Our heartfelt sympathies go out to her family and friends.
April Ashley, who was born George Jamieson, died on Dec. 27 at her home in London. The Liverpool Echo broke the news first, and the cause of death has yet to be revealed.
The British model is known for becoming one of the first individuals in the world to have gender reassignment surgery in 1960 and went on to have a successful international modeling career that placed her on the cover of Vogue.
“They all knew about my operation — they all knew who I was,” Ashley disclosed to the Out. “None of the photographers gave a damn about my past. They wanted me in their portfolio.”
Ashley was shot by Robert Bailey and Terence Donovan, and she is said to have dated a number of A-listers, including Michael Hutchence and Omar Sharif. Likewise, the model was reported to have captivated Elvis Presley, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dali.
However, Ashley was often mocked in the media at a period when LGBTQ+ persons were mostly ignored. On the other hand, she became well-known in her latter years for her support of transsexual rights. She instructed actor Eddie Redmayne on how to portray a trans woman in his 2015 film “The Danish Girl” at the age of 80.
Prior to her transformation, Ashley served in the Merchant Navy until being dismissed due to a suicide attempt. She was sent to a mental hospital at the age of 17 after attempting suicide for the second time and was given electroconvulsive treatment including male hormone injections at the time.
Ashley has received various medals and honors, including an MBE in 2012 for her groundbreaking work for transgender rights, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liverpool and an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of London.
Reactions to Trans Pioneer April Ashley Passed Away
Rest in peace, trans icon April Ashley. I rarely get startstruck. I sat next to her at dinner at an awards ceremony once & I was completely lost for words at her beauty & bravery. 🙏🏿💅🏾👯♀️🏳️⚧️ #AprilAshley pic.twitter.com/uJkuaVlDLp— BISHI (@bishi_official) December 28, 2021
The outing of successful trans folks is still a thing today. Jealousy makes you nasty.— Mahlia (@Shlatz) December 28, 2021
RIP April Ashley https://t.co/Bqj20eHAFF
Gutted!💔— Joss Prior🌈 * Hated by: Gender-Cranks * 🌈 (@joss_prior) December 28, 2021
A scouse Queen!!
Pay attention gender-cranks, this is what a shero actually looks like… who gives no fucks, who smashed a hole in the patriarchy and strutted right through it.
When April transitioned, she raised up the average of all women.https://t.co/zgOQev6XY5
Rest In Power April Ashley 💛 pic.twitter.com/Z68b8V2YS8— Jeffrey Ingold (@Jefflez) December 28, 2021