Stella Cottee

'Trans People Have Real Feelings & Deserve To Be Respected'

To mark Transgender Day of Visibility (31 March) and the Football v Transphobia campaign, Leicester City fan Stella Cottee shares her story with the Club.
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- Today (Wednesday 31 March) is Transgender Day of Visibility 
- Leicester City are supporting the Football v Transphobia campaign 
- Foxes fan Stella Cottee tells us her story and the reasons why she decided to transition

A lifelong supporter of the Foxes, Stella, a former Season Ticket Holder, started her transition in July 2020. The 55-year-old recalls some of her experiences watching City and explains the reasons why she decided to transition.

The Football v Transphobia week of action takes place from 24 – 31 March, ending on Transgender Day of Visibility. 

This will be the third season Football v Homophobia have taken specific action on trans inclusion and transphobia in the game to help amplify the voices of trans people and allies in all aspects of football.

Stella said: “I first went to a Leicester City game when I was about five years old. I remember going with my Dad and that was it, I fell in love with the Club from that day. 

“I remember when the Club went into administration and there was an appeal asking for people to help out by joining the Foxes Trust. I owned a business at the time and just wanted to volunteer because the Club meant so much to me. 

“On the day the administration had to be sorted, I recall someone from the consortium didn’t put their £100,000 in, but the Foxes Trust did have that money from the amazing fundraising that had been going on to save the Club. 

My two boys haven’t seen me since I’ve transitioned. I spoke to them on the phone the other day to say that Leicester City had been in contact with me about sharing my story, and they told me they couldn’t wait to go to a game with me.

Stella

“I was made aware that someone from the consortium had contacted the Foxes Trust with a phone call about 3pm asking for my opinion on whether we should give the consortium the money that had been raised, with the outcome being if we hadn’t then there wouldn’t have been a Leicester City as we knew it at the time, so it was a no-brainer really.

“I’m still a massive fan, and used to sponsor players for about 10 years, with my last player being Kasper Schmeichel during our promotion-winning season to the Premier League.”

Stella started her transition eight months ago and reveals why she decided to do so. 

“I knew I was trans when I was about eight or nine years old, but back in the day you didn’t really understand what it was all about. I used to dress as a woman regularly. I’ve been married twice and both wives were aware of this, with my second wife aware from day one and was okay with it. 

“I sort of kept it in abeyance because it’s quite a big thing, but as our marriage started to deteriorate, through lots of reasons, not just the trans thing, I just made plans to get on with my life because I wanted to be me and wanted to be happy.

“I went to my GP about 18 months ago to be asked to be referred to the gender clinic because I wanted to transition. 

“They were quite happy to refer me but at that point there was a three-year waiting list, so during the early part of lockdown, it became obvious to me that I needed to take action.

“I searched the internet and came across a company who help with all the medical and psychological recommendations, and luckily my GP was happy to work with them. 

“I had all the consultations online via Zoom and over the phone during lockdown, and then they spoke to my GP who started to issue me hormones about eight or nine months ago.

“My two boys haven’t seen me since I’ve transitioned. I spoke to them on the phone the other day to say that Leicester City had been in contact with me about sharing my story, and they told me they couldn’t wait to go to a game with me.

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Stella Cottee
Stella Cottee

Stella has been a Leicester City supporter for all of her life.

“In fact, they said that they wanted to meet me at King Power Stadium so that it’d be the first place they’ve seen me since the transition. My boys are massive LCFC fans.”

Asked about the general consensus and people’s reactions to her transition, she replied: “I’ve been full-time since November and people at work have been great with me. I’m an optician and the response from my colleagues has been pretty much amazing.

“I think just about everybody has been really supportive of my transition, but I understand if some people don’t like it or don’t get it, that’s fine. 

“All my friends have been amazingly supportive, and the reaction towards me has been unbelievably positive.

“I wish I’d transitioned years ago. When I took the decision, I expected to be lonely, probably lose my kids, my family, and my friends, but one by one everyone has just been fantastic.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stella is yet to attend a game at King Power Stadium since her transition but is eager to do so when possible.

She added: “I wouldn’t give going to the game a second thought. I’ve transitioned full-time now and am confident enough to go anywhere without caring anymore. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware there’ll be a need to be careful because people can be hurtful, but it just depends how confident you are. 

“I’ve not had one negative reaction in my job, so going to a football match doesn’t scare me at all. The only thing I’d be conscious of though is my voice as I’m wary I still have a man’s voice. 

“What makes me happy and more confident about going though is the fact the Club are leading the way in raising awareness of the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The work that is going on to make King Power Stadium a safe place is amazing, and if the Club are seen to be supporting these types of campaigns and pushing that message forward then it can only be a good thing.

“I also feel it works both ways, and what I mean by that is because the Club have been doing so much, I feel I have a duty upon me to go along to games to be visible. The more visible we are then the more normal it becomes.”

It’s a journey of discovery and understanding, so like I say people just need to realise that we are real human beings, have real feelings and deserve to be respected.

Stella

Sharing some of the challenges that come with transitioning, Stella is aware everyone’s journey is different but urges people not to judge. 

She says: “Everyone goes through that stage of self-doubt. Even stepping out of the front door can be tough because you think everyone is staring at you, but at the end of the day you can’t walk around with your head down hiding all the time.

“It’s important we’re not judged by a stereotype; we are real people. We don’t do this for the fun of it. You don’t choose to be gay, and it’s true in this instance, you don’t choose to be trans.

“In some respects, and believe me when I say this, I would have much rather not had to put myself through this because it’s one hell of a journey. 

“It’s a journey of discovery and understanding, so like I say people just need to realise that we are real human beings, have real feelings and deserve to be respected.”

Please click HERE for more information about Football v Transphobia week. 

For further details about Foxes Pride, please click HERE.

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