“My life has definitely taken a negative turn because of this."
Donald Trump's trans military ban is going beyond just affecting servicemembers where they work, it's disrupting their plans for higher education too.
Map Pesqueira is a trans student who is currently a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin (UT) and says he lost his scholarship when the ban went into effect last Friday.
He was going to school using a three-year scholarship awarded to him by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
Since the ban the scholarship has been revoked by US Department of Defence so Pesqueira had to create a GoFundMe page in order to continue his pursuit of a degree in the entertainment arts.
The ban affected those who weren't able to be "grandfathered" in under the Obama non-discrimination policy. Matthew O’Neill, UT’s Army ROTC department chair and Pesqueira’s military science professor tried to get him exempt from the edict, but it was ineffective.
“Since I’ve already had top surgery, hormone replacement therapy, gender marker and [a] name change, I can’t go in under this policy,” Pesqueira said. “I’d automatically be discriminated. I really do see [the policy] as a waste of resources, money, time and personnel. It’s made figuring out my future education so much harder.”
Pesqueira says he's always had big dreams to serve his country,
"While growing up in a military city," he says on his fundraising page, "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."
The GoFundMe has already accrued $845 of the $20,000 goal. That money will be spent to carry him through his sophomore year.
“My life has definitely taken a negative turn because of this,” Pesqueira said. “I’m trying to put it back on a clear track, but that may or may not happen. As much as it is a headline, … almost every aspect of (people’s) lives can be affected by this (policy).”
He hopes that he can outlast the ban which is set to expire in 2020.