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As part of the city’s RISE programme which celebrates extraordinary women, Uncovering April Ashley’s Archive and Exploring Liverpool’s Trans Lives will launch at Liverpool’s Central Library on Thursday 4 July.
It focuses on the life of Liverpool-born April Ashley MBE, and consists of personal archives donated by April to the city.
A model and actress – April was one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
On display will be April’s original birth certificate alongside her corrected certificate which she received following the introduction of the Gender Recognition Act in 2004. There are photos charting her glamorous lifestyle, mixing with celebrities such as Peter O’Toole and Ava Gardner, correspondence with John Prescott following a friendship struck up in the 1950s, along with other artefacts charting her position as one of Vogue’s most popular models.
There are also newspaper clippings from when April was outed as a transgender woman by the Sunday People newspaper in 1961, illustrating the prejudice April and many other trans people faced.
The exhibition will also explore the private worlds of gender variant people, including William Seymour – who lived in Liverpool as a woman in the nineteenth century – and will showcase personal items documenting the lives and activism of people and organisations from across Liverpool.
The exhibition runs until Wednesday 25 September and is on the third floor of Central Library.
The exhibition has been curated by Liverpool City Council through Central Library and Culture Liverpool, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and members of Liverpool’s transgender community.
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