The pioneering trans woman Julia Grant has died. Friends said she passed away in the early hours of January 2nd after a short illness.
Julia was the first woman to allow a BBC documentary crew to film her transition. The BBC Two programme “A Change of Sex” was first broadcast in 1979, long before any real public awareness of trans issues.
courageous and funny
“I will miss her. She helped a lot of people find themselves”, said David Pearson, who directed the series of documentaries for the BBC. He tweeted that she was courageous and funny and “she helped a lot of people find themselves”.
“It’s difficult if you weren’t around at that time to realise how closed and secretive that whole [trans] scene was – and the gay scene to some extent”, David told the BBC.
“Essentially, overnight, she made it possible for people to understand what it was like – and she continued to do that.”
she brought hope
The national transgender Charity, Sparkle, said it was important to remember that when the programme was broadcast “there was very little publicly-available information about living with gender dysphoria.
“Julia’s story brought hope to many like her, and helped advance visibility and understanding of a maligned and excluded minority”.
The high profile she gained gave Julia a voice, which she used in Manchester’s Gay Village and elsewhere. Her views sometimes caused controversy in the trans community.
The Hollywood Showbar on Canal Street in Manchester was one of her businesses, in a varied professional life. Julia also organised the first Benidorm Gay Pride.
fabulous and a hint of bling
The funeral will take place on 10th January in Preston, where Julia was born.
In celebration of her life the dress code will be “fabulous and maybe a hint of bling”.
Picture credits: Julia Grant portrait from Julia Grant’s Facebook page, Julia Grant book picture from Julia Grant Facebook page.