As a teenager growing up in the late 1970s, having a southern accent in my North Midlands comprehensive school marked me as “different”. Julia Grant, who has died at the age of 64, helped shape my identity in a much more permanent way.
The bluntly titled “A Change of Sex” was a BBC2 programme in which she was the first trans woman to share her story on primetime TV. This four-part 1979 documentary was the subject of many conversations at my school, and made me question my gender identity and realise that there are others out there who perhaps feel as I do.
I am sure this would be a very uncomfortable programme to watch now. Apart from the 1970s fashions, the programme reflected the attitudes and beliefs of the time. In subsequent years, Julia Grant worked hard to represent the LGBT community.
The support and resources that are available 40 years later are in part due to pioneers such as Julia Grant (and Quentin Crisp). She helped shape the way society is today with more liberal and progressive ideas on gender identity and sexuality.
She was a pioneer, a fighter, a champion and will be deeply missed. Thank you for all that you did Julia. RIP.