Sixties trans pioneer April Ashley claimed she could have slept with all four of The Beatles

Trans supermodel April Ashley once claimed that she could have slept with all four members of The Beatles, saying that she once turned down Paul McCartney at a club.

Considered a trailblazer because her transition happened years before affirming health care was widely available, Ashley underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 1960 at the age of 25.

She saved £3,000 (about £58,000 or $73,700 in today’s money) for the procedure and travelled to Casablanca, in Morocco, to be treated by Dr Georges Burou.

Ashley was born in Liverpool in 1935 and was considered an “effeminate” child. After joining the Merchant Navy and later working in a club called Le Carrousel, in Paris, she found out that it was possible to transition from male to female.

She said Salvador Dali and Elvis Presley made advances towards her while she worked at Le Carrousel and that she met Paul McCartney at Club dell’Aretusa, in London. He was apparently very interested but she decided to go home instead, leaving him behind and jumping in a taxi.

“I could have slept with all the Beatles,” she went on to famously claim.

Who was April Ashley’s husband?

Ashley married Arthur Corbett, who later became the third Baron Rowallan, in 1963 but the marriage was annulled in 1970.

Corbett filed for annulment on the grounds that Ashley was biologically male, but she said he had known about her transition when they were married.

The next thing April Ashley knew, she was caught up in a horrible law case: Corbett v. Corbett, which led to an unpleasant and invasive court appearance in December 1969. Over the course of 17 days in court she was asked about intimate, private bodily details, such as the “size and activity of her penis” pre-operation.

English fashion model and former Merchant Navy sailor April Ashley pictured signing the marriage register with her husband Arthur Corbett (1919-1993) on the day of their wedding in Gibraltar on 11th September 1963. (Photo by Simpson/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Nine medical experts were on hand and she was also subjected to medical examinations. She lost the case. The judge said: “The respondent is not, and was not, a woman at the date of her marriage, but was, at all times, a male.” She was ruined financially and had to take low-paid restaurant jobs to get by.

She later married a man named Jeffrey West in the 1980s while on a cruise ship in Long Beach, California. The couple divorced soon afterwards but stayed friends.

When was April Ashley outed as trans?

After a successful modelling career – she worked with British Vogue and was photographed by top snapper David Bailey – and winning a small role in the 1962 film The Road to Hong Kong, alongside Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Ashley’s career stalled when a friend outed her as trans to the media.

April Ashley was a well-known model until she was outed as trans. (Getty)

Her story was printed in The Sunday People in 1961, including intimate details of her surgery.

She was “dropped like a stone” from her modelling jobs and was never given a credit in the film, according to The Telegraph.

“I never got another modelling job from that day to this. Six months worth of booking was cancelled overnight,” Ashley told the newspaper in 2010.

April Ashley’s MBE and later life

In 2005, April Ashley finally received something she’d wanted for years: her birth certificate from the UK Government, officially listing her as female. The Gender Recognition Act had been passed in 2004.

In 2012, Ashley was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), one of the highest honours in the UK for her services to transgender equality, for which she campaigned throughout her life.

At the time, Ashley said she did not think she “was doing anything special” by undergoing gender-reassignment surgery and calling for transgender rights so was astonished by the MBE.

In the following years, from 2013 to 2015, a million people came to see the exhibition, April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady, at the Museum of Liverpool.

Ashley died in 2021 at the age of 86. Her memorial celebration was held in St George’s Hall, Liverpool, and her friend – veteran actor Simon Callow – paid tribute to her, saying that she’d led the way for others.

April Ashley: a true trailblazer in every sense of the world. The Beatles certainly missed out.

The post Sixties trans pioneer April Ashley claimed she could have slept with all four of The Beatles appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.