The British Army's first transgender officer has warned if Donald Trump reaches the White House trans rights in the US “will be set back a whole generation.”
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.
Abi Austen, once 16-stone Para Captain Ian Hamilton, began living as a woman ten years ago.
She recently VISITED the swing state of North Carolina for a moving Channel Four documentary, to highlight its introduction of the controversial 'bathroom bill'.
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.
His electioneering, says Abi, paves the way for 21 further states battling the federal government for the right to introduce their own bathroom bills – whose fates will be decided in the supreme court next year – to succeed if he becomes president.
She says: "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.”
She adds: "We were just getting about her businesses, normalising, but this bill brings us into the spotlight and institutionalises hatred. It goes back to civil rights, the Jim Crow laws in the 1960s. I was relived to get across the state border."
Abi, who has also worked, as a woman, with the US Army for NATO in Afghanistan – and who has been decorated with as many medals as Abi as she was as Ian – says VISITING North Carolina had a deeply distressing effect on her, reminding her just what trans-people there are battling daily.