Trans former model Caroline Cossey has revealed after a long silence that she attempted suicide after she was outed by the News of the World.
The now defunct tabloid outed Cossey, who modelled under the name Tula, a year after she appeared on Playboy in 1981.
Now 60, Cossey has spoken in an interview with Cosmopolitan to say her life fell apart, and she pushed away the modelling world after the ordeal.
She recalls an interview with Howard Stern, during which he mocked her for being transgender, and came out in drag.
Cossey said: “Everything changed when I went on Howard Stern.
“He came out dressed up as a woman in order to interview me and joked that he’d gone through the surgery, and I didn’t know he’d do any of that.
“He also made a joke about cutting off his penis and then handed me a sausage, and I just felt like, I don’t need this. I need to keep my sanity.”
She also opened up about wanting to undergo gender reassignment surgery, but said she feared long waiting lists and psychological evaluations.
As well as appearing in Playboy, she also starred as a Bond girl extra, alongside Roger Moore.
Of her suicide attempt, she said: “I woke up in my bathroom in vomit. I just felt ashamed and embarrassed.
“And then at a certain point, I just got sick of being ashamed of something I’d never had any control over, which was my assigned gender.”
Saying she only ever received “gimmicky” roles due to her trans status, Cossey said she turned her back on the entertainment world.
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Not before she was asked to return to the paged of Playboy in 1991, and became the first out trans model to pose.
She said: “I wanted to do it because I wanted to show all the jocks and heterosexual Playboy readers that transgender people could be sexy and attractive and help them lose the preconceived notions they had about us.”
Of her memoir ‘My Story’, released in 1991 Cossey says: “Times have changed so much that it’s amazing.
“I knew over the years when I’d see shows with gay characters that one day there would be more visibility for trans people.
“Of course, there are still such horrendous stories about what trans people are facing, especially in other countries.
“I know an Indian lady and her family completely cut her off for transitioning, so it’s still not easy for everyone.”
“Your gender is not about what’s between your legs. I know many transgender people are bothered by genitals that don’t match their gender identity, but I would like them to know that their genitalia doesn’t define their gender.”
Cossey now lives in Atlanta Georgia, and is happily married.
She said: “I’ve got somebody who loves me, and I don’t want to continue in this circus, and I’ve stopped my career there. “