Transgender activist April Ashley, 77, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). According to some accounts, Ashley was the first Briton to undergo sexual reassignment surgery.
The recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours has thrilled the 77-year-old. “It’s unbelievable and wonderful and especially fantastic to receive it in the year of Her Majesty’s Jubilee,” she said yesterday, at home in Fulham, south-west London. She declined to speak until she had finished watching the Trooping of the Colour. Duncan Fallowell, her biographer, said: “It makes me proud to be British. Proud of an establishment that can make such an award, perhaps a rather eccentric award.”
Unsurprisingly, Britain’s tabloids are going wild, publishing numerous leering accounts of Ashley’s younger days, including one story about her seducing late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence. (Tipped by JMG reader Helen)