Transgender pioneer April Ashley given MBE

Actress and model April Ashley was honored by Queen Elizabeth II for services to transgender equality

Actress and transgender pioneer April Ashley was given a MBE for services to equality in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list today (16 June).

Ashley, 77, was the first British person to have gender reassignment surgery in 1960, and since has dedicated her life to transgender equality.

She was given a MBE, or Member of the British Empire, as part of the annual Queen’s Birthday Honors list.

On her website, she says: ‘In Paris, I debated with myself the decision to have a sex change. It was a hard decision. I knew I would be pioneering a dangerous operation.

‘The doctor told me there was a 50/50 chance I would not come through. However, I knew I was a woman and that I could not live in a male body. I had no choice. I flew to Casablanca and the rest, as they say, is history.’

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