The TransMilitary project exists to create visual media for transgender service members and veterans to be seen and heard. In 2015, co-producers Fiona Dawson, Jamie Coughlin and Gabe Silverman were commissioned by The New York Times to produce the short opinion documentary, Transgender, at War and in Love. This Op Doc was a huge success, becoming one of The New York Times' most viewed online short films. Furthermore, Fiona was given The White House LGBT Champions of Change award, the film won The White House News Photographers Association's Best Documentary, was nominated for a GLAAD Award in the Outstanding Digital Journalism – Multimedia category, and was a nominee for "Outstanding Short Documentary" in the 37th Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards.
Commissioned by The New York Times and produced by TransMilitary creator Fiona Dawson in partnership with Gabriel Silverman and Jamie Coughlin of SideXSide Studios, Transgender, at War and in Love was released June 4, 2015 as part of The Times' editorial series Transgender Today.
In this 12 minute documentary, SPARTA members Logan Ireland (Air Force) and his fiancee, Laila Villanueva (Army) came out publicly as being transgender.
Ireland, 27, and Villanueva, 29, have a combined 16 years of service, four deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and have received awards and commendations for their work. Yet Department of Defense medical readiness regulations prohibit their open service and classify them as unfit to serve.
On returning from six months in an austere environment where he was seen and treated as a male, this documentary shares how Ireland informs his home-station that he is transgender. Despite his military record stating him as female, Ireland's chief instructs him to adhere to male dress and grooming standards. “That means I can grow a shitty mustache,” Ireland jokes in the film.
However, Villanueva, a nurse in an Army hospital, is not accepted as a female by her leadership. She is required to dress and wear her hair according to male regulations, and is instructed to correct patients at work to use male pronouns.
On Thursday June, 30 2016 Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on transgender service members is lifted. TransMilitary continues to finish the feature documentary in order to help integrate policy change by touching hearts and educating minds.