It’s been nearly a four-year effort for 38-year-old Nicholas Bade to realize his dream of joining the U.S. Air Force.
Although there have been some setbacks, his perseverance looks to have paid off.
Bade, a transgender man from Chicago, is heading to basic training in the next few months as part of the Air Force’s delayed entry program.
“I’m unbelievably excited and proud to be moving forward to that next step,” Bade said.
Bade said his friends and family have been supportive.
“With all the difficulties that have come up, you have to stay hopeful and you have to keep a positive outlook and attitude,” he said.
Bade said he is not concerned with President Donald Trump administration’s attempts to keep transgender people from serving.
The president wants the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an Obama-era policy that allows transgender individuals to serve. So far, injunctions have allowed the policy to remain in place.
“I don’t think it comes down to a personal attack,” Bade said. “I’m going to go in and do my personal best, and my trans status doesn’t come into play there.”
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, but his effort started back in 2015 when his informal talks with the recruiter began.
“For me, it’s always been a matter being able to put service before self. I’ve always been a lifelong interest. I remembering as a kid looking up to family members that I served and say, ‘I really want to do that one day,’” Bade said.