Shortly after September 11, 2001, Rachel Heller moved from Texas to Utah to work at Hill Air Force Base as an aerospace engineer, where she was warmly welcomed and appreciated for her work. However, despite her success, she felt a sense of uneasiness and anxiety, because she was withholding that she is a transgender woman — raised as a boy, but now living as the woman she’s long known herself to be. Rachel felt if she were to come out, her job could be compromised. However, she was thrilled to see that her coworkers welcomed her with open arms. Still, Rachel knows that living her authentic life could potentially open her up to discrimination.
“I believe that most Utahns share common ideals like hard work and self-sufficiency,” she said. “I desire nothing more than to be able to live and work in the state I call home.”