April Ashley: Paris Showgirl, Vogue Model & Trans Trailblazer

Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society


April Ashley: Paris Showgirl, Vogue Model & Trans Trailblazer

As the UK’s second person to go through gender reassignment surgery, April Ashley was a trans trailblazer, breaking new ground fearlessly and with humour and grace.

She wowed the crowds of Le Carrousel as a showgirl in 1950s Paris, graced the pages of Vogue and, when accepting her MBE for services to transgender equality in 2012, she stood every bit as gracious and regal as the Queen herself.

April’s achievements seem even more remarkable in the context of a life story replete with real hardships, from an extremely tough upbringing in post-war Liverpool to her public outing in a national newspaper by a friend.

Behind the demure glamour she presented, who was April Ashley? And why is it so vital that her story his heard today? Kate is joined by author and journalist Charlie Craggs to find out.

This episode was produced by Stuart Beckwith, and edited by Tom Delargy. The Senior Producer was Charlotte Long. 

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