OSI Special Agent Shares His Trans Journey to Inspire Others > Air Force Reserve Command > News Article

Growing up, Logan Ireland always felt different.

The Flower Mound, Texas native seemed to have what some would describe as a standard childhood. He played sports, made friends and spent his summers outdoors. Yet, deep down, he knew something was different.

Ireland was born female. After coming out as a lesbian to his mother at age 12, he believed that making this statement would more accurately explain why he felt different. However, the proclamation only partially explained his feelings.

Facing many trials and tribulations on his journey to self-realization, he faced rejection from society and was bullied long before he decided to enlist. Yet he went ahead and joined the US Air Force, never imagining that his military career would begin on the cusp of policy changes for gay and transgender service members.

Serve in silence
In 2010, Ireland traveled to Joint Base San Antonio for basic military training, assuming he would most likely have to serve in silence.

“I thought, what if I was discovered?” said Ireland, thinking back to the early days of his military career, thinking he would just have to hide his identity. He felt that this corresponded to the philosophy of “service before self”.

The following year, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” took place. This federal law prohibited lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in the military from disclosing their sexual orientation or discussing their same-sex relationships. Although it was a step in the right direction, Ireland still felt incomplete.

“A good aviator”
Despite her military career taking off, the Security Forces Airman struggled to adjust to her lesbian identity. Seeking answers to life’s biggest questions, he turned to the internet, finding the term “transgender” kept coming up in the results. After reading and learning more about this term, he finally felt there was a word to describe his true feelings.

Yet professional obstacles remained. Although the DADT was repealed, the fight for trans rights continued. Ireland knew that if he came out as transgender, he would likely be discharged from military service.

“I wanted it to work because I’m a good airman,” he said. “My thoughts were to transition medically while serving in uniform.”

In February 2012, the Defender began its medical transition to an off-base medical facility.

Live authentically
At the end of 2014, things changed when Ireland learned of its first deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Assigned to the Office of Special Investigations, he would later call the agency at home.

Being deployed has helped Ireland live its truth in a new world. He was finally happy and felt like “one of the guys”. Even in the sweltering heat of Kandahar, life was like a breath of fresh air for the senior airman.

“It was liberating to be treated like everyone else,” he said. Finally, the professional and personal life of Ireland reflected.

“When we looked at it, we didn’t know anything different – at least I didn’t,” said Lt. Col. Victoria Mayo, Joint Task Force West program division chief and commander during the deployment.

“Ireland came into my office and said, ‘Can I talk to you for a minute? I am transgender. I am a woman in transition and he explained everything to me,” she added.

In addition to Mayo’s support, Ireland also received support from those who knew his identity.

Ireland was upfront and honest about their identity, unaware of what was to come.

“I attribute that acceptance to my candor and my professional performance speaks for itself,” he said.

Go out big
After his deployment, he became one of the most recognizable trans individuals after coming out publicly in The New York Times before the policy changed. It was a decision inspired by his deployment service.

According to Ireland, he does not see himself as a prominent figure, but simply as an airman doing his job. While being the first transgender man to unfold as his authentic self, he felt compelled to stand up for transgender rights.

“At that time, a lot of my friends were being fired,” he said. “I thought, politically, it could happen; we can change this policy.

Around this time, Laila Ireland, his wife and then-fiancée, went through a similar situation by coming out as transgender but with a different outcome. As a soldier, she did not receive the same support as Ireland.

The couple dated The New York Times. Although they dreamed of serving in the army until retirement, building a house, starting a family and everything that young couples strive to achieve, all of this was at risk for a cause in which they believed.

Now retired from military service, Laila has remained a strong advocate for transgender equality while being a military spouse within her community. In 2017, she was named Military Spouse of the Year at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

Time change
Although the military’s trans politics struggled in the years that followed, Ireland’s career was filled with success.

“I have never been so supported in my career as since I joined OSI. It’s just an amazing family, an amazing community.

Ireland hopes others will hear her story and be inspired to live their truth because everyone deserves dignity and respect.

“Respect and dignity will be extended to all Department of the Air Force Airmen, Custodians, and civilians, regardless of gender identity,” the Air Force Undersecretary said. Gina Ortiz Jones, who recently met Ireland.

At the end, “I want you to see me. You don’t have to agree with me, but I just want you to see me,” Ireland said.

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