- Rising sophomore Map Pesqueira dreamed of serving in the US military and received a three-year ROTC scholarship to study at the University of Texas at Austin.
- Pesqueira began medically transitioning in 2018, barring him from service and causing him to lose his scholarship under President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.
- Olympian Caitlyn Jenner presented Pesqueira with a $US25,000 check to help further his education.
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Map Pesqueira, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, was set for a career in the military until President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers took effect, causing him to lose his ROTC scholarship. Pesqueira couldn’t afford to continue his college education – so trans activist and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner stepped in to help.
In an appearance on Good Morning America on Thursday, Jenner surprised Pesqueira with a $US25,000 check to help him continue his education. “This whole military ban has been… I’m devastated by [it]. I can’t believe it’s happening,” Jenner said.
Pesqueira was awarded a three-year Army ROTC scholarship, which would have started his sophomore year, to help with the cost of his education. But Pesqueira, who started medically transitioning when he was 18, was disqualified from the ROTC program once Trump’s ban on transgender servicemembers took effect. People who are medically transitioning or fail to meet the grooming and uniform standards for their gender at birth are barred from service.
“Since I was a kid, one of my biggest dreams was to pursue a career in the Army to serve my country,” he wrote on a GoFundMe page he set up to help offset the cost of his second year of college.
While his dreams of service may be out of reach, Pesqueira’s GoFundMe page raised $US27,788, helping ensure that he’ll be able to continue studying filmmaking, his other passion.
“To be truthfully honest, I did not expect it to get more than maybe $US100,” Pesquiera told Good Morning America.
Jenner, one of the most visible trans people in the US and a former Trump supporter, decided to get involved through her Caitlyn Jenner Foundation, which provides grants for organisations supporting transgender rights and causes.
“There’s a lot of trans people out there that need a voice and need help,” Jenner told Good Morning America.
Pesqueira told ABC News that he was concerned about sharing his story.
“I was very fearful to ’cause I didn’t think I would get much support, people wouldn’t care. But I was very wrong.”
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