might think I'm taking the piss, but who's the best-known transsexual
in Britain? Why, it's cuddly Hayley Cropper from Coronation Street,
of course. Since she waddled onto our screens in 1998 and announced
she used to be Harold, Hayley has sweetened the transsexual pill
and slowly but surely confronted many trans issues, delivering them
into the homes of the mainstream that would otherwise have remained
the fact she's played by a "real" woman leaves her on
shaky ground, but Hayley's story lines have seen her deal with oppression
on many levels and she has stood her ground to reach the point where
she is accepted and respected by her peers.
she suffered rejection by a loved one - poor old Roy was thrown
into a whirl of confusion when he realised his chick had a dick,
but he eventually confronted his feelings and went to get her back.
On a more political level, she has fought for the right to marry,
dealt with prejudice in the work place (she was sacked by Mike Baldwin
when her "secret" was revealed), and fought for the right
to foster children.
can put as many documentaries on TV about these issues as you like,
but the majority won't watch them. The only way to get the point
across to the layperson is to present them in a manageable format,
and Coronation Street has done just that.
effect of the programme has been strong enough to reach parliament.
As a result of the storyline, in 1999 MPs called upon the House
of Commons to give transsexuals full civil rights. A working group
was set up to find ways to overcome the legal problems faced by
transsexual people on a daily basis.
the character has now settled into a more everyday role, her past
continues to make itself known, ensuring that her situation is not
actress Julie Hesmondhalgh who plays the part has become a media
spokesperson for trans relations and is patron of Press for Change,
a group that campaigns for respect and equality for all trans people.
Hayley Cropper, we salute you.