WEST HAVEN -- A University of New Haven freshman is standing up to President Donald J. Trump, who in July made public his intent to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military, in part, he said, due to high medical costs.
Dylan Kohere, born a female, but began identifying as a male in his freshman year of high school. And now, a freshman at the University of New Haven, he's afraid he's not going to be able to live out his dream: serving in the military.
"I always looked up to service members," said Kohere. "Whenever I saw them in public I would go up to them and shake their hands."
In July, President Trump announced, via Twitter, he no longer wants transgender people permitted to serve in the military.
"My first initial reaction I didn't actually believe it," Kohere said.
Then, when he learned it was true, he felt angry and frustrated.
"I felt very directly targeted and it was just, it was something I had built up for so long to do," he said
Kohere is one of eight transgender individuals, including some currently serving in the military, who are challenging President Trump's ban through a lawsuit.
"Everybody I grew up around always taught me you know fight for what you believe in," said Kohere. "Plant your feet. Don't let anybody knock you down."
The proposed ban means he can't be a full member of the university's ROTC program, limiting him to the classroom work only and not "doing things like physical training in the mornings and the labs that like teach you how to go out and learn things like land nav and tactics and all that kind of stuff."
Kohere does have a back up plan. He would explore becoming either a detective or a K9 officer. Still, not being permitted to be a full member of ROTC excludes him from applying for many scholarships to pay for school.