
- Is that correct?"
- And here's the thing,
if you don't have access to
healthcare and you don't have a job
and you don't have social support,
you are at risk for suicide.
What do people in the army have? Access
to healthcare, a job, social support.
I have a tremendous experience
and this very kind of real to me
and maybe a little sobering.
If I thought that
the same thing that,
you know, this four-star general
Princeton Grad
was struggling with in his mind is
gonna be the same for the rest of,
you know, for so many more
Americans, specifically soldiers.
We turn now to North Carolina
where a new measure restricting
protections for gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender people
is being called the toughest
law of its kind in the nation.
Well, here's the bottom line,
the reason that the bathroom bill
is center stage in the presidential
campaign is because it represents
more than bathrooms. Some would argue,
I'm might, of an unraveling of our culture
and perhaps our ability to plan
for the future as a species.
I'm Jessica Taylor, I'm an
airline pilot, I am transgender.
I wanna know, if you can see me, first
of all, what would make you uncomfortable
with me using
the women's restroom?
- [Anchor 1] She's a very attractive woman.
- Well,
- [laughs]
- [anchor] Very.
A lot of transgender people are not...
a lot of people... a lot are not convincing
in their presentation as the
opposite of their biological sex.
And so, it's obvious to the people who see
them that this is actually a man in a dress
and not a biological woman.
OK, so who's gonna set the standard
as to appearance of female?
Is there gonna be a TSA watching
the door of the bathroom
and you're gonna say,
"Oh, you're not womanly enough."
I know a lot of women and that are
very, you know, neutral in their gender
and you're gonna tell them they can't...
they got to go use the men's restroom
now in North Carolina?
Well, that makes sense.
The point is... This is an issue
that you and other transgender people
- have brought on yourself by choosing to present yourselves...
- Oh, wow.
- as the opposite
of your biological sex.
[somber music]
So, today is Friday the 24th,
we'll be leaving
out here on Monday.
[Logan] I don't want to leave. I much
rather stay here and extend if I could.
I spent the last nine months being
seen as myself, being seen as male.
I've gone by male reg and standards,
have lived with males without fault.
I really don't
wanna go back home
and have to go by
female reg, female standards.
It sucks, 'cause out here people
think of it as real shitty conditions.
You're in Kandahar, Afghanistan
going outside the wire
and doing a dangerous mission.
But I would much rather
be here than home.
[background talking]
I'm really hoping that everything goes
well, that with my home based commander
when I tell him about myself
and "Hey, I'm a trans-troop.
I don't really want you to see me as
that, but I need to tell you that."
Maybe see if they can give me some
leniency on dressing appearance,
so I don't have to wear female
dress blues. I really don't...
I just can't fathom that... I can't fathom
having to do that after being out here.
[phone rings]
- Hey.
- Hey, my love.
- We start boarding in an hour.
- I miss you.
- I miss you. Are you going to be able to sleep [chuckles]?
- No, I'm not [chuckles].
My transition experience
is very different from Logan's.
I've had a sit down with
my, uh, my second supervisor.
And my question to her was,
do you think it will be best that I,
you know, volunteer this
information to our main supervisor?
And she said, "You know what?
Keep it to yourself.
Don't say nothing because she's not for
anyone that falls under the LGBT Umbrella."
I've seen other people by the
command, in general, in Hawaii,
they have discharged, uh,
service members for being transgender.
I have to pretend
that I am a male soldier.
Every morning before I head to work, I spend
at least 20 to 25 minutes fixing my hair.
I carry around a printout of the AR 670-1
regarding the hair regulations for males,
because I know that someone
is going to say something to me.
I slick it back and I part it,
make it look convincing that I'm a male.
This face doesn't even say male.
It's crazy.
Society has painted
this picture that transwomen
look like men in dresses where
they wear makeup and glitter
and they prance around and they're
loud and that's all they do,
but truth of
the matter is they don't.
[phone rings]
Incoming call from husband.
