Transgender student loses university scholarship over Trump's trans military ban
A transgender student has lost his university scholarship after President Donald Trump's transgender military ban came into effect last week.
Map Pesqueira, from San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a national three-year Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship to fund his future studies in his senior year of high school.
However, his dreams of pursuing a degree in Radio, TV and Film and going on to join the army to serve his country were both shattered when his scholarship was revoked by the US Department of Defence.
Last week, the University of Texas student, who was raised by a single mother with a low income, turned to GoFundMe to ask the public to raise $20,000 to help him fund his way through his sophomore year.
In an emotional post on his GoFundMe page, he described his inspiration for joining the army as the yearning to "belong to an elite team rooted in pride and unity that protects our country" and be "involved in something incredibly larger than myself".
"Since I was a kid, one of my biggest dreams was to pursue a career in the Army to serve my country," he 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."
Pesqueira, who started medically transitioning in 2018, continued: "Because I have started medically transitioning, my scholarship is now void. I chose to attend UT Austin because I knew I would be able to afford it with my scholarship and it is one of the top 10 film schools in the country. Filmmaking has always been a deep passion I've held close to my heart and intend to continue to pursue it even if I am still not able to join the military after college."
"I have won film festival awards and graduated from an accelerated fine arts high school where I heavily focused on cinematic arts. It is the way I can feel most comfortable expressing my emotions, identity, and stories I have written throughout my life.
"I have continued to make strides while in college and have recently been appointed as the Vice President of my dorm's Residence Hall Council, and am actively involved with numerous social organizations, all while balancing this with my rigorous academics and involvement with ROTC. Since my scholarship is now invalid, I can no longer afford to attend without financial assistance."
Pesqueira has been on hormone replacement therapy and living in his "preferred gender" for 15 months. Furthermore, he recently had top surgery and legally changed his name and gender marker.
Trump's transgender ban went into effect two years after he tweeted that the US military "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity".
The Pentagon has argued that the new policy doesn’t actually ban transgender people and service members can simply pretend they’re not trans and serve as their birth sex.
The new regulations prohibit service members who appear transgender or act transgender by failing to meet grooming, uniform, and other military standards for their birth sex, and "blocks all use of DoD or DHS resources to fund sex reassignment surgical procedures".
In addition, it bans people from enlisting in the armed forces if they have transitioned from their 'biological sex' to another gender or are openly trans.
The move has been condemned by multiple LGBT bodies and the American Medical Association last week repeated their belief that there is "no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service".
"The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision," the AMA said in a statement. "The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason — including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria — to exclude transgender individuals from military service. Transgender service members should, as is the case with all personnel, receive the medical care they need. There is a global medical consensus about the efficacy of transgender health care, including treatment for gender dysphoria."