Britain's first openly transgender candidate stands for election

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 08, 2017 9:03 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's first openly transgender candidate was standing for election for the opposition Labour party on Thursday, seeking to unseat the Conservative lawmaker who has held the English south coast seat of East Worthing and Shoreham for two decades.

Sophie Cook, 50, said Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had been a long-standing supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

"Standing as a candidate in this election seems like a natural progression in my lifelong quest for LGBT rights," she wrote in an article on the inews website this week.

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May called the snap general election seven weeks ago in a bid to strengthen her hand in Britain's divorce negotiations with the European Union. Her party is expected to increase its parliamentary majority.

A former Royal Air Force engineer, Cook came out as transgender while working as a soccer photographer in 2015. The mother of three is now a television presenter and LGBT rights advocate.

Britain has several openly gay members of parliament but has never had an openly transgender lawmaker. LGBT people obtained broad legal protection from discrimination under UK law in 2010.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Toby Davis)