National Coming Out Day celebrated by the Deliveroo panel

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Activist Katie Neeves spoke about her company providing support, education and a sense of empowerment to the transgender community at a panel celebrating National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community and draws attention to their struggles to open up about their sexuality or gender identity annually on October 11th.

It was first celebrated in America in 1988 and 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 holiday is still relevant today as many around the world celebrate it through educational talks, get togethers or just being proud of who they are.

Deliveroo hosted a panel with LGBTQIA+ activists at their London HQ just off Cannon Street to share their experiences and advice on coming out, be it with friends, family or work.

Chairwoman’s spokeswoman Laïla El-Métoui, who uses her pronouns, said: “There are so many factors that can influence our coming-out stories or our decision on who we come out to and when.

“Your country of origin, your place of residence, your relationship with your friends, family, religion and access to support, I think every person’s story is completely different.”

El-Métoui recommended the Deliveroo panel to other LGBTQIA+ activists to show different representations such as asexuality, homosexuality and transgender identities.

Panelist Katie Neeves, who differs from her pronouns, is a transgender activist who shared her coming-out story in which she revealed that she is a transgender woman.

Katie Neves. Credit: Katie Neeves

Neeves owns an established photography business called Martin Neeves Photography and Film, which was named after her pre-transformation self 22 years ago.

She said, “I felt like taking Martin out of business completely was impossible.”

So Neeves decided to come out very publicly by posting it on 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 at the time of the transition, was her biggest supporter.

Neeves said: “She just accepted that her father was female and she uses them and her pronouns for me now. Kids are amazing!”

Since then, Neeves has founded Cool2BTrans, a company that provides support, education and a sense of empowerment for the transgender community.

Cool2BTrans provides transgender awareness training and engages in inspirational conversations with humor to break down barriers and entertain people while educating them.

Neeves reiterates the importance of National Coming Out Day as it allows people who have already come out to share their stories, which in turn helps others who are struggling with their identity to come out.

She said: “Coming out has allowed me to live my truth and I’ve stopped counting the number of people who have told me how much happier I look now.

“A lot of people regret not coming out, but I haven’t met anyone who regrets coming out.”

For more information on Cool2BTrans visit: https://cool2btrans.co.uk.

Credit for selected images: Libby Jennings

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