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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 263 > APRIL ASHLEY


In 1960, at the age of 25, April Ashley became one of the first British people to undergo sex reassignment surgery. Now, at 80, the grande dame looks back on a truly iconic life.

Attitude Award Winner



Back in the 1960s you could count the number of trans people in public life on one, perfectly manicured hand – France had the beautiful performer Coccinelle and America had the celebrated memoirist Christine Jorgenson, but in the UK, for many years, for many people, April Ashley was the only trans person they’d ever heard of. She became one of the first Britons to undergo genital reconstruction surgery in the 1960s and, a few years later, was outed by the tabloids at the height of her modelling career. To say she’s been around the block would be putting it lightly. “I had to go through six weeks of electric shock treatment as a teenager, which in those days was very primitive,” she recalls today, in perfect BBC English. “Your eyeballs bled.” Say hello to the grande dame of 20th Century transgenderism.

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About Attitude

In this very special issue meet the winners of the Attitude Awards 2015, including Celebrity Big Brother stars Austin Armacost and James Hill, recently out rugby stud Keegan Hirst, TV stars Reggie Yates, Cyril Nri and Lorraine Kelly, plus beloved Corrie actor Antony Cotton. But we’re not only celebrating the world’s greatest stars - nods also go to 56 Dean Street for their sterling work in the gay community, the same-sex marriage victory in the Republic of Ireland, Scottish politician Mhairi Black and handsome French entrepreneurs Pierre and Adrien Gaubert. Elsewhere in the issue, we have all your regular favourites, including this month’s Active section which features 6’5” US hunk and star of TV’s Baby Daddy Derek Theler, with extra unmissable pictures on the iPad. We also launch a new feature exclusive to iPad, Small Town Boy, plus find lots of bonus pictures and video clips inside.