Being a new resident of West Jordan, Utah since September of last year, I felt it was time to begin a little education process:
Subject: Your Decision to Block Employment and Residential Protection
Dear Mr. Buttars,
I am a constituent in your district and also a transgender woman. While I am lucky to have a job and a place to live, I consider myself very lucky. In a recent survey, over 40% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns have been denied employment or residences based solely on who they are. That number is over 60% for transgender people.
Being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is not a choice. Medical research supports the fact that physiological conditions at birth establishes sexual orientation and gender identity. Because of widespread myths surrounding them, the LGBT population is constantly harassed, denied employment, housing and the basic family rights to take care of loved ones, be they a loving monogamous partner of 14 or more years, or the children they lovingly raised.
Not quite 2 years ago, a friend of mine took her own life because she was denied employment for 2 years and didn't want to be a burden, another friend was gang-raped at a Sonic Drive In and I was sexually assaulted in my own apartment. Yet, all of us understood that being transgender is not a choice. We all tried to be the men society expected for several decades of our life, and found we could not show deep meaningful agape love, because we had trouble loving ourselves enough to be the women we were meant to be. Nobody chooses to be a different gender. Because many people don't understand or accept, transitioning genders means risking family, careers and even our lives. Yet, it is the best known cure--letting someone be who they know they are at birth.
Mr. Buttars, as a resident of your district (West Jordan), I implore you to reconsider your stance on providing equal protection for your LGBT residents, or to at least educate yourself to the science and stories of those who are persecuted by our culture for being honest with themselves and with God.
I am prepared and willing to risk my life and acceptance as any other woman to educate our community, your district, to the realities of what it means to be a transgender woman. In fact, I already do so, when I talk to some of my neighbors whom I trust as friends and take the risk to reveal something of my past, they understand and are supportive.
I am willing to meet you in person en officio to further discuss any of this with you.
Sophia Jean Hawes
Resident West Jordan, UT 84084
Hugs and God Bless,