Paulo Batista was on the phone with his recruiter for most of the day Wednesday (March 31). They were setting a goal for Batista, who is transgender, to get his paperwork together, so that he can officially enlist in the United States Navy by his birthday in mid-May. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced new policies that will reverse the Trump administration’s ban on transgender troops.
“It’s going to be exciting to move forward and help standardize the policies that are going to be implemented,” Batista, 36, told Remezcla. “Great things are coming. The military has always been great because of its diversity.”
Batista, who is half-Puerto Rican and half-Portuguese, hoped to join the military sooner, but when Trump changed the policies on transgender military service, his future career was stuck in limbo. In January, President Biden signed an executive order repealing Trump’s ban, but it wasn’t until Wednesday when the revised policies were announced to make it easier for trans people to enlist and also to be protected from discrimination.
“This has been a dream of mine for years, but I knew there was this wall,” Batista said. “When someone finally sees you and believes in you, so you can make this dream a reality, it leaves you speechless.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the new policies, which will go into effect April 30, will “restore the department’s original 2016 policies regarding transgender service” and also “provide a path of service for medical treatment, gender transition and recognition in one’s self-identified gender.”
Batista added: “I’m so ready to take on this future of mine. It’s going to be a new era for a lot of us.”