Happy Trans+ History week to all Trans+ people in Lancashire!

This week we celebrate the stories of the many trailblazers who paved the way for trans people in the UK and in the world

Lili Elbe (1882-1931)

Lili Elbe was a successful Danish painter, and a pioneering trans woman. She lived her life as a trans woman without fear, and in the public eye. She is considered the first individual to have gender confirmation surgery. Her life was the subject of the novel and film The Danish Girl.

“Our assumption as a society that our sex category has implications to what we would love, what we would like to do and what type of person we will be”

Michael Dillon (1915-1962)

Assigned female at birth, Dillon led the women’s rowing team to many victories while at Oxford in the 1930s. Dillon began using testosterone in 1940 and succeeded in getting his birth certificate changed to reflect his gender in 1944.

Michael Dillon is widely recognised as the first trans man known to have undergone gender confirmation surgery.

“People thought I was a woman. But I wasn’t. I was just me.”

Roberta Cowell (1918-2011)

A racing driver, a Spitfire pilot, a prisoner of war and a trans history maker.

Cowell attracted intense media attention in the 1950s when news broke that she was among the first in the world, certainly the first in Britain, to undergo gender-affirmation surgery.

“My nature was essentially feminine and in some way the world was out of joint”

April Ashley (1935-2021)

April was an English model, author, and LGBT rights activist.

Most of April Ashley’s 86 years were the hard going of a pioneer’s life, with repeated rejection and scandal. But she continued her fight to have her gender legally recognised, and was awarded an MBE for her services to transgender equality at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

““Chins up … be as brave as you can.”