I was originally born as Erica Lakaysia Bradley.

I was born in the state of Kentucky. I always knew that I was different than cis females.

I never liked dressing girly, I never liked playing with Barbies, I never liked playing with make up, I would always play with the boys, I always just like the boys, I always ask about the boys, but everyone told me that I was a tomboy and that I would grow out of it. My “tomboy stage” never really went away. Once I hit my sophomore year in high school I started trying to act like the other girls. I started dressing girly, wearing makeup, hanging out with more girls, and started dating boys. But even then I did not feel like the other girls. My junior year I finally came out as Lesbian. I started dating girls, I started dressing more tomboyish. But even then I still did not feel right being called lesbian. But I also was not comfortable in my own body. At the time I was participating in track and I always envied the guys got to takeoff their shirts during practice, or the guys who were practicing football. It was a very confusing time for me. Little part of Kentucky doesn’t have too many individuals who identify as transgender. To more specific there’s not many individuals in Kentucky that identify as transgender and if they do they’re not very open about it. So the image that you get when you hear transgender is not very nice out there. So I was in sure what that word meant exactly. So I started researching my symptoms online and gender dysphoria came. When that came up transgender also came up. I started researching things about transgender children. When I started researching and finding more and it’s starting to come together, then I started following people on Instagram who identified as transgender. I started reaching out to them and explaining to them my situation and they started giving me advice.

So I started coming to terms with the fact that I identified as a female to male transgender teen. But I had also just Started dating a girl who lived in California. I had not yet come out to her, So she was under The impression that was just lesbian. Finally I came out to him and told him that I was FTM. She excepted it right away, with no problems at all. Ever since then she has always been by my side through the whole transition.

Throughout middle school and high school I have always been involved with our junior guard program that our school provided. I had always wanted to be in the military since I was little and military runs in my family is back. So throughout middle school and high school I did the junior guard program. Finally when I was old enough to start talking to recruiters and take my ASVAB practice test I begin doing so. I was very close to getting in a program for college but unfortunately I did not score high enough and missed the deadline by one point. So after graduation I decided to move out to California. Even though I moved from my home state all the way to California I was still interested in joining the military. So right away I found a recruiter and started talking to her about joining and what my options were. The only thing was I informed her that I identified as transgender. So when I informed her that she pretty much told me that if I went through with my transition and I would not be eligible to enlist. At the time trumps administration I just dropped a bad names on Twitter that transgender individuals be allowed to serve in any branch of the Military. With my recruiter informed me that I was not allowed I was heart broken. I had prepared for this for so many years just for my dream is to be broken. After I was turned down I decided to just sit there dreaming to the side for a little bit and comfortable trying for it again.

I love those things happened between the years 2015 to 2017. It is now 2019 decided in October 2018 that I was going to join the Marines. I started talking to recruiters, discussing my options, and discussing how I was going to execute these things to meet my goal. I’ve been working nonstop to get physically and mentally ready to join. But the Trump administration has gone forward with the transgender military ban. After all this hard work that I have put in once again being turned down to do something great for my country. 

I just want my story to be heard, for people to know how much hard work and how many good things that I’m doing right now and that there should be no reason that I am not eligible to join the Marines so I can serve my country.

My name is Kaycen Kylar Bradley, I’m 21 years old, I am Transgender (FTM) and I will be a Marine because I refuse to give up on my goal for life and to serve my country.