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03 August 2013

Marcella Di Folco (1943 - 2010) film actor, activist, councillor

Marcello was raised in Rome. After school he worked as a porter at the Hotel Rivoli, and then from 1965 at the Piper Club.

In 1969 Di Folco had to deliver a letter to the Cinecitta film studios, where he was spotted by director Frederico Fellini and given a part in Fellini Satyricon. From then till 1980 Di Folca appeared in several more Fellini films, and even more films by other directors. He was credited as Marcello Di Falco (actually the originally spelling of the family name).
Cross-acting as the Prince in Amarcord, 1973

In 1980 Di Folco did what she had wanted for many years and had transgender surgery with Dr Burou in Casablanca. On return Marcella worked as an intercontinental operator for Italcable.

Marcella 1999
She became an active participant in the newly founded Movimento Italiano Transessuali which achieved legal recognition of changed gender two years later. In 1986 Marcella moved to Bologna where MIT had its headquarters, and two years later became its president. In 1990 Marcella was elected to the Bologna City Council, and again from 1995-9.

In 1994 MIT opened in Bologna the world's first gender identity clinic managed by transsexuals. In 2000 she persuaded the Equal Opportunities Minister to set up a Gender Identity Commission.

In 2001 she was a Girasole (Sunflower, ie Green) list candidate. In 2004 she was Communist candidate for the European Parliament and for the Provincial Council of Bologna. In 2006 she was a Green Candidate for the Senate.

Marcella died aged 67 of a tumour.

A Bologna street has been named in her honour.

The Italian sites claim that Marcella was the first open trans person elected to a city council.  Not to diminish her achievement, but Rachel Webb was elected to Lambeth Council in 1986, and Mark Rees to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in 1994.

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