Sam is aware that women want to write about her but she doesn't want anyone to make a fuss of her or over her. She tells us she "hasn't done much. Just bits on the edges. I'm not a Magdalen! I don't want my bloody face everywhere."
You may know Sam as the cheeky, funny, fierce and determined @SamCSheff on Twitter. The woman has a twinkle in her eyes that comes from being naturally quite naughty and not putting up with things she isn't keen on.
Well, I'm going to make a teeny fuss because she does bloody deserve it.
Sam is a Sheffield lass and extremely proud of it. She is a proper Woman Of Steel. Sam worked for many years in finance in various manufacturing firms in Sheffield. She has a degree in Financial Accounting from Sheffield Hallam University. It is not easy to work in Manufacturing as a woman in Sheffield. Old traditions of the industry as male-dominated still persist. She is quietly, smilingly, tough our Sam. Years ago at a fancy party in London with lots of Media types talking about their jobs Sam was asked "What do you do?" She replied simply, "Valves". She isn't one to self-promote or use her elbows to dig her way to the front. She's happy to stand at the back and clap. (Or hold your coat while people say hello to you. She did this in Leeds for me and won't let me forget it!") She's not keen on pretence and she isn't easily fooled by pretenders. Which is where her rebellious entrance into the women's movement's response to aggressive trans activism began. She doesn't believe men can become actual women and she was damn well going to say so.
Despite being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, with a brutally short prognosis, Sam has kept a massive, defiant smile on her face and refuses to bow down to the cruel disease without kicking back and kicking hard. Many of you have seen Sam laughing away with a drink in her hand but some of you also knowing she was in extreme pain and taking drugs just to stay on her feet. But when she is on her feet she is formidable. She has fiercely battled to retain women's sex-based rights. She considers herself a "foot soldier" to others. I call bollocks on this. Without women like Sam the women with bigger platforms wouldn't be able to stand on them. They need support and amplification. They need women on the ground dishing out leaflets, attending meetings, doing their bit. Sam has done this and then some and she's done it in style and in pain.
A member of 'The Resisters' network, a campaigner for 'FairPlay For Women', a member of 'Women Of Steel' and an attender of a number of 'Woman's Place UK' meetings she has been massively active in the campaigns around the reform of the Gender Recognition Act. She has donated, distributed leaflets on the street, helped organise meetings and more. It is not " not much". It is a lot.
When I decided to go and try on bras in the men's changing rooms of Marks And Spencer to check out their mixed sex changing room policy, it was Sam I called and said "You doing anything today?" Her response, "Can we get arrested? Please tell me it's something I can get arrested for." We didn't get arrested but we did have a laugh. She is up for anything if it will help raise the issue of women's right to single sex space.
She has a fierce sense of humour and loves a bit of women's movement chatter about who is doing what and who has fallen out with whom and why. So if you have any chatter, get on the DM and tell her. Or just tell her you love her if you do. Many of you do.
Sam loves being with women in single sex space. She loves the feeling of sisterhood it brings. She knows the recovery it helps facilitate. She is determined that other women shall always have that experience if they want and need it.
Sam Coleman is a 54 year old Yorkshire lass who has dug her heels in, straightened her spine, looked both death and trans activists in the face and said "Is that all you've got?" This spirit is not "not much". It's a lot.
Sam has a husband Bryan who adores her, a daughter Freyja who she adores, and a granddaughter Aspen who she has been besotted with since the day she was born. Sam looks after Aspen when she can and has missed her desperately during lockdown when she has had to shield. These are the heartbreaking aspects of Covid. But still Sam smiles on. She is a mother, a wife, a grandmother, friend and a warrior for women. She is our sister.
So when Sam says she doesn't want a fuss made. Quietly, in your hearts, make a little bit of fuss for Sam.
Keep kicking lass. Fuck cancer.
Jean Hatchet x