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Caroline Cossey
Famous model & actress (Most famous for her role in the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only")
Caroline was also the first openly-TS covergirl of Playboy magazine
Caroline is now married and lives with her husband David in Atlanta.

The early eighties. A funny time, everything changing. But boys still liked their Raleigh Choppers, Doctor Who on a Saturday afternoon. Marmite soldiers for tea, imagining that they were James Bond, licensed to rescue the beautiful screaming girl from the vile clutches of the villain.

Unless, of course they were the sort of boy who wanted to be the one doing the screaming.The sort of boy who wanted to be glamourous, gorgeous and, hopefully, gagged and bound, waiting to be whisked away in the nick of time by a handsome man in a safari suit and an improbable foreign location.

You see, some boys wanted to be Bond girls. Boys like Barry Cossey, cruelly bullied at school in Norfolk. Barry knew something was wrong and left home in his teens to become Caroline, a Parisian topless dancer also known as Tula.

Tula was the archetype of the early seventies showgirl: tall, skinny, exotically androgynous, with hormonally assisted curves and a surgically augmented bust, the face of an angel. And a little bit extra, which she hid with a cruelly tight customised G-string until she could have the surgery, at the Charing Cross Hospital in London, 1974.Post-op, Caroline's career took off. No longer a topless burlesque dancer, she became a highly sought-after glamour model and commercials actress, in an age when her lanky, other-worldly looks were the height of fashion. The pinnacle, and a step onto a bigger stage, she hoped, came in 1980 when she was cast in the Bond film For Your Eyes Only. The boy from the fens had become a Bond girl.

Then her world fell apart.The Sunday tabloid rag The News of the World outed Caroline soon after the release of the film. She was devastated - any opportunity for a normal, successful life as a glamour model and actress wrenched away from her in one weekend.

An unpleasant period of her life now began. She was the perfect target for a peculiarly British sort of prurience - fascinated by a "bloke who got his tits out for the lads". The country had never seen any thing like her. She was hounded by the press, persecuted by tabloid journalists and photographers asking unbelievably ignorant questions.

In the first of many brave steps, Caroline made the decision to take it head on. The result was the publication of her 1982 book, Tula: I am a Woman, which sought in straightforward terms to defuse the situation by telling the story in full, from her point of view. If anything, the press coverage intensified, but now it was largely sympathetic pieces in organs like The Sunday Times. Eventually, Tula was able to return to modelling. But a career on a bigger stage was now irretrievably gone.

Eventually, she was able to pick up the threads of her life. A romance followed with an Italian Count who knew her story in full before meeting her (a first). They fell in love and he proposed.

British law regarding transsexuals is farcical. The law regards gender reassignment as merely a cosmetic procedure, and the changes in legal status allowed are accordingly cosmetic. Caroline was allowed to be called female on her passport, and.. that was about it. To all intents and purposes, in the eye of the law, she was and is still male. It says so on her birth certificate. It is illegal for her to use a women's lavatory. If she were convicted of a crime, she would go to a men's jail. Obviously, she was not allowed to marry another man.

Again, Caroline would not take this lying down. In 1983, she began legal proceedings against he British government to get the legal status of transsexuals changed. The process was to drag on for seven years and go through successively higher levels of the judiciary until it reached the European High Courts in Strasbourg in 1989.

During this period, she campaigned tirelessly for transsexuals' rights, appearing countless times in the media. Her ties with the Count suffered and they separated. In 1985, she met Elias Fattal, a Jewish businessma. A professional relationship soon became personal, and in 1988, they were engaged.

On May 21, 1989, Caroline and Elias married, at a synagogue in St. John's Wood, London. The European High Court had ruled in her favour a fortnight before, so she was now legally allowed to marry, although the government had immediately lodged an appeal, scheduled for the subsequent year.

On their return from a blissful honeymoon in the Caibbean, Caroline discovered once again that what fortune and commitment create can be dashed in a day by the tabloid news.

The News of the World had done it again. Elias' family were orthodox Jews, and immediately summoned him to account for his marriage to Caroline. Soon, she had lost him back to his family.

Now she received death threats. Her car was sabotaged. At the lowest ebb of her life, she again attempted to cope by writing, publishing her second book, My Story, in 1990. Again, she was in the public eye as the British government's appeal against the Strasbourg ruling came to court. This time, the court found in the government's favour. The year of transsexual enfranchisement was over.

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Caroline Cossey

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