Opinion: I was born with an intersex condition. Utah’s bathroom bill scares me.

This all feels like a symptom of a deeply divided world, full of people who won’t practice compassion towards people who may be already suffering.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A group of protestors called the Armed Queers, chant during a demonstration inside the Capitol in opposition to HB257, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.

Editor’s note • This article discusses suicide. If you or people you know are at risk of self-harm, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for 24-hour support.

The past few mornings, I have woken up with a very heavy heart. I’m feeling deep waves of sorrow and sadness wash over me, and I’m ugly crying in my bed.

I’m a female. I was born with an intersex condition and, while my body has physical attributes that appear male, that’s not what I am. That’s not who I am.

I haven’t had any surgeries and, up to this point, I have felt fairly comfortable using the women’s bathroom. It’s where I belong. I don’t cause any problems.

The Utah Legislature is in session, and lawmakers have heard several testimonies regarding HB257, a bill that would restrict transgender people’s access to certain spaces. While I haven’t had the energy to go up to the Capitol and speak or protest, I am grateful for those who take a stand and cry out about the hypocrisy, the short-sighted error, the cruelty that will come from this type of legislation.

It’s really hard for me to put into words how I feel. The bill is so completely short-sighted and abusive to an already struggling minority group. The Legislature will have blood on their hands — anti-transgender legislation has, and will, lead to suicide.

My heart breaks. Deeply. Our government is choosing to go the wrong way.

These are some of the darkest days I’ve experienced. I feel sadness, grief and darkness on a regular basis. I have very little hope that the people sitting in positions of power will listen to the grieving of the people that they repress. They’ve already decided that we are disgusting and that we’re a threat to cisgender women.

We are just different. I’ve been bullied my whole life and now, to see the government bully me, it feels like an experiment to test human nature.

I’m expressing my heartache, my torture and my pain. I wish I could focus on the love, the beauty of other transgender people that I know in my life, the joy in their lives, the compassion and love they have for others, I have seen it. I know it’s there. It’s projected onto us that we are living an evil lifestyle, yet the purity in the hearts of many trans people that I know would say otherwise.

This all feels like a symptom of a deeply divided world, full of people that won’t practice compassion towards people who may be already suffering.

Erica Rose

Erica Rose is a 50-year-old transgender blues rock guitarist, a disabled American veteran and has lived in Utah for 14 years.

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