It is with a deep sense of gratitude, and no small measure of sadness, that SPART*A bids farewell to Laila Ireland.
For most of the past decade, Laila has been at the forefront of the fight for open transgender service in the military. She has done this work at every level of the Army, from individual interactions with co-workers, to meetings with the Secretary of the Army. Laila’s tireless work on behalf of the transgender military community has been instrumental in paving a path to open service - a goal that is finally on the brink of being fully realized.
Laila’s public achievements over the last decade are a testament to her character, but they are far from everything she has accomplished. In addition to her public roles and responsibilities, she has been equally impactful behind the scenes. Laila has been a mentor to all of us who choose to be public about our transitions and our advocacy. She has spent countless hours guiding us, teaching us how to navigate the complex balance between personal and public lives, military and media exposure, and the many intersections present in the trans military community. Laila has been a de facto adoptive mother to countless young transgender service members, always taking those early in transition under her wing to make sure they felt safe and loved.
After years of committed advocacy for transgender service members and service on the board of SPART*A, Laila is turning her considerable talent, drive, and passion for change to advocacy for minority veterans. She has been selected to serve on the board for Minority Veterans of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing equity for the underrepresented, and we here at SPART*A know she will be a powerhouse for them just as she was for us.
Laila was a force of nature here at SPART*A from the very beginning. She has been a mentor, friend, and fierce advocate. SPART*A has been lucky to have her, is so excited for the work she will do in the future, and wishes her all the best on her next adventures.