The Transexual Bond Girl
Birth Name: Barry Kenneth Cossey
Name: Caroline Cossey
Born: August 31, 1954 in Brooke, Norfolk, England
T* Type: Post-op TS
The Urban Legend:
Tula's scene in For Your Eyes Only
Over the years, one of the most hotly debated rumors of the series
was that of the Bond girl who was once a man. This urban legend is
actually true, as For Your Eyes Only 1981's
Caroline Cossey was actually born Barry Kenneth Cossey: a man.
However, over the years the truth has become distorted. When
discussed, people often assume that the Bond girl in question is
the main love interest of the movie: Melina Havelock, played by
Carol Boquet. In reality, Caroline, along with around 10 other
actresses, played one of the girls in the background at the pool
inside Loque's mansion.
From Barry to Caroline:
Barry Cossey was born in the village of Brooke, Norfolk county,
England, and was raised as a boy. Cossey was already somewhat
feminine due to a condition known as Klinefelter's syndrome;
however, instead of having XXY chromosomes like most with this
condition, Cossey is XXXY. He never got along with boys growing
up, his closest companion was his sister, Pam, with whom they
would play at dressing in their mother's clothes.
At the age of 17, Cossey started hormone therapy and began living
as a woman full time. Soon after beginning transition, Cossey
began a career as a showgirl and, after breast augmentation
surgery, a topless dancer, working in nightclubs in London, Paris
and Rome. After initial shock, Cossey's parents were supportive.
After years of hormonal and psychological treatment, and legally
changing her name, Cossey had sex reassignment surgery on December
31, 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.
Barry Kenneth Cossey
Post-op, Caroline's career took off. No longer a topless
burlesque dancer, she became a highly sought-after glamour model
and commercials actress, in an age when her lanky, other-worldly
looks were the height of fashion. Caroline even posed in Playboy
Magazine in 1981. However, all of this attention would pale in
comparison to when she was cast as an extra in 1981's
The Spy Who Loved Me., finally
fulfilling her childhood dream of being a Bond girl.
A Double-0 Scandal:
Shortly after the film’s release, in 1982, the tabloid News of
the World did what it had been threatening to do for quite a while
and revealed that Cossey was a transsexual, which brought her
modeling career and hopes of becoming an actress to a halt.
She was in deep despair, but decided to fight it head on. In 1982,
Cossey responded by releasing I
Am a Woman, her first autobiography, which sought in
straightforward terms to defuse the situation by telling the story
in full, from her point of view. If anything, the press coverage
intensified, but now it was largely sympathetic. Eventually, Tula
was able to return to modeling. But a career on a bigger stage was
now irretrievably gone.
Life After 007:
Eventually, Tula was able to pick up the threads of her life. A
romance followed with an Italian Count who knew her story in full
before meeting her (a first). They fell in love and he proposed.
However, British law regards gender reassignment as merely a
cosmetic procedure, and the changes in legal status allowed are
cosmetic. Caroline was allowed to be called female on her
passport, and that was about it. To all intents and purposes, in
the eye of the law, she was and is still male. It says so on her
birth certificate. It is illegal for her to use a women's lavatory.
If she were convicted of a crime, she would go to a men's jail.
Obviously, she was not allowed to marry another man.
Again, Caroline would not take this lying down. In 1983, she began
legal proceedings against the British government to get the legal
status of transsexuals changed. The process was to drag on for
seven years and go through successively higher levels of the
judiciary until it reached the European High Courts in Strasbourg
During this period, she campaigned tirelessly for transsexuals'
rights, appearing countless times in the media. Her ties with the
Count suffered and they separated. In 1985, she met Elias Fattal,
a Jewish businessman. A professional relationship soon became
personal, and in 1988, they were engaged.
On May 21, 1989, Caroline and Elias married, at a synagogue in
St. John's Wood, London. The European High Court had ruled in her
favor a fortnight before, so she was now legally allowed to marry,
although the government had immediately lodged an appeal,
scheduled for the subsequent year. On their return from a blissful
honeymoon in the Caribbean, Caroline discovered once again that
what fortune and commitment create can be dashed in a day by the
The News of the World had done it again. Elias' family were
orthodox Jews, and immediately summoned him to account for his
marriage to Caroline. Soon, she had lost him back to his family.
Now she received death threats. Her car was sabotaged. At the
lowest ebb of her life, she again attempted to cope by writing,
publishing her second book, My Story, in 1990. Again, she was in
the public eye as the British government's appeal against the
Strasbourg ruling came to court. This time, the court found in the
Caroline has since returned to modeling, and has continued her
fight against the system and society that has treated her and
those like her so shabbily. Cossey also married again in 1992 to
Canadian David Finch