Sophie Cook (born 4 January 1967) is a British author, broadcaster, photographer and politician.[1][2]

Early lifeEdit

Cook was born in Bournemouth, Dorset on 4 January 1967.

CareerEdit

Cook was a jet engine technician in the Royal Air Force from 1983 to 1991. She served on Tornado aircraft and in 1985, at the age of 18, saved the life of a colleague following an explosion on an aircraft.

After spending most of the 1990s in Saudi Arabia, she returned to the UK in 1998 where she became a photographer with a varied portfolio, including stints as club photographer at AFC Bournemouth and a long connection to Peter Doherty and The Libertines.[3]

Cook used her profile to speak out against the stigma surrounding mental health and bigotry, including an appearance at TEDx Brighton in 2018.[4]

She became a news anchor and TV chat show host for Latest TV in Brighton, becoming the first transgender newscaster in Europe.[5]

Her autobiography, Not Today: How I Chose Life, was released in 2018 as a self-help book for those struggling with mental health or identity.[6][3]

Political careerEdit

In 2017, Cook stood as the Labour general election candidate in East Worthing and Shoreham, where she came second with 39.3% of the vote.[7][8]

Supported by the activist group Momentum and trade union Unite the Union, she sought the Labour Party's nomination to stand again in the 2019 general election. She was removed from the shortlist over questions about the bankruptcy of a previous company she ran, but the process was stopped after the other two candidates withdrew in protest.[9][10] The selection began again with Cook on the shortlist, but she wasn't selected.[11] She stood as a independent candidate instead, but withdrew from active campaigning, citing harassment that she was receiving and its effect on her mental health as the reason for doing so.[12]

In 2019, she set up the Sophie Cook Foundation in order to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health in schools, colleges and universities.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Cook is a transgender woman, and began to transition in 1998. Having struggled with her gender identity from childhood and with her mental health, notably posttraumatic stress disorder, self harming and suicidal ideation both during and after her military service, Cook transitioned in July 2015 while working at AFC Bournemouth. In doing so, she became the first transgender person to work in Premier League football.[14][15]

HonoursEdit

Cook was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bournemouth University for her work raising awareness of mental health issues in November 2019.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jeremy Wilson (May 16, 2017). "Exclusive interview: Sophie Cook on being a transgender woman in football, standing in the general election and her daughter's message". The Telegraph.
  2. ^ Keeley Bolger (November 5, 2018). "Sophie Cook on being the first transgender person to work in the Premier League and a vision for Sussex". Sussex Life. ...Former Shoreham Labour candidate Sophie Cook discusses being the first transgender person to work in the Premier League, transitioning and her vision for the county
  3. ^ a b Le Roux, Adam (March 8, 2019). "Sophie Cook Photography". Sports Gazette. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  4. ^ TEDx Talks (March 12, 2019). "Not Today, how I chose life | Sophie Cook | TEDxBrighton" – via YouTube.
  5. ^ Jimmy Nsubuga (June 10, 2016). "Premier League photographer becomes first transgender news anchor in Europe". Metro newspaper.
  6. ^ Attila The Stockbroker (December 14, 2017). "How Sophie Cook chose life is my highlight of 2018". Morning Star.
  7. ^ Jasmine Andersson (May 1, 2017). "Sophie Cook campaigns to become first transgender MP". International Business Times. ...Cook will be fighting to claim the seat in East Worthing and Shoreham for Labour on 8 June.
  8. ^ Heather Saul (May 2, 2017). "Sophie Cook: Labour candidate could be UK's first openly transgender MP". i News.
  9. ^ Elgot, Jessica; Stewart, Heather (2018-05-11). "Labour cancels hustings after row over reinstated candidate". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  10. ^ "Brighton radio presenter who hoped to become UK's first transgender MP leaves politics after losing selection battle". Brighton and Hove News. 2018-09-25. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  11. ^ "Transgender candidate who won 20,000 votes loses Labour selection battle". The Argus. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  12. ^ "East Worthing and Shoreham: Parliamentary candidate says she is stepping down following 'abuse and harassment'". Worthing Herald. 21 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Sophie Cook Foundation".
  14. ^ Sophie Cook (June 12, 2017). "Sophie Cook on her journey to become the first transgender woman to work in the Premier League". Dorset Magazine.
  15. ^ Sky Sports (November 28, 2017). "Sophie Cook shares her story on My Icon: Rainbow Laces". Sky Sports.
  16. ^ "Bournemouth University to celebrate graduation of students". www.bournemouth.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-12-01.