- [Logan] Where are you?
- I'm driving.
- Just FYI, I smell like shit.
- I love you either ways, stinky or not.
- How far away are you out of...
- I don't know.
- I'm just driving 60 miles.
- 60 miles?
- Yes.
- Well, I'll message you whenever we leave here, okay?
- Okay, I love you.
- I love you. Bye.
If you've met me in 2011 and told me
that I was going to be marrying a man
who also happens
to be transgender,
I would've told
you to get out of here.
That in itself would have been just like,
"Who are you and why are you lying to me?"
Like I know that...
that no way, but here I am
engaged to a transman
from Texas
who's in the Air Force.
How are you going to do
this? How are you to do this?
- Go into the road.
- [laughter]
[Debbie] We've been married for
11 years but together for 13.
She decided to join the Military
and so we married on a Saturday
and she left for basic
training that Wednesday.
- Hold up.
- [Debbie] Alright children, come here.
[children laughing]
- [Debbie] Love you.
- Where's momma?
- Oh, right here.
- [Jenn] Where's mommy?
Right here.
[Debbie] I was about six months
pregnant with Emilia
when she told me she
thought she was a transwoman.
I absolutely thought at
the time that it would go away.
I ignored it for months
and I would just become very angry
every time she wanted to talk about it.
[Debbie] I was scared
she would get kicked out
and she was
the breadwinner of the family.
I didn't know how we would
move on with our lives
if something happened.
Um, I went through
a grieving process.
The very last stage, I finally
grieved the person I thought she was.
I had to say goodbye to this
person that I thought she was.
And all of a sudden,
it was just different.
It didn't matter, I didn't
care, um, I just loved her.
Being scared about
the Military kicking her out,
I just told myself we'll figure
it out if something happens.
But I need you to do this
because I don't want to lose you.
[Logan] So today, I'm being
pulled into my commander's office,
I don't know what he
wants to talk to me about.
We go in, he's like, "Hey man, just want to
thank you for everything you did at Kandahar.
Um, we heard really
great things about you."
And he said, "We have your back 150%.
Whatever you need to do, do it."
He's like,
"Okay, um, you're blues.
They... You're not wearing
them, are you or are you not?
Because you have female blues and
those are way out of standard for you,
you need to get rid of those."
I'm like, "No shit?" [laughs]
- So that means?
- That means I got to go buy male blues.
I got so excited
because that's huge.
- This is the first to my knowledge.
- Yeah.
Yes, you're telling me to screw dressing
and now I'm going by male dressing
appearance standards too.
So, I don't have to
grow my hair out [laughs],
and I can have
a shitty mustache.
So this is where, like
it becomes really irritating
because... he has a situation
where he has to wear
a male uniform.
And I have to go today...
I have to go today
and get my hair cut,
because it's not
within male standards.
It's quite unfortunate.
[background conversation]
They need a change
of policy ASAP.
- What?
- [woman] Then in 15 minutes I can come and help.
15, huh.
I cannot tell
if these are clean.
They smell clean.
I've been
deployed before, twice.
For a total of 24...
25 and a half months.
This is going to be
my second deployment to Iraq.
I'm not out
to anyone in this unit.
I'm just gonna make sure everything
that needs to get in here, gets in here.
So, the coming out thing,
I don't think it's simple.
Imagine if you're my soldier or you're my
battle buddy and I'm deploying with you
and I tell you this thing. Now
we're scheduled to be roommates,
you have to sleep
in the bed next to me.
You share a room with me, right?
So I've been the same person
with the same deep voice,
with the same five o'clock
shadow, come 1:30 in the day.
But now you're uncomfortable
and you have a name for it.
Then it becomes very much not
about my comfort or my safety,
it becomes about your
comfort and your safety
because you feel threatened that
I'm the same person I was yesterday
or an hour ago before I
told you anything about me.
[Jean] I had to get ready he'll
come in a minute. There's my son.
Hey, my darling.
