The Premier League’s first out trans photographer is in Russia fighting for LGBT+ rights

Sophie Cook trans football

The first out trans photographer to work for the Premier League is currently in Moscow for the World Cup to show support for LGBT+ Russians.

Sophie Cook posted a photo of herself waving the transgender flag in the capital’s historic Red Square, tagging the Russian LGBT Sport Federation. The non-profit organisation works to provide a community for LGBT+ sports fans in the country.

“Great to be in Moscow showing my support & solidarity with the Russian LGBT+ community & my friends @LGBTsportRussia by flying my transgender flag in Red Square,” she wrote.

“Football against prejudice, football against transphobia.”

Cook became the first out trans photographer to work for the Premier League back in 2016, when the club she was an employee for, AFC Bournemouth, got promoted. 

In June 2017, Cook stood as a Labour parliamentary candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham in the snap general election – hoping to become the UK’s first transgender MP. However, she narrowly lost out to Conservative candidate Tim Loughton.

Still, she managed to get the best result for Labour in the reliably-Tory seat since it was established in 1997, with a 19.8% swing to Labour.

The World Cup final will take place on Sunday, with France taking on Belgium.

England crashed out of the tournament on Wednesday night, after losing 1-2 to Croatia, in a match that went to extra time.

A new documentary recently revealed the tense environment for LGBT+ football fans living in Russia, who report being routinely discriminated against by authorities.

Sophie Cook stood as a Labour candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham in the June 2017 snap general election.

The six-minute video by football publication Goal features an interview with Aleksandr Agapov, president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, about what daily like is like for queer football fans in the country.

In the video, Agapov, who flew a Pride flag at Russia’s opening match against Saudi Arabia, said that the World Cup presented a “window of opportunity” for LGBT+ people in his home country.

Russian authorities seems to have relaxed their discriminatory policies for the duration of World Cup – however, there have still been reports of incidents involving LGB+I people.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was arrested at the start of the tournament, for staging a one-man protest against Russian president Vladamir Putin near Moscow’s Red Square. He was later released on bail.

And LGBT+ football fans had their Pride-themed England flag briefly taken down at one match. However, FIFA overruled the decision of the stewards, and put the flag back up in time for the game.

LGBT+ Russian activists, meanwhile, have expressed their fears over what life will be like for them after the World Cup has finished.