Nicholas Bade still plans to head for basic training in the spring to join the U.S. Air Force.
The 38-year-old transgender Chicago man said he was sworn into service just last month and remains optimistic about those plans despite a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“I have my date to start basic training. So, I’m just going to continue on the same course,” Bade told WBEZ on Tuesday. “I’m going to continue making plans to ship out soon.”
In a 5-4 split decision, the high court said the Trump administration can move forward with its plan to restrict military service by transgender people while a court challenge continues.
The court decision clears the way for the Pentagon to bar enlistment by people who have undergone a gender transition.
It will also allow the administration to require that military personnel serve as members of their gender assigned at birth unless they began gender transition under less restrictive Obama administration rules.
Bade said he has not heard anything from his superiors that the decision could derail his plans to head to the Air Force.
“There’s no evidence to the contrary at this time. We don’t really know what this is going to mean for people moving forward,” Bade said.
When asked if he’s disappointed in the Trump administration’s move to bar transgender people from serving, Bade said, “I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m hopeful for the opportunity. I hope that moving forward that others like myself continue to have the opportunity.”
The U.S. military officially began accepting transgender people to serve openly back in January, thanks to a federal court ruling from December 2017.
Bade met with an Air Force recruiter on Chicago's North Side in early January 2018 but his effort started back in 2015 when his informal talks with the recruiter began.
“It’s no different from anybody else who has the passion to go out and serve their country. It’s been a lifelong goal,” Bade said. “My trans status doesn’t play into that other than I became eligible in January of (2018).”