Caroline Cossey (stage name 'Tula
') was a woman with a growing career in modeling
in the middle 70's through the early 80's. She had done a few topless
assignments for national newspapers, and had played some minor roles on television
. In 1980, she managed to land her best job yet, being cast as a bond girl
in the James Bond
film "For Your Eyes Only
Starring in the film also caused her anguish. Not long after the movie's release in 1981, the British tabloid "News of the World" ran a story about her and her past - announcing to the world she was transsexual. (It has also been announced since that she has an unusual chromosome configuration - a total count of 47 chromosomes, with an XXY designation)
She was born in Norfolk, England in 1954 - with the name Barry Cossey. At the age of 16, she moved to London, where she met a number of transsexual women, who helped to support and encourage her in her transition from male to female. In less than a year's time, she had started transsexual hormone therapy, changed her name to Caroline, and started working as a showgirl.
The job paid well, and a year later she got breast implants, and then in 1974, had sex reassignment surgery at the Charing Cross Hospital in London.
Soon after, with newfound confidence, she managed to start on her modeling and acting career.
After the tabloid had ran the story, her career as an actress and model were destroyed, and she found herself hounded by the other tabloid journalists, the regular press, and photographers. She also wrote a book, Tula: I Am A Woman, attempting to deal with the situation head on by telling her story, with her points of view. It didn't defuse the press coverage, and in fact, increased it - but managed to turn a number of sources into sympathetic voices.
Even with all of this, Caroline had spent a lot of time with Count Glauco of Italy, and the two of them had fallen in love. They wanted to be married, but in a letter from the Registrar General of England, on August 22, 1983, that the marriage would not be allowed by English law. England treats sex reassignment surgery as purely cosmetic, and while they do allow the sex on a passport and such to be changed, she was still legally considered male.
Later that year, Caroline began legal proceedings against the government to change these laws. The British government fought every step of the way, and the proceedings took seven years, eventually ending up in the European high courts in Strasbourg. A couple years into the process, her relationship with the Count had fallen apart from the campaigning for legal rights and the court appearances and media attention, and they seperated. She met another man, Elias Fattal, who she became engaged to - quietly, this time, in 1988.
In Early 1989, the high court ruled in her favor, recognizing her as female, though the British government immediately lodged an appeal. She was married to Elias in May, in a synagogue. They took a honeymoon in the Carribean, only to return and find the tabloids were talking about her again, this time announcing to the world about her wedding. Elias's family, very orthodox, was very upset, and their marriage didn't last, ending about a month later, in June.
Caroline published another book, an autobiography, called My Story, in 1990 (now out of print). Soon after, the appeal from the British government in the European high court was decided, this time in the government's favor, allowing them to continue to deny transsexuals the ability to legally change their sex. The Mirror even went so far as to print one of the more glamourous photographs of her, right under the headline "Official: this is a feller".
In 1991, Caroline was featured in a spread in Playboy - the first transsexual to appear in the magazine. This, temporarily, made her the most famous transsexual in the world.
Eventually, she met a Canadian man, David Finch, and the two fell in love and were married - outside of England. They currently live in the United States, and Caroline continues to be active in support of transgender rights.