Sophie Cook praised Brighton & Hove Albion’s proactive approach to LGBTQ issues, with Sunday’s FA Women’s Super League match against West Ham United chosen as the club’s dedicated women’s Rainbow Laces fixture.
The transgender writer, speaker, activist and broadcaster discussed the tremendous work that the club has undertaken to break down barriers within the game, and highlighted this season’s kit launch as key example.
She said, “The Albion is part of an amazingly diverse city, and it represents that diversity very well.
“I loved the kit launch this season, as the truly diverse base of Albion was represented in that, and it’s something that other football clubs can take something from.
“When you hear people like Chris Hughton and Liam Rosenior talking about breaking down prejudice in the game, you know that you’ve got people at the heart of the club that believe we’re all stronger together.”
Cook also spoke about the strides which women’s football has made as a whole in terms of promoting equality and inclusivity, and believes the publicity of the sport will continue to grow.
“It’s great to see that the women’s game is getting the respect that it deserves nowadays because for too many years, women’s football wasn’t even seen as a legitimate sport and right up until the 1940s, it was banned.
“It’s great to see that the Women’s Super League is doing so well now. We’ve always had LGB athletes in women’s football in a way that we haven’t had in men’s football.
“I think that women’s football can really lead the way here. They’re doing great work and it’s great to see that the sport is now getting some of the media coverage and investment that it deserves. I feel that the women’s game will go from strength to strength.”
Albion have joined forces with Stonewall, Kick It Out and Fans for Diversity for this weekend’s game, and Cook feels all the organisations are working towards the same goal of removing discrimination within the game.
“I’m an ambassador for Kick It Out and a patron for Just a Ball Game? Everyone is working towards eliminating prejudice and bigotry and promoting inclusivity and diversity.
“We’re all working towards the day where people who fight for equality don’t have a job anymore. That’s what we all want to see happen.
“We want to get to the stage where people don’t have to come out, because everyone comes to a realisation about their sexuality and gender identity.
“It’s only ever an issue if someone is gay or trans. Straight and cisgender people also came to a realisation about who they are, it’s just no one noticed. That’s what we’re all aspiring towards.”
Sophie Cook’s autobiography, ‘Not Today: How I chose life’ is out now, and charts her personal journey from despair to redemption and acts as a self help book for anyone struggling with their mental health and identity.