Watch trans military veteran Laila Ireland make a powerful case for equality.

Retired Army veteran Laila Ireland isn't about to let President Trump kick trans people out of the military without putting up a fight.

Ireland, a trans woman herself, took the stage at GLAAD's San Francisco Gala to give a speech rejecting the administration's plans to ban people like her from serving openly in the military. While she's retired, her husband, Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, is still on active duty.

Ireland's speech took aim at Trump's unfounded claim that letting trans people serve in the military is some sort of burdensome expense (the estimated total cost of providing health care for trans service members is between $2.4 and $8.4 million per year, or roughly one-fifth of what the military already spends on Viagra), and highlighted a number of the key roles that trans service members are currently filling. To remove these patriotic Americans from their posts and to deny trans people the same right as everyone else to serve their country is not only harmful for the trans community, but for the military and country as a whole.


GIFs from GLAAD/YouTube.

In her speech, Ireland called on military leaders to speak up and voice opposition to the ban before it's too late.

"It is my hope that our military leaders will quickly acknowledge that transgender troops should get the same freedoms and integrity we so courageously protect," said Ireland. It's a message that extends beyond just military service.

Perhaps she's right. Perhaps a strong show of support from military leaders and veterans for the role trans service members play in keeping our country safe could change the course of the plan to re-institute a ban on trans service, expected to be put in place by March 2018.

Sadly, though, the ban on military service is just one of several ongoing attacks against trans people in America.

The Trump administration has adjusted how it interprets civil rights legislation and nondiscrimination policies when it comes to employment, health care, housing, public accommodations, education, and so much more. Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, has shown himself to be brutally anti-trans — as have a number of other members of Trump's administration. Though it's easy to conclude that whatever progress for trans rights Trump undoes can simply be redone by the next administration, it's nowhere near that easy.

Laila hugs her husband, Logan, in this image from The New York Times' "Transgender, at War and in Love" documentary. Image from The New York Times/YouTube.

Allies are needed now more than ever before to help hold the line on the progress that's been made before it's too late.

There are an estimated 1.4 million transgender people living in the U.S., which in the larger sense, is still a pretty tiny sliver of the population, making the group easy to pick on. Sadly, since the Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was now the law of the land, many of the organizations and politicians that had been fighting against the push for marriage have since turned their focus to trans people.

The good news is that a majority of the public doesn't agree with efforts to discriminate against trans people. It's great to have those allies, but it's even better if they're willing to speak out against anti-trans hate, push back on politicians who support discrimination, and use their voice to fight for equality whenever possible. It's a long battle, but if allies can help win over hearts and minds, there's a good chance we'll all come out on top.

Watch Laila Ireland's powerful speech below.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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