Sophie Cook—a TV presenter and former RAF engineer—has announced that she will be standing as a Labour party candidate in the upcoming general election.
Cook, who came out as transgender in 2015 and is a champion of LGBT+ rights, is hoping to oust her conservative opponent Tim Loughton, who has held the seat of East Worthing and Shoreham since 1997.
Loughton was formerly a children’s minister under David Cameron and was one of 128 conservatives who voted against the same-sex marriage act in 2013.
Cook says it’s time that the UK’s diverse society is more accurately reflected by Parliament.
“We need to strive for a world where difference is celebrated rather than one where it's used to divide people and cause hatred,” she tells the Independent.
“Transgender people have been sadly underrepresented at all levels of society in the past and faced abuse, discrimination and bigotry.
“This is beginning to change but it is only by working towards a day when everyone can be free to live their life free of discrimination that we will have true equality.
“Labour is the party of diversity and I believe that it is vitally important that we continue to ensure that LGBT rights are enshrined in law and that only by publicly standing up for those rights will we make this country a place where our children can be free to grow up without fear.”
The 50-year-old says she’s known for decades that she wanted to pursue a political career but feared being outed as transgender.
If elected, Cook will become the first openly transgender MP in the Parliament’s history.