Since I was a kid, one of my biggest dreams was to pursue a career in the Army to serve my country. 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. In high school, I applied for a national scholarship through ROTC Cadet Command and was awarded a 3-year academic scholarship that would take effect at the beginning of my sophomore year. But, this heavily conflicted with a proposed policy that would bar transgender people from entering service if they have already started their transition.
I happen to be a transgender male who started medically transitioning in 2018. I have been on hormone replacement therapy and living in my preferred gender for 15 months, just recently had top surgery, and have legally changed my name and gender marker. Despite all of this, in January of 2019, the Supreme Court gave the green light to the Department of Defense to begin implementing a new policy that prohibits transgender people who have begun their transition as well as transgender people with a gender dysphoria diagnosis from entering the military. Despite all five service chiefs of the military testifying that having transgender troops does not affect "military readiness" or "unit cohesion". This completely reverses the 2016 policy that allowed open service to transgender individuals who wanted to join the military. 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. I received little financial aid from the university despite having a single mother with a low-income and struggled to pay my own way through my first year. Until now, I remained under the impression that my scholarship would take care of my remaining 3 years, but that is no longer the case.
I am requesting assistance to help fund my second year through this GoFundMe for my steep tuition and room & board. Without help, I will have to return back home to San Antonio, TX where there is no guarantee of the future of my education. 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. Thank you kindly.