Skip to main content

April Ashley MBE dies aged 86


The University of London is very sad to hear of the passing of April Ashley, a true pioneer to whom we awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature in 2019.

April Ashley MBE honorary graduate

April Ashley was a successful fashion model and actress but her route to these achievements was not straightforward. In 1960, at 25 she had undergone one of the first gender reassignment surgeries in Morocco, leaving her male life behind her to come one of the world’s first visible LGBT icons.

April Ashley was finally legally recognised as female in 2005 and issued with a new birth certificate.

She was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to transgender equality, had an exhibition in Museum of Liverpool about her life which led her to become an honorary citizen of Liverpool, and was awarded a lifetime achievement honour at the European Diversity Awards in 2014.

Read her full obituary on the BBC website - April Ashley: Model, actress and trans trailblazer dies aged 86