A transgender freshman at the University of Texas at Austin has lost his scholarship due to the transgender military ban.
Map Pesqueira, who is majoring in radio, television, and film at UT and has a passion for filmmaking, is also a cadet in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Pesqueira had applied for and received a national scholarship from the U.S. Army Cadet Command last year prior to beginning his studies; it would have funded most of his college education. However, the ban, which went into effect Friday, has now prevented Pesqueira from using these funds and may force him to drop out of school.
Pesqueira had planned to serve in the Army as a second lieutenant after graduation. But since he is a transgender man who began his medical transition last year, he is also prohibited from serving.
In response, the San Antonio native has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his tuition, room, and board for his sophomore year. He is also raising awareness of the injustice of the ban, which is preventing him for following his dreams and serving his country:
"Since I was a kid, one of my biggest dreams was to pursue a career in the Army to serve my country," Pesqueira wrote. "While growing up in a military city, my dad often took me to the Fort Sam Houston Army Base for public events and I was always captivated by the uniforms the servicepeople wore, knowing that they belonged to an elite team rooted in pride and unity that protects our country. That was my inspiration for wanting to be a part of the military; that it wasn't about the individual, it's about being involved in something incredibly larger than myself."
As of the time of this article's publication, Pesqueira had crowdsourced $2,839 of a $20,000 goal on GoFundMe. "I would really appreciate any help you are willing to give me to help me achieve my future goals of graduating from The University of Texas. Thank you kindly," he wrote on the page.
After being challenged in court, the transgender military ban -- initially announced by President Trump on Twitter in 2017 -- was put into effect Friday by the Department of Defense.
Under its terms, the military will discharge or deny enlistment to anyone who won't serve in the gender to which they were assigned at birth, or who are undergoing hormone therapy or other gender-confirmation procedures. Nearly 14,000 service members will be impacted.
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