No key. Oh.
Oh, mama.
- Alright.
- I really have to get you a ride, for real.
- No, no, no.
- So, tell me about your leaving.
- Leaving me.
- My leaving.
How many is going to deploy
with you tonight?
Total is like 1300 of us. It's like 10 flights
over, you know, throughout the month.
[father] If I told you what this
day, kind of, has been like...
That's why I try not
to call you 50 times a day,
- I only called you three.
- Okay, that works.
- And then I didn't talk long.
- I appreciate it.
El always identified with
the boys and I just thought,
"Oh, he's just going to be
a tomboy like I was growing up."
El came out transgender, it was like
something had hit me in my chest.
At the time
he was away at West Point.
And so he came home
and he was saying things like,
"Mom, you know you going to
have to change those pronouns."
And so, I would walk away not
knowing what the heck he meant.
Until one day I said,
"What does that mean?."
He said, "I'm transgender now."
And I said, "Well,
what does that mean?"
She goes, "Okay. I mean, can't you
just be a really masculine lesbian?"
I had to go on the computer,
I had to do a little research.
I went to a pastor because
I was so torn, I was so broken,
I was looking for answers and he
didn't seem at all surprised.
And he said, "well,
Jean, just simmer down,
he said you know he'll be all
right and you'll be all right."
And so he took me to,
I think it was the 3rd chapter,
I think of John the 35th verse where
Jesus was speaking to his disciples.
And he left
his last commandment,
"As to love everyone
as I have loved you.
And people will know that you
are my disciples by your love."
He said,"put a period
there and keep on living
and let El keep on
living his life."
- Oh...
- Sure.
You got big muscles.
[El] She went from being "I don't understand
this" to "I'm your biggest cheerleader."
Any slight talk of discriminating
against a trans-person and she's like,
"Do we need to go to Capitol
Hills? Should I write Obama."
Yes, but I have
had a long day too.
Tell me about it,
what did you do?
- Prayed and cried.
- Cried and prayed.
Prayed to God. Shift me.
Shift me back and forth.
- Love me.
- Love. Let me ask you this.
Would you please stay in touch?
Keep your... keep your phone charged up.
[somber music]
- Send me on my way.
- Straighten up. Up and up and out.
- [father] Christ.
- [Jean] Our Father and our God,
hear us as we pray. Protect
him every step of the way.
- [Joan] You're going to leave me?
- [El] I'm going. I'll be back.
[Jean] I guess, like every parent, they
have that fear and they have that anxiety
about their child
going off to war.
[Jenn] When I first
started working here.
I didn't know who knew
that I was trans.
It's been a big deal the last
couple of units that I've been in.
I was here in two or three months before
I even knew that the Command was aware.
The leadership here is amazing.
[Jenn] Going to Mississippi for a
week and then I go to the desert.
So when you go out like, you're driving
your truck and just sleep in the truck
or whatever that you're in
or on a rock somewhere.
And then in the garrison it's like a big,
long, open tent with like 12 bunk beds.
They'll have so many female
tents, then so many male tents.
I'm hoping it goes smooth,
but kind of worried about that.
[Jenn] I am here at Fort
Hunter Liggett for an exercise
and I am sleeping
in the female barracks.
I took a shower in the female
shower, use the female bathroom
and now I'm relaxing in bed,
getting ready for work tomorrow.
There hasn't been an issue. I don't
expect there's going to be an issue.
I may be the first transwoman sleeping
in female barracks in the Army.
It shouldn't be any
more complicated than that.
Good night.
[phone ringing]
- Hey.
- Hey.
How are you?
A little stressed out, babe.
A little bit.
You want to talk about it or...
No, I just have stuff on my uniform and
it's like I'm on crunch time right now,
but whatever. What's going on?
Well, you look good in it.
If that, that means anything.
[Logan] So, I have an exception to policy
letter, which means I can go by male regs
and standards
and be seen as male.
