Transgender model April Ashley has died at age 86.
The British model, who is largely known as one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1960, died in London on Dec. 27, Liverpool Echo reported.
Ashley was born in Liverpool and is also regarded as the first known trans model to appear in an issue of Vogue. She was shot by David Bailey in 1960 for British Vogue.
She later starred opposite Joan Collins, Bing Crosby, and Bob Hope in the film Road To Hong Kong.
However, her life drastically changed when she was outed by a friend to the British tabloid, The Sunday People, in 1961.
"My career was destroyed, and apart from jobs where you were paid under the table, I never worked again. It was heartbreaking because I would have been a movie star," Ashley told Liverpool Echo.
Model, actress and trans trailblazer April Ashley dies aged 86 https://t.co/AIqPGX3AiY— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 29, 2021
In 1962, Ashley married the heir of Lord Rowallan, Arthur Corbett. Their relationship ended in 1969, and the marriage was annulled, as the court ruled that Ashley was assigned male at birth the marriage was “not legally sound.”
But in 2005, the former model was granted a new birth certificate that recognized her gender as female after the 2004 Gender Recognition Act was put into place.
Ashley was also appointed an OBE (Order of British Empire) for her work towards transgender equality in 2012.
“I never asked to be born like this,” she stated after receiving the honor. “I would like to have been born normal like everyone else. I wanted to live in the real world and do what everyone else does, but I think I have lived my life with enormous dignity.”
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