Transgender student set to lose ROTC scholarship due to new policy

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AUSTIN, Texas (WTHR) — A transgender student in Texas is unsure of his future college plans after losing his scholarship due to the Pentagon's newly implemented transgender ban.

"It's sad to think that I will have to move my education around from place to place so I can afford it, when I won a scholarship to pay for my tuition to UT Austin," 19-year-old Map Pesqueira told NBC News. Pesqueira is currently a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, attending school on a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship he was awarded his senior year of high school.

It was a three-year scholarship, and Pesqueira planned to enter the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant after graduation.

The new policy went into effect April 12. It strips transgender troops from openly serving in the military, and receiving care if they choose to transition to another gender.

"Without that scholarship, I will have to move back home and go to community college," Pesqueira said. "There is no guarantee that I will be able to come back to Austin and continue my education here."

Pesqueira started his transition 18 months ago. He has already had surgery and hormone replacement therapy, which disqualifies him from the ROTC program.

"Basically, I'm so far into my transition, I'm unable to serve. That's what I was told," Pesqueira said.

In an email, the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board said it would "medically disqualify" him.

Pesqueira won the scholarship under his birth name and biological gender. He legally changed his name and gender marker and enrolled in classes at UT afterward. He also notified the Department of Defense of the changes.

Since losing the funding, he has started a GoFundMe page in hopes of staying enrolled at UT. As of Thursday morning, he had reached nearly $18,000 of his $27,000 goal.

Pesqueira said he has not ruled out legal action against the Department of Defense.

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