An Ohio man aiming to become one of the military’s first transgender recruits said he spoke with his recruiter Tuesday and worked to finalize his enlistment paperwork.
Nicolas Talbott, 24, has been poised to enlist for a year and now hopes to schedule an appointment at a military entrance processing station after the Trump administration dropped its legal effort Friday to delay transgender recruiting. At the stations, applicants are given a standard aptitude test and a physical to see if they qualify to join the military.
“I spoke with my recruiter today and am completing paperwork needed to enlist. I’ve been working with this particular recruiter for the past year, and we are really excited to move forward with this process,” Talbott said in a released statement. “This is a historic day for the military and for transgender Americans.”
The Justice Department decided not to ask the Supreme Court to review a string of federal court orders that required the military to begin accepting transgender applicants on Jan. 1.
But the DOJ said it will continue to defend President Trump’s announced transgender military service ban as federal district court lawsuits in D.C., Maryland, California, and Washington state proceed.
Talbott, a transgender plaintiff in the Stockman v. Trump lawsuit filed in California Sept. 5, was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and began using hormone therapy to transition into a man in 2012.
In court filings, Talbott said he had been preparing to enlist since the Obama administration announced a new policy of open transgender service in 2016 and had been working with an Air National Guard recruiter.
The prior administration had set a July 2017 for transgender recruiting to begin.
The recruiting deadline was delayed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Trump announced in late July transgender troops would no longer be allowed to serve “in any capacity.”
“My heart sunk. I felt devastated and lost. I had mentally and physically prepared to begin my military career. Now, my future was uncertain,” Talbott said in previous court filings. “It was as if someone told me that I was not good enough, that I was not worthy to serve my country.”