Sophie Cook has been nominated for the LGBT Role Model Award at The 2016 National Diversity Awards.
The ceremony celebrates some of the excellent and inspiring achievements of positive role models and community organisations from across the UK. The awards aim to recognise nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.
The first out transgender woman to work in the Premier League as club photographer for AFC Bournemouth, finishing last season as Steve and returning to the club in July 2015 after coming out as Sophie.
Ex-Royal Air Force where Sophie was a jet engine technician on Tornados. After joining the service at 16 she saved the life of a colleague following an explosion at the age of 18.
Battling Post Traumatic Stress, gender dysphoria and depression she fought self harming and suicidal feelings her entire life until transition.
Having originally started to transition in 2000 she stopped the process after her son was born with a disability.
“There was no way I could put my family through the pain of my transition whilst coming to terms with my son’s disability. I killed Sophie and buried her, she was gone.”
Over the next 15 years Sophie suffered from suicidal feelings every single day and put on 7 stone in weight due to self harming with food.
Then in January 2015 she made the realisation that the only way to save her life was indeed to embrace who she truly was.
Delaying coming out until after her football club had gained promotion to the Premier League for fear of distracting the team’s focus she feared that she would never work in football again.
After being welcomed by players, management and fans alike for her bravery she has found that she is in a position to help others and further the cause of diversity within a sport not known for it’s openness.
Following her story breaking in the national and international press in January Sophie has found herself much in demand as a speaker and has spoken at Wembley Stadium, Liverpool FC and a host of national conferences.
She is a patron of Just A Ball Game? and the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network; a Stonewall Schools Role Model; a Healthwatch Dorset Champion; Hate Crime Ambassador for Sussex Police and a member of the Pan-Dorset LGBT Health Advisory Group.
Having lost 6 stone since her transition she now runs half marathons and is taking part in the Brighton Marathon for LGBT Switchboard as well as having been asked to compete as a guest in two triathlons.
As a professional speaker she is helping businesses to understand the positive contribution of creating an inclusive environment for their LGBT employees and clients and helping to reduce the fear of change that so often inhibits businesses and individuals ability to reach their full potential.
She produces and promotes her own one woman show in which she tells her story and helps others to overcome fear and show themselves compassion.
Ex-RAF, motorbike racer, newspaper editor, Premier League football and rock photographer for The Libertines, self harm and suicide survivor and transgender.
“I didn’t chose to be transgender but I did chose not to be a victim.
“I was scared that by being true to myself that I would lose everything, the reality is that I’ve gained so much and the things that I was most scared of losing, my children, have surprised me.
“My 11 year old daughter summed it up to me when she posted on Facebook — ‘You’re my hero, Steve was great but Sophie’s better.’ ”
The National Diversity Awards 2016 in association with Microsoft will be held in Liverpool on September 16th.
Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities who have contributed to creating a more diverse and inclusive society.
The largest diversity awards ceremony of its kind has attracted a growing list of top employers such as Transport for London, Financial Ombudsman Service and PwC.
The prestigious black-tie event has also gained support from a number of celebrities including Stephen Fry, Lenny Henry and Ade Adeptian.
Olympic Diver Tom Daley said, ‘The National Diversity Awards is a true celebration. A celebration of role models and commu- nity organisations who are having a huge impact on people lives. Everybody who has been nominated and shortlisted is striving towards making society better for everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, faith, religion, sexual orientation or disability. I would like to wish all the shortlisted nominees the very best of luck at this year’s National Diversity Awards’.
Amongst last year’s winners was Trans Men Support & Advice UK were also regognised for providing anonymity and fellowship to over 1000 trans masculine members throughout the UK.
The National Diversity Awards received over 20,000 nominations for last year’s event. Paul Sesay, Chief Executive of The National Diversity Awards said, ‘It is an honour to witness the extraordinary journeys of Britain’s unsung diversity heroes, and we will continue to recognise their extraordinary achievements during 2016’.
‘I know another fantastic spectacle of role models will be delivered and recognised this year’. Nominations are now open and close June 20th 2016 — so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved! Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.
To nominate Sophie Cook please visit: www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk or for a nomination form please email: email@example.com