Just days after President Donald Trump signed a directive to ban transgender military recruits, MTV made a political statement on the red carpet of the Video Music Awards.
A number of transgender military members arrived at the big show on Sunday night. Earlier this week, the Department of Defense confirmed to Variety that MTV had requested the presence of transgender military members, but the government agency was still reviewing the request.
“They’re so progressive. MTV has always been a leader dating back two decades with ‘The Real World’ when they had the first person with AIDS on a show. MTV has always been a leader and a responder,” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and president of GLAAD, told Variety on the red carpet. “MTV represents the youth today.”
Air Force Staff Sergeant Logan B. Ireland added, “I believe that America was built on diversity and to be able to be here to share that is a really good experience.”
In July, Trump tweeted that transgender individuals would be banned from the military, sparking both backlash and confusion, as he had yet to lay out a formal plan for the ban. A month later, on Friday, he signed a directive to reverse an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to serve in the armed forces. It leaves the Department of Defense six months to develop a plan on how to implement the ban.
It’s far from the first time a political statement has been made on the VMAs red carpet. Last year, Beyonce arrived with several women whose sons were killed as the result of police actions, the faces of the Mothers of the Movement. In 2010, Lady Gaga brought four soldiers who were either discharged or asked to leave the military because of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
Katy Perry hosts the 2017 VMAs, which kicks off at 8 p.m. from the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Marisa Sullivan contributed to this report.