Caroline (Tula) Cossey

For Your Eyes Only For Your Eyes Only

The beautiful actress, glamour model, and Bond girl that was outed, denied her rights, and legally challenged the British Government.

Caroline Cossey is an English model, best known after appearing as a "Bond Girl" in the 1981 James Bond (Roger Moore) film For Your Eyes Only, and a model for Playboy (also in 1981). After transition in 1974 she worked as a model under the name "Tula," extensively as a glamour model in top magazines such as the Australian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and was a Page Three Girl for the British tabloid The Sun. But life was not always that glamourous or easy.  

In 1978, She won a part on the British game show 3-2-1. However, when a tabloid journalist contacted her to reveal that he had discovered she was transsexual, and other journalists were also on the scent, actively researching her past and attempting to interview her family members, Cossey dropped out of the show, convincing the producers to release her from her contract. After this incident, she maintained a lower profile, accepting only smaller assignments.

That all changed when she was cast as an extra in the Bond film, and in 1982 she was outed by British tabloid News of the World.

She responded that same year with her first autbiography I Am A Woman  

Cossey was born Barry Kenneth Cossey in the village of Brooke, Norfolk (England) and raised as male. However, through puberty Cossey was distinctly feminine in both appearance and manerisms -- due to an intersex condition known as Klinefelter's syndrome: possessing the genotype XXY instead of the tranditional male XY chromosome pattern (as was Lauren Foster). 

In Cossey's 1990 autobiography My Story, she describes an unhappy childhood, where she suffered confusing feelings and bullying by peers due to her femininity. At sixteen she moved to London and worked at a variety of low-wage jobs. She began hormone therepy at age 17, living full-time in a female gender role and had begun a career as a showgirl at a London nightclub. Despite initial shock, Cossey's parents 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.

After the outing in 1982, she had several relationships.  Glauco Lasinio, an Italian Count -- who knew her past -- proposed, but British Law did not recognize her as a women: sex reassignment surgery seen as merely a cosmetic procedure. She waged a legal campaign -- with his support and encouragment --against British Government in 1983 to challenge the law.  She fought tirelessly for transsexual rights, while the legal case dragged on for sevral years. She appeared in the media often.  It took its toll and strained the relationship, however, leading to her split from Glauco.

In 1985 she met Elias Fattel, a businessman, and they were engaged in 1988 and married in May 1989; the European High Court had ruled in her favor a forrtnight before. 

They returned from their honeymoon to find that The News of the World had published a story on their wedding. Fattal's family was angry and persuaded him to have the marriage annulled, and the press sensationalized the entire episode.  During this time Caroline supposedly receied death threats and her car had been sabataged.  

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.)

Cossey returned to modelling, which she had given up for four years.

In 1991, Cossey released her second book, 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 transsexual.

Cossey married Canadian David Finch in 1992. They live together in Kennesaw near Atlanta. 

Watch her interview with Arsenio Hall 

Watch another interview on British TV

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Last modified onSunday, 06 July 2014 12:49
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