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April Ashley’s Odyssey (2000)

April Ashley’s Odyssey (2000)

©2000, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2000, Spring). April Ashley’s Odyssey. Transgender Tapestry, 89, p. 5.

This short piece appeared within a larger article about the Christie Lee Littleton case in Texas.




This case is a virtual revistation of the UK case Corbett v. Corbett, in which Justice Ormrod’s homophobic decision that post-operative transsexual April Ashley was a male deprived British transsexuals of the right to marry and have birth certificates and passports identifying them as male. For some inexplicable reason, the Texas court ignored the most logical precedent in this case, the New Jersey M.T. v J.T., in favor of British law.

Why do we say Sir Roger Ormrod’s decision was homophobic? Check out the excerpts from his judgement, making note of the fact that MTF transsexual vaginas and nontranssexual vaginas are in exactly the same place relative to the anus. Guess we know where Ormie’s mind was, huh?

If your editor were 20 years younger and a hundred pounds lighter she would take herself straight to Texas, make the acquaintance of one of the judges in this case (probably Chief Justice Phil Hardberger, intriguing name) and fuck his brains out, then make a beeline to his buddies and the press to tell them about it.

Obviously, in Texas, also, they have a hard time telling steers from queers— Ed.


April Ashley’s Odyssey


April Ashley can reportedly swear like the Liverpool stevedore she once was. Her kiss-and-tell autobiography begins with Prince Max von Hohlenlohe-Langenburg asking whether her nipples were brown or pink. “The palest, Max,” she told him, “pink.”

April, formerly George Jamieson, was a minor celebrity in 1960s London, where she made the acquaintance of Arthur Corbett, a minor nobleman and a balding fortysomething crossdresser who saw in the exquisite April everything he wanted to be. Eventually they were married, and eventually, divorced, with April asking for alimony. The case wound up in the court of Roger Ormrod, who didn’t like her, not a bit: “He never once looked me straight in the eye but glanced furtively in my direction and mumbled his references to me as if they were distasteful to him” (p. 214 of April Ashley’s Odyssey). Arthur Corbett said to the judge about his crossdressing, “I didn’t like what I saw. You want the fantasy to appear right.” Of April, he said, “There was so much more than I could ever hope to be. It far outstripped any fantasy for myself” (p. 215).

April was known for debauchery, which may have been one reason for Ormrod’s distaste for her. Her transsexualism may have been another reason. Her mesmerizing effect on Corbett may have been a third. But when one of the experts in the case, Professor Ivor Mills, told her, “There is a great deal of snobbery in this case, April,” he was doubtless referring to the class differences involved. April came from common stock, and both Corbett and Ormrod were noblemen in an extremely class-conscious country. Birds of a feather, after all, flock together. April, realizing this, remarked,

 By this I assumed [Mills] meant not only the obvious prejudices against transsexuals and the usual gestures of male chauvinism but also a more subtle association between Arthur, Arthur’s counsel, and the bench, the subconscious intransigence and hauteur of educated gentlemen who had no intention of being made to revise, or even examine, their notions of what a man, a woman, a marriage might be, especially not at the behest of a parvenu such as myself who, having been born in a Liverpool slum, not only refused to stay there but had the damn nerve to change her sex into the bargain, but more, much more, cheek of all cheek, had the impertinence to marry into the peerage as well! (p. 216).

As a result of Corbett v. Corbett, British transsexuals have been denied the right to marry. Ironically, as Texas transsexuals lose that right, the pressure group Press for Change is making inroads in the UK and may soon drag that country into line with the rest of the European Union.