This program was part of a series called Open Door that launched in April 1973. Championed by the BBC’s director of programmes at the time, David Attenborough, the series provided a platform for marginalised groups to talk about issues affecting them, without any editorial intervention.
Four trans women were described as the Transex Liberation Group, and were led by Della Aleksander. The others were Rachel Bowen, Jan Ford and Laura Pralet. Della was also the founder of GRAIL (Gender Research Association International Liaison), and co-produced this program.
They are joined by two men: Member of Parliament for Pontypool, Leo Abse, who had introduced the private member’s bill to decriminalize homosexuality that had become law in 1967, and Dr Schlicht, a psychiatrist.
The opening clip is from the comedy program, Are You Being Served? The same 'joke' was repeated in the movie spin-off from the series.
Note that the pre-ops are referred to as 'transsexuals' and the post-ops as 'sex changes'. I wonder how much of out jargon today will still be used in 2063 in the same way? Della several times describes herself and others as 'intersexual', a term which we use much more carefully these days.
If the video does not play full-screen, click: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06c83f4.
- Lydia Smith. "Trans women discussed trans rights on the BBC 45 years ago—here’s what it looked like". Pink News, 27th July 2018. www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/07/27/trans-women-discussed-trans-rights-on-the-bbc-45-years-ago-heres-what-it-looked-like.
- Gay Power Couple. "These transgender women appeared on the BBC 45 years ago". The gay Power Couple, July 29, 2018. www.gaypowercouple.com/these-transgender-women-appeared-on-the-bbc-45-years-ago.