Ashley April project tracks UK trans lives over past 70 years

Exhibition on transgender rights pioneer, actress and Vogue model April Ashley will be culmination of £250,000 study of British trans people

Ashley April project tracks UK trans lives over past 70 years
27 July 2012

A project which aims to chart the lives of transgender people living in the UK over the last 70 years will be launched today (27 July).

The £250,000 project, run by Liverpool-based LGBT organization Homotopia from July until December 2014, will feature workshops and opportunities for members of the transgender community to share their own experience, culminating in a major exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.

The exhibition will use April’s personal collection of documents, photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings and television clips to chart her journey from George Jamieson born in Pitt Street, Liverpool in 1935 through her early career at sea with John Prescott, to cabaret performer for Einstein and Dali.

It will also cover her life-threatening gender reassignment surgery in 1960 as well as her career as an actress starring alongside Bob Hope, friendships with actors Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, becoming a Vogue model and marriage to a future peer of the realm.

Ashley is known as the first Brit to be outed as trans in 1961 and more recently, the 77-year-old has been at the forefront of transgender equality campaigning, winning her a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) honor from the Queen this year.

‘This is a project of national significance charting the shifting social attitudes towards gender and sexuality using personal effects from April’s archive,’ said Homotopia director Gary Everett.

‘Over half a million people will enjoy the final exhibition thanks to our collaboration with the Museum of Liverpool.

‘We are looking to capture the memories of trans, lesbian, gay and heterosexual people who remember April and can tell us of their experiences and of the impact they perceive April to have had on the movement from marginalisation and prejudice towards equality.’

Ashley says she is ‘very flattered’ that there will be an exhibition based on her life.

She said: ‘This is already a special year for me as I am to receive an MBE this autumn for my work campaigning for transgendered rights.’

The April Ashley exhibition will open in October 2013.



No thumbnail available

British gay couple win right to raise twins after surrogate disappears

The British gay couple won the right to father twin boys after the anonymous surrogate Indian woman disappeared without giving her formal consent
No thumbnail available

Gang stab and stone trans woman outside DRC bar

Hotel owner demands victim’s mom pays for damage to car caused by men who threw rocks at her daughter in the Congo
No thumbnail available

Sharon Osbourne: ‘Simon Cowell has a gay-ish air’

'Don’t you find there are – not naming names! -  a lot of people in this industry who have women as beards?'
No thumbnail available

Facebook 'likes' can out you as gay

What you 'like' on Facebook can reveal more about you than you might like, including your race, religion, and sexuality
No thumbnail available

Days of Our Lives star talks to Gay Star News about playing the mom of a gay son

Alison Sweeney: 'They're telling a great soap storyline about a character who happens to be gay'
No thumbnail available

University of Central Florida student strips to try and silence anti-gay preacher

Preacher responds: 'This is why there are so many lesbians on campus!'
No thumbnail available

Cardiff marries modernity with Welsh heritage

The Welsh capital is a burgeoning center with a contemporary art scene amidst ancient architecture
No thumbnail available

Fifty years later a fighter's death continues to haunt

The Emile Griffith and Benny Paret fight still shocks 50 years later
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Jason Collins: the great black hope

Now NBA giant Jason Collins has come out as gay, Reverend Irene Monroe looks at what it will mean for sports fans and gay African Americans