The transgender community was dealt a devastating, if anticipated, blow by President Donald Trump Friday when it was announced he’d signed a memo banning trans men or women from enlisting in the military.
The move comes scarcely a month after Trump surprised his administration and the Pentagon when he announced his plan to ban trans service members via several jaw-dropping tweets. Friday’s announcement was, of course, the latest in a series of devastating setbacks trans people have experienced under the Trump administration. However, those service members will receive a warm welcome this weekend at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.
The network has sent transgender members of the U.S. military an open invitation to attend the VMAs on Sunday, NBC reports. “We would be honored if they could attend,” MTV President Chris McCarthy said in a statement cited by NBC, Rolling Stone and a number of other media outlets. “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.”
Trans soldiers praised the move as “an incredible opportunity,” INTO reported. “Most of the people who project an anti-trans attitude is because they don’t see, know, or come into contact with anyone they know who is transgender,” Kimberly Morris, who served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, said. “We’re not monsters, lunatics, or pedophiles. We’re dedicated, hard-working, patriotic Americans.”
The gesture recalls Lady Gaga’s 2010 VMAs appearance, when the pop diva attended the ceremony with four queer soldiers who had been discharged or asked to leave the military because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.