Surgery in Casablanca
April Ashley modelling in London, 1964. © Vic Singh / Rex Features
"Au revoir monsieur... Bonjour mademoiselle." Dr George Burou
Throughout her life April had recognised that she wasn't a boy and knew that she could not be 'cured' through therapy, medication or psychiatry. She longed to become the woman she felt she had always been. Working at Le Carrousel she had saved enough money to attempt to make this wish come true. Her friend Coccinelle suggested she contact Dr George Burou,a pioneer in gender re-assignment surgery who was based in Casablanca, Morocco.
She left for Casablanca on 12 May 1960 and within three days of arriving the correction of her genitalia from male to female was complete. She was the ninth patient on which Dr Burou had performed the surgery. It was a complex but successful operation. As a consequence her hair fell out and she endured significant pain, but April had finally become the woman she had always believed she was. She told Dr Burou that it was "the happiest day of my life".