Writer, speaker, actor, broadcaster & photographer. LGBT & mental health campaigner. Hon Doctor of Letters. RAF veteran. Self harm and suicide survivor. 13th most influential figure in Brighton, apparently… oh, and transgender.
Dr Sophie Cook became the first transgender woman to work in football’s Premier League as club photographer for AFC Bournemouth following her transition from Steve to Sophie in the summer of 2015.
Europe’s first trans TV newscaster, Sophie has hosted her own TV and radio chat shows and is an experienced broadcaster.
In the 2017 General Election she contested the East Worthing & Shoreham seat, increasing the Labour vote by 114% and narrowly missing out on becoming the UK’s first trans MP.
Despite all of this I lived my life in fear, of loss, of failure, of success, of being sad, of being happy, of myself, of being outed, of being loved.
Because of these fears, no matter how hard I pushed myself to succeed subconsciously I would self sabotage and stop myself from reaching my full potential. Now I talk about these fears and how I overcame them to be true to and, finally, start loving myself.
From my childhood memories of being transgender to post traumatic stress after an incident when serving in the Royal Air Force and a lifetime of pain and fear before finally coming out as transgender in the masculine world of Premier League football.
I discuss the fear of change and how we can reframe our experience of fear to enable us to reach our potential, lessons I learnt on the painful road through loss to my ultimate redemption.
Sophie is a standup comedian, actor and an in-demand public speaker, delivering keynote talks internationally including a TEDx Talk on change, fear, vulnerability, diversity, mental health and LGBT issues.
With extensive experience of helping organisations create the psychological safety and open culture needed for every member of their team to thrive Sophie Cook acts as both mentor and critical friend. Providing Mental Health and Diversity & Inclusion advice that helps businesses to work more effectively and with greater cohesion through the power of shared experience and recognising the things that we have in common rather than those which divide us.
In 2019 as recognition of her work around mental health Sophie was awarded the title of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by Bournemouth University.
Sophie was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life Award at the 2020 British LGBT Awards and in 2019 was named as the 13th Most Influential Person in Brighton according to the Brighton Power 100.
Working with organisations of all sizes, Sophie is honoured to hold the position of Speak Out Champion at the Crown Prosecution Service where she is responsible for improving confidence amongst employees in being able to speak openly about their experiences as part of the CPS’ continued cultural drive to embed EDI within every tier of management across the organisation.
Sophie’s published books include her autobiography ‘Not Today: How I Chose Life’ which charts her personal journey from despair to redemption and acts as a self help book for anyone struggling with their mental health and identity, and a series of illustrated volumes that address various forms of bigotry.
Sophie is honoured to hold the following positions:
- Honorary Doctor of Letters Bournemouth University
- Honorary Vice President Bellevue FC
- Ambassador for Kick It Out
- Ambassador for the Sussex Disability Football League
- Ambassador for Hope Charity Project
- Ambassador for Beyond Reflections
- Patron of Just A Ball Game
- Patron of Proud Cherries
- Patron of Space Youth Project
- Patron of People’s Pride Southampton
- Patron of Enterprise Junction
- Patron of the LGB&T Dorset Equality Network
- Hate Crime Ambassador for Sussex Police
- Equality & Diversity Officer Whitehawk FC
- Member of the Sussex County FA Inclusion Advisory Group