Activist Katie Neeves spoke about her business providing support, education and a sense of empowerment for the transgender community at a panel celebrating National Coming Out Day.
National Coming Out Day celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community and spreads awareness of their struggles of opening up with their sexuality or gender identity annually on October 11.
It was first celebrated in America in 1988 and was orchestrated by gay activist, Jean O’Leary who chose the date to commemorate the Second National March in Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.
The national day is still relevant today as many celebrate it across the world through educational talks, get-togethers or simply just being proud of who they are.
Deliveroo held a panel of LGBTQIA+ activists at their London HQ, near Cannon Street, to share their experiences and advice for coming out whether that be to friends, family or the workplace.
Chair speaker Laïla El-Métoui, who goes by she/her pronouns said: “There’s so many factors that can affect our coming out stories or our decision who we come out to and when.
“Your country of origin, your residence, your relationship that you have with your friends, family, religion and access to support, I think everyone’s story is completely different”
El-Métoui recommended the Deliveroo panel to fellow LGBTQIA+ activists to show different representations such as asexuality, homosexuality and transgender identities.
Panellist Katie Neeves, who goes by she/her pronouns, is a transgender activist who shared her coming out story of revealing she is a transgender woman.
Neeves owns a well-established photography business called Martin Neeves Photography and Film which was named after her pre-transitioned self 22-years-ago.
She said: “I felt like it was impossible to take Martin out of the business completely.”
Therefore Neeves decided to very publicly come out by posting it all over her social media and sending her clients a YouTube video explaining her story.
She received hundreds of messages of support, however Neeves lost her wife and became estranged from her mother and sister.
Despite this, Neeves’ daughter who was 6-years-old when the transition took place was her biggest supporter.
Neeves said: “She just accepted that her dad is female and she uses she and her pronouns for me now. Kids are incredible!”
Since then, Neeves has founded Cool2BTrans, a business which provides support, education and a sense of empowerment for the transgender community.
Cool2BTrans provides transgender awareness training and does inspirational speaking with the use of humour to break down barriers and entertain people while educating them.
Neeves reinstates the importance of National Coming Out day as it allows people who have already come out to tell their stories, which in turn helps others struggling with their identity to come out.
She said: “Coming out has allowed me to live my truth and I have lost count of the number of people who have told me how much happier I look now.
“Many people regret not coming out, but I have yet to meet anyone who regretted coming out.”
Featured image credit: Libby Jennings