Laila, my fianc,
my rock, my everything,
she's got nothing.
And I almost hate when I have something
positive to tell her about my day
like, "Well, I got to do this."
When hers is, it's
almost never in a positive note.
So, how's your
out processing going?
Uhm, out-processing is out-
processing, and it's become
a hassle running back and forth
because I don't
have certain things
and my gender marker
isn't right in the system.
You know how that goes, so...
Trust me, I definitely know.
I would say that I'm excited about the
fact that when this policy changes,
I'm not going to have to slick back
my hair anymore, but unfortunately
I won't be in to see that change,
but I'll be alive to see that change, so...
- Yes.
- That's a good thing.
[Laila] So I felt that my leadership was
basically building a case against me.
Anyone who has served knows
that a dishonorable discharge
means you don't
retain any benefits at all.
I wouldn't be able to
get a job on the outside.
And so I chose to stick
with the honorable discharge
and the medical separation because
I wanted to retain my benefits.
Everything that I
worked for in 12 years.
- [man] Does it snow in Oklahoma?
- [Laila] I don't know.
Well, it did when I
went for basic training.
That was at Fort, so,
that's about an hour away.
What is it there to do in
Oklahoma? I've never been.
Depends on what part
of Oklahoma you're in.
Like, where I'm going
to be at, there's nothing.
Where's Oklahoma? Is that
the south? Is that the north?
- West. Midwest.
- West? Midwest?
- Central.
- Central.
Yeah, Central. West Central.
- Is that it?
- I'm just trying over here.
There's so much there.
Okay. So like, places like that,
that's what get you like, scared.
I think it's just like that
with anywhere, though.
I'd be scared, except here.
It says, "Oklahoma law
does not address discrimination
based on gender identity
or sexual orientation."
Oh, I don't know if
it's joking. [laughs]
What is... What does it say?
State law does not address
hate crimes based on gender.
So there's no
laws that address...
So basically you're unprotected.
Kind of, sort of, yeah.
- Yes, see I don't know.
- You'll be fine, though.
Yeah, I think so,
I think It'll be fine.
The Republican presidential
contest is heating up.
I do not appreciate
our military as a laboratory.
The Military is
not a social experiment,
the purpose of the Military
is kill people and break things.
[interviewer] If Caitlyn Jenner would walk
into Trump Tower and want to use the bathroom,
- you would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses.
- That is correct.
LGBT is starting to like Donald
Trump very much like lately,
I will tell you.
This is our meeting with
the chief staff of the Army,
we've been back
for multiple meetings.
I'm meeting with the Commandant
of the Marine Corps.
I'm meeting with the Vice
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
[Jenn] I wish I knew like,
what they want to know.
I wish I knew what it is
that they want to hear from us
or what piece of information
they feel like is missing.
We talked about like, this is what we
think bathroom policy should look like,
this is what we think PT's policy should look
like and they kept getting caught up on,
"Well, what if a service member needs
longer? What if they're not ready?
What if there's
a transitional time?
What if a service member fails
a PT test after transition?"
- Then they fail a PT test.
- Right. And the one guy goes,
"What if a transgender
service member has other issues
outside of being transgender?"
- Well, what issue?
- I'm like, I don't know.
If we couldn't get this done
before this president
leaves office,
it could be
another five to ten years.
My biggest worry is, "Holy shit,
if we're where we thought we were,
these questions should've
been asked six months ago.
They should've been
answered in fucking January."
What are they still doing?"
[Sue] So, we were still trying to get a
meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
and it's the end of June.
So we get this requested meeting
with the Secretary of Defense.
We didn't see this coming, no.
We did not expect
this meeting to happen.
Every other meeting we've
gone into, you always hope that
they introduce you to more people
and there's another meeting.
And I don't think anybody's
thinking about that today,
I think today is
the last meeting there can be.
After we talked to the Secretary of Defense, I
don't... I don't know that there's a follow on
that you need to have.
There's nowhere else to go.
