Five Minutes With Kate O’Donnell

Transgender Day of Visibility falls on 31 March every year. It was founded to celebrate the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save trans lives.

Trans performer and activist, Kate O’Donnell, brought a version of her award-winning show to 1 Angel Square back in February. Colleagues from our Respect LGBT+ network sat down with Kate after the show to find out more about her and her work.

Describe your show in 3 words?

Honest. Trans. Funny

You want your work to be accessible and trans positive. Why is that so important to you?

There is so much negativity and misunderstanding about transgender issues. I want people to hear our stories and get to know us; that’s why I make my work engaging and accessible through humour, costume and music.

You sang a song about Hayley Cropper’s anorak in your show. Tell us more about that.

The song mentions Hayley’s anorak holding her back; it’s a comment on how trans people are portrayed in the media. Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street was the first transgender character in a British soap opera. She burst onto our screens at a time when many people couldn’t even think of transitioning. Today she would be played by a trans woman, which is definitely progress.

What can cisgender (non trans) people do to be better allies to trans people?

A lot of people expect trans people to do all the educating, which isn’t right. I think it’s up to everyone to take time to learn about people who are different from them. We need to see trans equality as human rights issue; it’s something that everyone, not just trans people, should be vocal about. We are all capable of celebrating each other, so let’s just do it!

Trans rights and awareness has come so far in the past few years. What would you like the future to look like?

I would love gender to be less of an issue full stop, our culture is obsessed with it. I would like trans people to feel more positive and for there to be less fear and hatred towards us. Let’s help people be who they are and not stand in their way.

Kate is involved with Transcreative, England’s first trans-led theatre company. You can find out more about them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@transcreative)

You can find out more detail here

  • Trans Day of Visibility – check out the LGBT Foundation’s Website
  • Policies and procedures in place to support colleagues – our policies, including the new trans policies are available on the Colleague site. A list of training modules is available on the intranet.
  • Where I can get support – get in touch with our Respect LGBT+ Network (respectlgbt@coop.co.uk) or Validium, our employee assistance programme (landline – 0800 970 1030 / mobile – 0330 332 9996)

Amelia Cargo

Chair of the Respect LGBT+ Network