How It All Started

It all started with news from Equality Utah in the winter of 2013 that SB-100, The Fairness in Employment and Housing Act was finally going to be heard and potentially voted on. Many people in the LGBT community were looking at a momentous point in history when the Utah legislature was going to be brought to a vote on extending protections statewide for the LGBT community. It felt like a new day was dawning.

Meanwhile, she and her wife decided to seal their commitment to one another by having a handfasting in October. Less than two months later, marriage equality broke out in Utah, and they legally wed when Sophia's wife made it back to town on December 30th, the same day they watched Sean Reyes sworn into office while turning in their marriage license application.

Thinking this would be a wonderful time to bridge marriage equality and draw support for the equality bill, Sophia rushed to write an article about their marriage as two transgender lesbian women, which was published in the new LoneStarQ in Texas. 

Sean Reyes moved quickly to put a stay on the marriages, which arrived the day after Sophia received their certified license in the mail. She only found out as she rushed to the DLD to have her name change and was confronted by the supervisor on what was supposed to be the happiest day of the year.

At work, she saw an article posted that Sean Reyes planned to spend up to $2 million to fight her marriage and was furious! She wrote an email demanding that he not use her tax money or anyone else's that was opposed to Amendment 3 and shared what she wrote on FaceBook. People rapidly responded that there were better things in Utah to spend the money on like clean air and education and urged her to make the email go viral. Her wife used the email as a template to send her own message, and Sophia decided that it would be easier to just make the email itself a petition on Her target number was 1300 signatures, one for every couple that was married during those 17 days. After about two weeks, when she saw 900 signatures she contacted the media, preparing to deliver the petition in person to Attorney General Sean Reyes. That weekend it went viral! Monday morning, she showed up at the capitol with over 32,000 signatures, presenting a petition that accused the attorney general of abuse of power and tyranny, and claiming that Amendment 3 was no longer the will of the people.

It was from that moment on that she found herself thrust onto the stage of Utah politics. When SB-100 was being blocked, she drove to the Capitol to add her own blue note to hundreds of others and arrived just in time to shake the hand of the sponsor, Sen, Steve Urquhart. 

Shortly after that, 13 brave souls, the Capitol 13, were arrested, demanding that SB-100 be heard. She had her ear to the ground and knew something like that was coming and rushed to show her support.

She soon friended Sen, Jim Dabakis when she heard that he was looking for transgender people to tell their stories of discrimination and was immediately invited with hundreds of other people to his weekly morning round table discussions, where she learned the fates of bills and the progress they were going through. She was soon recruited to be delegate at a "lobbying training" being held at her church, and decided that because of all the transphobic remarks that were occurring at the capitol, she needed to be there to defuse them and focus on working on real issues. At the time, she was targeting 2016 for her first run, when her representative, Lynn Hemingway, announced his retirement, prompting her to run immediately. 

It took 3 hours for the news to break that a transgender woman was running for the Utah legislature. She is very thankful for the image that Eric Peterson painted of her breaking stereotypes, but being openly transgender plus an unknown made her race tougher against someone who had been preparing for this seat for years.

In 2014, Sophia ran as an openly transgender candidate for the Utah House of Representative, District 40. With the help of a few contacts, she managed to pull off 8% of the delegate vote in a 3-way race, and saw the results appear in the Washington Times. As a result, she has been encouraged to stay involved and is doing what she can do to help wherever she is needed.

Since her run, Sophia has been involved with policy makers at both the state and local levels,  and has served on multiple organizations and projects.