MTV has extended 2017 Video Music Awards invitations to active duty transgender military troops, CNN reports. The military service members’ attendance at Sunday’s event will be contingent on military approval.
“At this time the Department of Defense is reviewing the parameters of the request,” Pentagon Spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick told CNN. Active duty military members are under certain restrictions when it comes to participating in national public events.
“MTV has invited transgender members of the U.S. armed forces to the 2017 Video Music Awards and we would be honored if they could attend,” MTV president Christopher McCarthy said. “Any patriot who is putting their own life at risk to fight for our freedom and stands for equality is a hero at MTV, and to young people everywhere.”
MTV’s VMA invitation to transgender troops comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, which he surprise announced via Twitter last month. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump wrote. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Following Trump’s announcement, Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that transgender individuals will be able to serve for now. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” Dunford said.
The network has taken steps this year to overhaul some of its categories to be gender neutral, replacing Best Male Video and Best Female Video with the new Artist of the Year award. MTV has also changed how it references its iconic trophy, which is now referred to as a “Moon Person” instead of a “Moonman.”
“Why should this be a man?” McCarthy said in a recent interview. “It could be a man, it could be a woman, it could be transgender, it could be noncomformist.”