Who was April Ashley?

APRIL ASHLEY was a transgender model and campaigner who was one of the first Britons to undergo a sex change.

But who was she, and was she married?

Who was April Ashley?

April Ashley was an actress, model and trans-pioneer.

Born into a working class family in Liverpool in 1935, she was one of nine children, and joined the merchant navy as teen.

She then spent time in a psychiatric unit after being put ashore following repeated suicide attempts.

April then moved to London, then Paris where she performed at Le Carrousel nightclub and saved money to fund a gender reassignment operation.

April starred as Countess Josephine in the stage play 'Dracula' in 1974

April starred as Countess Josephine in the stage play ‘Dracula’ in 1974

In 1960 she underwent the procedure in Morocco, becoming one of the first Britains to undergo sex-change surgery.

She appeared in British Vogue and picked up credits as an actress, including a small role in comedy The Road to Hong Kong (1962).

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But in 1961, her career was cut short when newspaper Sunday People outed her as transgender.

She opened a restaurant in London’s Knightsbridge called April and Desmond’s, though the scrutiny she faced following a humiliating court case against her first husband was overwhelming.

After a heart attack in 1975, the trans hero moved to Hay-on-Wye in Wales, then California.

She returned to Britain in 2005, and was legally recognised as woman following the Gender Recognition Act.

In 2012, she was made an MBE for her work as a campaigner for trans rights and equality.

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She died aged 86 in December 2021.

What is The Extraordinary Life of April Ashley documentary about?

The Extraordinary Life of April Ashley is a Channel 4 documentary about the trailblazing model’s life.

The programme is part of the channel’s Pride celebrations, and according to its website is ‘the epic story of the model, dancer, and transgender pioneer who changed Britain’.

It will be available to watch at 10pm on Monday, July 4, 2022.

Was April Ashley married and did she have children?

April was married twice.

The first was to aristocrat Arthur Cameron Corbett in 1963.

Their divorce in 1970 established a legal precedent when the judge ruled that the marriage was invalid on the basis that April was “born male”, and sex couldn’t be legally changed.

She later said the decision was “cruel”.

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She married second husband Jeffrey West in the 1980s, and divorced after about a decade according to The New York Times.

She was not known to have had any children.

You’re Not Alone

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support: