A TRANSGENDER football photographer is launching a campaign to become a Labour Party candidate in the general election.

AFC Bournemouth photographer Sophie Cook, who came out after the club’s promotion to the Premier League in 2015, hopes to stand as MP in Brighton where she lives.

The 50-year-old said she would campaign to ensure people could ‘live free from fear where no one suffers from prejudice’ if she is elected.

Sophie, who is also a TV presenter, said: “In 2016 I was approached to stand for local political office but was barred from this opportunity unless I gave up the TV work and so, reluctantly, I had to decline.

“And then Theresa May called a snap general election, the plans that I'd had to potentially stand in 2020 were thrown in overdrive and I declared an interest in becoming a candidate.

“The reception to me, as a trans woman, has been positive with many declaring that it's time for greater diversity in parliament.

“The time is right, the time is now and we must all work together to achieve a more caring, more diverse society where everyone can live free from fear and where no one suffers from prejudice regardless of their gender, sexuality, gender identity, race, religion, disability or wealth.”

As previously reported in the Daily Echo, Sophie, an ex-RAF engineer and motorbike racer, spoke of her pride of being ‘totally accepted’ by Cherries players and fans after decades of feeling trapped in the wrong body.

Sophie, who has battled depression, explained her reasons for standing as candidate.

She said: “The mental anguish of my gender dysphoria coupled with the post traumatic stress led to depression, and then self harming and suicide attempts.

“As I became more aware of what my trans identity meant I realised that any political ambitions that I might have had were out of the question, with politicians being outed for their sexuality what chance did a bisexual transgender person have.

“Even when I came out in 2015 I was still terrified that by being true to myself that I would lose everything, my career in football, my family and most of all, my children.

“By being true to myself I've lost a lot, my entire family turned their backs on me at the very moment that I needed them most, but my children have been amazing and I regularly see my two youngest kids.

“When I came out I faced a choice, to either hide or to stand up and try to make a difference.”