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Katie-Elouise Sophie Shepherd

Katie-Elouise Sophie Shepherd

Civil Engineer; Co-Chair, Mott MacDonald; Sheffield City Region Building Equality

Hello, I’m Michelle-Katie or Katie, she/her, I’m 48, a transgender female and lesbian having finally “Come Out” March 2019.

I went through school in the 80’s and 90’s during Section 28, and was 13 when it was enacted which meant that LGBTQ+ people and issues were hidden, and if they were there was bullying and hate and all used as slurs and to cause pain and hurt, during which was my formative years, seeing everyone else develop.

Therefore, I hid everything about me as didn’t fit in with either the boys or girls, I was bullied all the way through school for being different, partly because of being who I was inside, but also because I was quiet, shy, no surprise there now, I was a female screaming to get out.

As a confused teenager this building of walls, not fitting in, bullying massively impacted my social and personal life as didn’t trust anyone and had difficulty letting people in, still does today. I remember trying to talk to my Mum (Adopted Grandma) but she didn’t understand and like others her age kicked off and said things like perverse etc, so eventually I walked out, so I could truly be me, though still hid away as even through working years, didn’t fit in. Some of you will know how work environments can be, still have groups and trying to fit in.

A big part of that realisation was joining the Mott MacDonald Advance network and by being part of the LGBT group and running the LGBT History Event in 2019 promoting the importance of LGBTQ visibility and inclusion, it was then that I was truly able to recognise the impact these oppressive years had on me.

Very lucky to have joined Building Equality and helped form Sheffield City Region and to have a few wonderful friends, and met plenty of others who have helped, or I’m able to help and look forward to the future.

Only my ex- wife and Daughter knew who I truly was inside, and it took me 38 years to finally come out, by saying I was a female and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, took so long partially due to waiting for my four children to reach 16 or older, so as they’d not be bullied themselves at school.

I’m very lucky to have made quite a few LGBTQ+ friends since coming out who have accepted me for me, even if I wasn’t quite ready to.