I'm hoping that today it's
happening because they're preparing
to release the policy soon.
- Good.
- Okay, you guys ready?
- Yes, ma'am.
- All right, let's rock and roll.
[energetic music]
Good afternoon, everyone
thanks for being here.
I'm here today to announce some changes
in the Defense Department's policies
transgender service members.
The Defense Department and the Military need
to avail ourselves of all talent possible,
in order to remain what we are now the finest
fighting force the world has ever known.
Last July I directed the commencement of
a study to identify the practical issues
related to transgender
Americans serving openly.
We had to look carefully
and deliberately, but medical,
legal and policy
considerations that...
We had to take into account the
unique nature of military readiness
and make sure we got it right.
I think it's fair to say,
this has been an educational
process for a lot of people here
in the Department, including me.
I'm announcing today that we're ending
the ban on transgender Americans
in the United States Military.
Yes, yes, yes!
Taking these steps,
we're eliminating policies
that can result in transgender
members being treated differently
from their peers based solely
upon their gender identity
rather than upon
their ability to serve.
We're confirming that going forward,
we will apply the same general principles,
standards and procedures
to transgender service members
as we do to all service members.
Policy has been
changed, ya'll, hallelujah!
Oh my God.
All this is definitely hitting me a
little more than I thought it would.
It's just nice to
finally be recognized
and to hear someone else say all
the things we've been saying.
Yeah, it's a good day.
[background conversation]
I'm looking up
like, wedding dances.
I can barely walk in a straight line.
I mean, you want me to dance?
- Shopping, shopping.
- Okay.
- I got pepper, pepper.
- Oh, put on some sea salt.
- Salt, salt.
- Oh.
That's good. That was good.
- You all right, Laila?
- Yeah.
You ready? You can chicken out
if you want right now, you know.
I love you.
[news anchor] The Republican nomination
for the US Presidency was finally settled.
John Kasich's exit today
after Ted Cruz's last night...
We gave it everything we've got.
- ...left it all to one person.
- The voters.
- Maybe you've heard of him.
- We had a tremendous victory tonight,
It was a tremendous victory.
So when the ban was lifted, I was in Taji,
Iraq and we were supporting an advise
and assist mission
to help the Iraqi army
into Mosul to defeat ISIS.
We were are all sitting around the
table, I'm just nervous, I'm sweating.
I'm just like, "Oh, God." Like, "How am I
going to like, how am I going to tell them,
but I have to tell them."
Then I said, "T,
I want you guys to
know something about me,
this is who I am and this is...
These are the steps I'll be taking once
we get back to the States, but
I want you all to know that."
And it was so inconsequential
to them that it was like,
"You're ours, you're my officer,
you're my leader, we don't care.
Pass the ketchup, pass the hot sauce.
Let's eat so we get back to the office."
[news anchor] Four polls that have
Clinton up by at least 10 points,
could we be seeing our first
true landslide in a long time.
[Logan] I am preparing to take
the AFOQT which stands for
the Air Force Officer
Qualifying test.
I've been doing math tutoring on
my days off, paying out of pocket.
I want to stay in
the Military until retirement
and why not take a
shot at becoming an officer?
[news anchor] At this point, it seems the
election could be won by either candidate.
[new anchor 2] The latest average of
national polls shows Hillary Clinton
about two points
ahead of Donald Trump.
[Colonel Isenhower III] We watch very
closely company command positions
because we put a lot on the
shoulders of company commanders.
They have incredible
they can exercise the Uniform
Code of Military Injustice
and they
can also adjudicate law.
These positions are revered in our army
necessarily and we choose very carefully.
It's my prerogative alone
who takes that company command
but I asked five key leaders
who are my closest advisers,
who they thought should be the
next Headquarters and Headquarters
Company Commander and their
recommendation was unanimous.
They all thought Captain
Peace was the clear choice.
If somebody asks me if
Captain Peace serving in my unit
was a social experiment, my retort
would be pretty clear and pretty quick.
