Unbeknownst to the Producers, 'Bond Girl' Was Previously a Man
Caroline "Tula" Cossey (born August 31, 1954, in Brooke, Norfolk), is an English model. Born Barry Kenneth Cossey, she is one of the world's most well known transsexual people and the first to ever pose for Playboy. Since being "outed" by British tabloid News of the World, Cossey has fought for her right to legally marry a man and to be recognized by the law as a woman.
As 'Barry Kenneth Cossey'
Barry Cossey was born in the village of Brooke, Norfolk county, England, and was raised as a boy. Cossey was already somewhat feminine due to a condition known as Klinefelter's syndrome; however, instead of having XXY chromosomes like most with this condition, Cossey is XXXY. He never got along with boys growing up, his closest companion was his sister, Pam, with whom they would play at dressing in their mother's clothes.
Hormone Therapy & Surgery
At the age of 17, Cossey started hormone therapy and began living as a woman full time. Soon after beginning transition, Cossey began a career as a showgirl and, after breast augmentation surgery, a topless dancer, working in nightclubs in London, Paris and Rome. After initial shock, Cossey's parents were supportive. After years of hormonal and psychological treatment, and legally changing her name, Cossey had sex reassignment surgery on December 31, 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.
Modeling and "Outing" by the Tabloid Press
(Right: Cossey, in a white bikini, as she appeared onscreen in For Your Eyes Only.)
After the surgery, Cossey ventured into modeling, and an active social life as a woman. "I'm afraid I went a little wild," she says. She told tabloids about a romance with Des Lynam in 1979, though Lynam does not recall it. Professionally, she was featured in fashion and print advertisements, including for Smirnoff. She achieved much of her success as a glamour model, including a small part in a 1981 Playboy magazine nude pictorial.
In 1981, Cossey was cast as an extra in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Shortly after the film’s release, in 1982, the tabloid News of the World did what it had been threatening to do for quite a while and revealed that Cossey was a transsexual, which brought her modeling career and hopes of becoming an actress to a halt. She was in deep despair, but decided to fight it head on. In 1982, Cossey responded by releasing I Am a Woman, her first autobiography.
Below: Cossey on the cover of her 1982 autobiography, I am a Woman
After the furore died down, Cossey became engaged to Count Glauco Lasinio, an Italian advertising executive, who was the first man who dated her knowing of her history from the beginning. He encouraged her to petition for change in British law concerning transsexuals. The engagement failed, but the legal process continued for seven years, eventually reaching the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
In 1985, after breaking up with Lasinio, she met Elias Fattal, a Jewish businessman, who was not aware of her history until proposing marriage on Valentine's Day 1988. Rather than rejecting her, as she had feared, he merely asked if she would convert to Judaism, which she did. They were married on May 21, 1989, a few weeks after the European Court of Human Rights handed down their decision to legally recognize Cossey as a female on May 9. They returned from their honeymoon to find that The News of the World had done another story on their wedding. Fattal's family was angry and horrified and after a few weeks, convinced him to have the marriage annulled.
On September 27, 1990, the European Court overturned their decision after the British government appealed. (Transsexuals born in the United Kingdom would later be declared legally female through the Gender Recognition Act 2004.) Cossey returned to modeling, which she had not done for the four years with Fattal.
In 1991, Cossey released My Story, her second autobiography which told the details of her transition and her unsuccessful battle with the European Commission. Cossey was featured in the September 1991 issue of Playboy, in pictorial "The Transformation Of Tula", this time as an acknowledged transsexual.
Cossey married again in 1992 to Canadian David Finch. The couple are still married and living in Kennesaw, Georgia, just outside Atlanta.
- "The transformation of Tula. (transsexual Caroline Cossey)", by Gretchen Edgren, Playboy, September 1991, v38 n9 p102.
- "Sporting kiss and tell's", May 8, 2005, Observer Sport Monthly, The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- (Danish) "Bondpigen var mand", (Bond girl was a man), by Henning Høeg, 23 November 2006, B.T.. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- Henri Brandman & Co., Solicitors, famous cases. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
- "Beauty/Fashion; The Mirror Cracked", by Marcelle Clements, September 15, 1991, The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-27.
Caroline Cossey. (2008, January 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:19, February 13, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caroline_Cossey&oldid=186856169
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