Inspirational transgender campaigner, April Ashley, has been named a ‘Citizen of Honour’ in her home city of Liverpool.
At an intimate ceremony in the beautiful Council Chamber of Liverpool Town Hall, April was awarded the honour in recognition of her work fighting for transgender equality. Wednesday 29 April also marked April’s 80th birthday so was a fitting way for her to celebrate this landmark occasion.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Erica Kemp CBE said: “I am delighted to be honouring this outstanding lady for her dedication and commitment to ensuring that the transgender, gay, lesbian & bisexual community are listened to and given equal rights.
“Her tireless campaigning, determination and courage make her a most worthy recipient of this honour. I hope that by awarding April a Citizen of Honour we can highlight the inequalities that individuals still suffer today and encourage those who feel lost and confused to reach out and realise that they are not alone.”
April Ashley said: “It is wonderful to be receiving this honour in my home city and for such a worthy cause. We all have a responsibility to stand up and fight for basic human rights and to be recognised for this is truly wonderful.”
“It is also a fantastic way to celebrate a landmark birthday in one of our most historic and stunning buildings.”
Born in Liverpool on 29 April 1935 as George Jamieson at the age of 25 she was one of the first people to have gender reassignment. Since then from her platform as a successful model, she has been instrumental in the campaign for transgender and LGBT equality.
In 2012 in recognition for her services to transgender equality she was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours. She speaks regularly on LGBT rights, including most recently in 2008 at St George’s Hall.
In addition this week, Liverpool’s first Transgender Pride Flag will be given to the Museum of Liverpool.
Sophie Green, from Liverpool Trans said: “It’s incredibly empowering to see your community represented and the Transgender Pride flag represents a group which often faces huge prejudice and intolerance.
To witness members of the transgender community raise the flag above Town Hall was an incredibly proud moment and I’m delighted it is now part of the Museum of Liverpool Archive”
The Transgender Pride flag was first presented to the Lord Mayor, Councillor Erica Kemp, by members of the local transgender community in November 2014. It was flown for the first time in support of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a global event, held annually on the 20th November to remember transgender lives lost to violence and prejudice.
During the ceremony Liverpool Trans also presented April with a book of 80th Birthday messages and photographs from members of the transgender community; collated from online submissions during their birthday messages for April campaign.