Caroline Cossey (born 31 August 1954) is an English model. She is one of the world's most widely known trans women, having appeared in a James Bond film and having been the first to pose for Playboy. Since being outed by British tabloid News of the World, Cossey has fought for her right to legally marry and be legally recognised as a woman.
|Born||Barry Kenneth Cossey
31 August 1954
Brooke, Norfolk, England
|Spouse(s)||Elias Fattal (1989)
David Finch (1992–present)
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
Early life and transitionEdit
Cossey was born in Brooke, Norfolk. Through puberty, Cossey was distinctly feminine in appearance due to a variant of a condition known as XXXY syndrome, where, instead of having the XY male chromosome pattern, she possesses the genotype XXXY (people with Klinefelter's syndrome usually have XXY). In Cossey's autobiography My Story, she describes an unhappy childhood, where she suffered confusing feelings and bullying by peers due to her femininity. Growing up, Cossey's closest companion was her sister, Pam, with whom she played dress up in their mother's clothes. Cossey left formal schooling when she was fifteen, and found work in a clothing store and as a butcher's apprentice. At sixteen she moved to London and worked at a variety of low-wage jobs.
Cossey started transitioning whilst serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers after befriending a post-operative trans woman who was serving as the 9 Sqn RE SSM. By 19, Cossey was receiving hormone therapy, serving full-time in a female gender role and had begun to split her time between working as a Shipwright and starting a part-time career as a showgirl at a London nightclub. Despite initial shock, the Corps of Royal Engineers were eventually supportive. Following breast augmentation surgery, Cossey worked as a showgirl in Paris and as a topless dancer in Rome to save up for sex reassignment surgery (SRS). After years of hormonal and psychological treatment, and legally changing her name, Cossey had her final surgery on 31 December 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital, London.
Modelling career and outing by the tabloid pressEdit
Cossey now began an active social life as a woman, concealing her past living as a boy. Asked about her dating life, Cossey replied, "I'm afraid I went a little wild". She told tabloids she had a romance with the television presenter Des Lynam, though Lynam says he does not recall it. Lynam however mentions going on dates with her in his autobiography. Cossey worked as a model under the name "Tula". She appeared in top magazines such as the Australian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and worked extensively as a glamour model. She was a Page Three Girl for the British tabloid The Sun and appeared in Playboy in 1991.
In 1978, Tula won a part on the game show 3-2-1. A tabloid journalist then contacted her, revealing he had discovered she was transgender, and planned to write about it. Other journalists researched her past, attempting to interview her family members. Cossey dropped out of the show, convincing the producers to release her from her contract. After this incident, Tula maintained a lower profile, accepting only smaller assignments.
Tula was cast as an extra in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Shortly after the film's release, the tabloid News of the World came out with a front-page headline that read "James Bond Girl Was a Boy." By her own accounts, Tula was so upset she contemplated suicide. However, she continued her modelling career. Tula responded by releasing I Am a Woman, her first autobiography.
Tula became engaged to Count Glauco Lasinio, an Italian advertising executive, who was the first man to date her knowing of her past. He encouraged her to petition for changes in the British law concerning transsexuals. The engagement ended, but her legal efforts continued for seven years, eventually reaching the European Court of Human Rights.
In 1985, Tula appeared extensively in the video for The Power Station's "Some Like It Hot". After breaking up with Lasinio, Tula met Elias Fattal, a businessman, who was unaware of her history until he proposed marriage on St Valentine's Day 1988. When she told him, rather than rejecting her, he merely asked if she would convert to Judaism. She agreed. They were married on 21 May 1989, just weeks after the European Court of Human Rights decided legally to recognise Tula as a woman. They returned from their honeymoon to find that the News of the World had published a story on their wedding.
On 27 September 1990, the European Court overturned their decision on a British government appeal. (Later, the Gender Recognition Act 2004 was passed, giving transgender people in the United Kingdom means to change their legal sex.) Tula returned to modelling, which she had given up four years earlier.
In 1991, Tula released My Story, her second autobiography. In it she gave details of her transition and her unsuccessful battle with the European Commission. She was featured in the September 1991 issue of Playboy, in a pictorial, "The Transformation of Tula", as an acknowledged transgender person.
- Edgren, Gretchen (September 1991). "The transformation of Tula (transsexual Caroline Cossey)". Playboy. 38 (9): 102. Archived from the original on 6 December 2004.
- "Tula: The Transsexual Bond Girl". Retrieved 26 May 2015
- Cossey, Caroline (1991). My Story. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-16251-7.
- "Sporting kiss and tell's", 8 May 2005, Observer Sport Monthly, The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2007
- "21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". Time.
- (in Danish) "Bondpigen var mand", (Bond girl was a man), by Henning Høeg, 23 November 2006, BT. Retrieved 1 November 2007
- Reported and notable cases Henri Brandman & Co. Solicitors. Retrieved 1 November 2007
- Clements, Marcelle (15 September 1991). "Beauty/Fashion; The Mirror Cracked". The New York Times. p. 71. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "A '90s odd couple : Montreal man to marry transsexual", by Wendy McCann, The Canadian Press, Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 16 March 1992. Also printed as "Montreal man to marry British transsexual model", The Hamilton Spectator, 16 March 1992. Retrieved 30 May 2013.