TransMilitary filmmaker Fiona Dawson honored as ‘Champion of Change’
For her role in creating the film Transgender, At War and in Love, filmmaker Fiona Dawson will be honored by the White House as a “Champion for Change” this Monday.
The short film focuses on the challenges faced by SPARTA members Logan Ireland and Laila Villanueva who are part of the US military– i.e. the Air Force and Army, respectively– as well as transgender.
SPARTA (Servicemembers, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All) is an association of LGBT people who are currently serving or have served in the US Armed Forces, as well as their families.
The film was commissioned by the New York Times and was produced by Dawson in partnership with SideXSide Studios.
Fiona Dawson, transgender champion
“I owe a huge thank you to SPARTA for their trust and confidence over the years in making the film possible,” said Dawson, a long time friend and supporter of SPARTA.
“Without my relationships with SPARTA members I would not have been able to tell Logan and Laila’s compelling stories,” she added.
“However, our work is not done. The full length documentary needs to be made so the world may truly understand the depth of commitment from our American transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and Coast Guardsmen,” the filmmaker pointed out.
“TransMilitary is in the final stretch of producing the feature film that will show how a mighty but under-resourced team completed the mission to achieve open transgender service,” she noted.
Fiona Dawson and TransMilitary
Dawson’s short film profiles Logan, a transgender airman who recently completed a deployment while serving as male despite being assigned female at birth. The film also features his fiancée, Laila, who was assigned male at birth.
The short documentary relates the challenges of a transgender military couple, who are banned from serving openly in the US military. Though the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that banned lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving in the US military was repealed, it didn’t cover transgenders.
What’s more, the ban on transgender in the military is not based on a law but on outdated medical regulations that consider them as psychologically-impaired. Unfortunately, because of the way society and US military policy discriminates against transgenders, the couple are aware that they could be discharged by coming out publicly on film.
This film is part of TransMilitary, a platform for transgender service members. Dawson also produced the video project that contrasts the lives of American transgender military personnel and their British counterparts.
Recognition of Fiona Dawson’s work
“Fiona is a remarkably gifted artist and powerful ally to the transgender military community,” said Allyson Robinson, Army veteran and SPARTA Director of Policy.
“We are so proud that the White House is recognizing her contributions in creating gripping video that brings to life the real people who serve our country in silence,” Robinson said.
Fiona Dawson is one of a number of LGBT artists that will be recognized by the White House’s ‘Champions of Change’ program, which is about “everyday Americans who are making positive changes in their communities.”