A transgender woman who allowed the cameras into her life to document her transition during the late 70s has died.

Manchester-based Julia Grant was a pioneer in the trans community when she became one of the first transgender women to allow a film crew from the BBC to document her transition in the late 70 through to the 90s. The show was called A Change Of Sex and was watched by more than 20 million people in the UK.

BBC first broadcast the first instalment of A Change Of Sex in late 1980 which was followed by two new chapters, Julia: The First Year and Julia: My Body, My Choice. A revised version aired in 1994, accompanied by another new chapter, The Untold Story, which updates viewers on Julia’s life of the past 15 years. The final instalment, Julia Gets Her Man, followed in 1999. David Pearson directed the films.

Julia was subject to another episode which was titled her dead name, which is described as an “inside story” episode and was broadcast in June 1979.

She passed away at the age of 64.

For many, Julia was the first trans woman they’d ever seen on television; she went on to completely shape the national trans debate and inspire people with gender dysphoria to come out and seek medical help.

She owned and operated an LGBT venue in the city of Manchester called, Hollywood Showbar. She passed away in the early hours of Wednesday (2nd January) after a short illness.

Gay rights campaigner and Manchester Liberal Democrat Leader John Leech responded:

“I’m really sad to hear the news that Julia Grant has passed away.

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“She was rightfully looked up to by many as a leader in the LGBTQ+ community, in particular here in Manchester, but also across the country.

“Throughout her life, she took on issues that others couldn’t quite bring themselves to and, in the process, changed the course of thousands of people’s lives.

“Even as recently as last year, I know she was just as angry as I am about the overdevelopment and destruction of heritage and history in our Gay Village.

“Whilst this is a sad day, it is also a day to remind ourselves of her immense contributions to society and an even better day to renew our fight for true equality.

“The fight for Manchester’s Gay Village is not over and I promise the Liberal Democrats in Manchester will do everything we can to protect our city’s LGBTQ+ history in Julia’s memory.

“All my thoughts are with Julia’s loved ones at this time.”