I don't experiment
with command positions.
That position was clear and obvious
for me that she was right for the job.
Her performance and her potential
were outstanding and frankly,
outpaced those of her peers.
This is one of the greatest organizations
that I've had the opportunity
to serve in my career. I look forward
to being able to support and enable you
in the mission
of the years ahead.
- Head Hunters.
- [applause]
Right now, a historic moment.
We can now project the winner
of the Presidential Race
CNN projects.
Donald Trump
wins the Presidency.
[Lindsay] What we're going to learn
today, is about transgender individuals.
Without further ado, I
want to introduce Laila Ireland.
Um, Aloha
and good morning everybody.
Like Lindsey said,
I am a transgender individual.
I'm an Army Veteran.
Since I left the Military, I've been
able to go on these speaking engagements
where I talk about
being trans in the Military.
I came out to my parents two weeks
before I actually left home to deploy.
It was tough.
It was a tough time and...
I really wish that I could still be in
the Military and put the uniform on,
but my purpose is now to make sure that
this doesn't happen to anybody else.
I was at a 30-plus day training
rotation in the middle of Fort Bliss,
Texas/New Mexico
and I... You know, I just started
getting these texts, and it's just like,
"I'm so sorry, are you okay?"
I'm like, "My parents die?"
I'm like, " What is going on?"
I didn't even
see it on Facebook.
I asked them and I was
like, "What do you mean?"
And they like, you know
"The President's tweets"
[crowd chanting]
[crowd] 15,000.
Thank you for your service.
15,000. Thank you
for your service.
15,000. Thank you
for your service.
[reporter] Secretary of Defense,
James Mattis, is reportedly appalled
by the President's decision
to ban transgender people
from serving in the Military.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
Shame. Shame. Shame.
[reporter] Thursday, the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford,
released this written statement,
that there will be no modifications
to the current policy until the
President's direction has been received
by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary
has issued implementation guidance.
In the meantime, we will continue to
treat all of our personnel with respect.
[Gen Mark A. Milley] But I do want
to reiterate one thing up front.
Uh, it's this issue of the transgender
news that came out, uh, the other day.
Uh, and it should be no surprise
to anyone, but the entire force,
the entire chain of command will,
always has, will today and will tomorrow
and always should, treat every single
soldier, sailor, airmen, marine, coastguard
with dignity and respect for their service
and the Cloth of our Nation, bar none.
[reporter] Why did you try to announce the
transgender ban reversal a couple of weeks ago?
- Are you betraying a community that you pledged to support...
- No, no. Look,
I have great respect
for the community.
I think I have had great
support from that community
I got a lot of votes. But the transgender,
the Military is working on it now.
They're doing the work. It's
been a very difficult situation.
And I think I'm doing a lot of people
a favor by coming out and just say it.
As you know, it's been a very
complicated issue for the Military.
It's been a very
confusing issue for the Military
and I think I'm doing
the Military a great favor.
[Logan] What's the future going to hold for me
in the Military? This is what I want to do,
this is what I'm focused on.
Now, you're telling me I can't
because of
what standard or what reason.
You know, if you give me facts, then we can
talk about it but I don't see facts right here
as to why I
can't become an officer.
You know, are we still
going to be allowed to deploy
and we're still going to allow, you know,
going to different training opportunities.
Uh, what's that
going to be for medical?
Are we still going to
get the same medical benefits?
My wife and I, we have to
put adoption processes on hold
because I don't know if
I'm going have a job come March.
I don't know what
the future looks like.
People that enter the Military,
they want the same things, right?
They want a better future, they want a more
stable foundation, they want education benefits,
medical benefits,
to do something that's bigger than them,
to serve for their brothers and
sisters, and I want the same thing.
So, my future is the same future
as everybody else in the Military.
Why are you denying me
that... that want to serve?
[dramatic music]
[Elle] Please welcome Laila and
her husband, Staff Sergeant Logan.