UT student's scholarship voided by DoD because of military transgender ban

By Bill Barajas - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Map Pesqueira wants to serve his country, fight for those unable to do so and get an education, but it seems that dream is now over.

The Department of Defense voided Pesqueira's Army ROTC academic three-year national scholarship because of President Donald Trump's new policy banning transgender people from serving the military.

"As a cadet in ROTC, it's what people have to follow, but as a civilian, it's devastating because this ban is just a waste of money, time, personnel and effort," Pesqueira said.

The San Antonio native and University of Texas at Austin freshman is well into his transgender transition.

"Filling my body with testosterone and injecting testosterone into my body to kind of overcome the estrogen that's being produced naturally to give myself the male affects, and then it went into getting my name and gender marker legally changed," Pesqueira said of the process.

His life has been turned upside down, as losing his scholarship has forced him to question himself.

"I'm capable of serving. I'm up to standards," Pesqueira said. "A lot of the conversations I have with people is, 'Is it me? Is it my fault?'"

KSAT 12 reached out to the DoD about Pesqueira's scholarship and was sent the following statement:

"While we cannot comment on this particular case, as we don't know the details, below is the policy applicable to an ROTC student:

-- No person, solely on the basis of gender identity, will be denied continuation of service.

-- Individuals are exempt from the new 2018 policy (and fall under the 2016 policy) if they were selected for entrance into an officer commissioning program, and either were selected into ROTC in their preferred gender or received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria while a Service member."

Pesqueira's focus is how he will pay for his education. Without his scholarship, his future is in limbo.

"If UT Austin isn't able to help me get back to school, I'm going to have to come back and go to community college just to get myself back on my feet," Pesqueira said.

UT Austin released the following statement.

"We want all of our students to be successful at UT Austin and we are committed to helping them make this a reality. Due to federal privacy law, the university does not comment on the cases of individual students. Speaking generally, because every student situation is unique, we offer many different avenues for assistance for students who undergo sudden changes that might affect their access to a UT education. These resources include our Student Emergency Services office and the Graduation Help Desk, which both work closely with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. Our staff are experienced in these situations and stand ready to help students navigate the resources they need to complete their education."

Pesqueira said he will take the week off to try and figure out his next step. He will return to Austin next week.

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