Daily Texan Staff | Anthony Mireles

Transgender Student Loses Army Scholarship Because Of Trump’s Military Ban

A University of Texas Freshman named Map Pesqueira has lost his army scholarship due to Trump's military ban on transgender people.

The ban states that any individuals who have begun medically transitioning, are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or who do not identify with the gender they are assigned at birth cannot serve in the military.

Cadet Map Pesqueira came to UT to study film and to continue his training in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Twitter | @itsmapsters

Map is majoring in radio, television, and film at UT. He was awarded a national three-year ROTC scholarship, which would have funded most of his college education.

However, because Map is a transgender man, Trump's transgender military ban makes his scholarship inaccessible.

The ban prohibits people who do not identify as their gender assigned at birth or who have already begun transitioning medically from serving in the military.

Twitter | @itsmapsters

Since Pesqueira has had top surgery, hormone replacement therapy, and a gender marker/name change, he cannot enlist under Trump's new policy.

All of the years of hard work he put into becoming a dedicated cadet will be erased simply because of the administration's bigotry.

Pesqueira has shared his transition journey publicly, in order to inform and inspire other transgender people.

Twitter | @itsmapsters

On Transgender Day of Visibility, he shared photos of himself post-top surgery alongside a heartwarming message of acceptance:

"We are here, we are valid, and we are being seen & accepted more and more every day! Keep your chin up and continue to stay strong and be proud of who you are!"

But even Transgender folks who choose not to medically transition will be affected.

Unsplash | Chris Johnson

The ban includes anyone diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which means that regardless of the place you're in within your transition, being Transgender automatically excludes you from serving.

"Since I was a kid, one of my biggest dreams was to pursue a career in the Army to serve my country," Pesqueira wrote.

Daily Texan Staff | Anthony Mireles

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 service people 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."

Unsplash | Benjamin Faust

After graduation, Pesqueira had planned to serve in the Army as a second lieutenant.

The ban not only takes his scholarship away, but also prevents him from serving.

In my interview with Cadet Pesqueira, he explains that the Department of Defense's public comments do not align with what his advisor at the Defense Department told him about the ban.


"I would like it to be known that the statement the DoD has been putting out does not line up with what I had been told by my advisor at the DoD," he explained, "[the advisor] told me I would be disqualified under the new policy, something that contradicts the new DoD statements."

If true, this means that the U.S. Department of Defense has put out a false statement regarding the ban.


Their website, updated only a week ago, states that transgender individuals aren't banned from service.

Map Pesqueira has been told by a representitve of the Department of Defense that he is specfically banned from service because he is transgender.

There is a clear discrepancy here.

The ban will impact close to 14,000 transgender people currently serving in the military.

Unsplash | Aaron Burden

“The order says the military services must implement the new policy in 30 days [by April 12], giving some individuals a short window of time to qualify for gender transition if needed,” according to the Associated Press, “And it allows service secretaries to waive the policy on a case-by-case basis.”

The Department of Defense may also be lying about their grandfathering policy.

Unsplash | Katrina Berban

The Defense Department website says that anyone serving or under contract to enter the military who was diagnosed with gender dysphoria before April 12, 2019 is grandfathered under the 2016 policy, meaning that they would be allowed to serve.

However, when Pesqueira's representative at the DOD attempted to use this policy to get him his scholarship back, the request was denied.

Pesqueira currently has a GoFundMe page to raise money in order to pay for his education.

Twitter | @itsmapsters

The GoFundMe has been shared over a thousand times and currently has over $19,000 in donations towards Pesqueira's sophomore year of college.

"Without help, I will have to return back home to San Antonio, TX where there is no guarantee of the future of my education" he states, "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."