On Aug. 25, President Donald Trump signed a policy placing a ban on transgender service members, causing many to react with anger, confusion and resentment. With such high tensions in the air, MTV decided to make a statement.
At the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) this past Sunday nearly 6.5 million people tuned into one of MTV’s largest events of the year. The awards show, which is comparable to a Super Bowl for music media fans, didn’t stray away from sending a powerful social message to its viewers.
MTV president Chris McCarthy demonstrated his support of the LGBTQ community by saying it would be an honor if transgender members of the United States Armed Forces came to the VMAs this year.
“Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stand for equality is a hero at MTV and to young people everywhere,” McCarthy said.
Although it is one thing to see the media implode with an outburst of editorials and news articles in response to the transgender ban, it is another to see real-life transgender service members bravely share their personal lives and stories.
That night, six transgender service members and veterans proudly walked across the red carpet in Los Angeles in protest of the ban. These individuals included active service members Jennifer Peace, Sterling James Crutcher, Akira Wyatt and Logan Ireland, along with veterans Brynn Tannehil and Laila Ireland.
Of the service members who attended, many of them spoke openly about their reactions to the ban. Jennifer Peace reminisced on the country’s history and all of the progressive changes the military has gone through to allow the armed forces to be open for everyone.
In the past, the United States has passed laws allowing African Americans, women and the LGBTQ community to serve our country. All six of these members came from different backgrounds, lifestyles and served in various parts of the forces, but they each came to a consensus: The United States Military should treat people with equality, regardless of their background, sexuality, religion or anything else.
Among the chaotic reactions and high emotions that were felt after the presidential ban placed in August, it is a relief to find a large organization like MTV taking the initiative to let the silent voices of many be heard. May this be a lesson to us all to stand our ground when supporting the issues we believe in and the rights of those we love.