The view from there

 photo Regiment-Officer-Abi-Austen_zpscroogdxj.jpgAbigail Austen transitioned ten years ago. At the time she became the British Army's first transgender officer.

Recently she and her fiancé traveled to the American South attempting to glean the state of the American transgender community in these times.

And she reveals a recent visit to the far-right dominated, notoriously anti-trans states, which support the Republican candidate, left her so traumatised she was unable to leave her home for two weeks.

They visited North Carolina while creating a doculemntary for Channel Four. You can view My Trans American Roadtrip here. It was aired last Wednesday:



The bill, which insists trans-people must use the sex of bathroom which appears on their birth certificate even if they are now living as the opposite gender, has stirred massive opposition from Obama's administration, backed by democrat candidate Hilary Clinton.

Yet Trump, who must win the state and the wider support of the deep south's evangelical Christian community to have any chance of becoming president, refuses to oppose the bill, insisting it is the state's decision.

There is no credible path to the White House for Trump unless he wins there in North Carolina, so this little bathroom bill, this microcosm of transgender rights, has suddenly become nationally important.

But what Trump is doing is not fun and games, it could have dire consequences - he is stoking the fires, it is playing to people's fears, and suddenly transgender people have become a section of society that threatens America.


I sat down with a so-called bishop and was told I'm a sexual pervert and a paedophile. A man in a woman's dress. Others told me 'a grown man dressing as a woman goes against human nature', that the bill was about 'safety'. To sit and listen to that was extremely difficult.

There have been 24 murders this year of trans-people so far across the US, those are the ones we know about. I think we will see murders go up if he gets in.

--Captain Austen

I would say to Debs, my fiancé, do you think people see a man? It does fundamentally affect you on a deep level, there is nothing more fundamental than our very being. I had reached this happy space and then to have your very existence negated because I am sinful and a pervert...why? What have I done to deserve that? Nothing.

I couldn't go out for two weeks. I was frightened people didn't see Abi, they just saw Ian. Despite everything I had done, 36 surgeries, five years in hospitals, 10 years as me, I was forced to confront something I thought I had left behind.





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