A Change of Sex was a ground-breaking documentary series that ran for twenty years and featured the first transgender person to have their transition documented on a mainstream UK television documentary. Marking the 40th anniversary of the first episode and as a homage to Manchester icon and subject of the series, Julia Grant, who passed away this year, we remember the importance of this being on television with an introduction by Christine Burns, author and editor of three volumes about trans history.
The series begins with Julia as a catering manager who wishes to transition medically. In the first show we watch as she transitions to live socially as a woman to qualify for gender confirmation surgery. Then returning to Julia’s story after twenty years with the final episode “Julia Gets Her Man”, Julia is now the proud owner-operator of Hollywood Showbar, a gay bar and drag venue in Manchester, where she and her boyfriend wish to marry. In that time there have been genuine advances in trans rights and in that context there is great value in revisiting Julia’s story.