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Sexuality series: Transgenderism, with Claire Jenkins and Julie Hesmondhalgh

Tuesday, 21st October, 2014    
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Five Leaves Bookshop*
14a Long Row, Nottingham, NG1 2DH

five-leaves-bookshop-logoIn the first of our sexuality event series, we will be joined by Claire Jenkins and Julie Hesmondhalgh.

Claire Jenkins will be reading from her book chapter, ‘Straddling the Scalpel of Identity, My Earliest Memory’ (2008). Claire provides us with a personal perspective on what it might be like to realise your gendered understanding of yourself is not shared by your family, your community and even your nation(s). Through rich description and gentle irony she illustrates the ways in which a key aspect of her identity (sex: boy) was established for her from birth through the simple act of filling out mandatory bureaucratic paperwork. As a young child, Jenkins soon discovered that this simple act of registration did not co­incide with her lived reality. The sounds, smells and sensations of her childhood told her a very different story of herself. She recalls the legal and social struggles of re-aligning her identities as an adult.

When Julie Hesmondhalgh was cast, as an unknown actor, as Coronation Street’s first trans character, Hayley, in 1997, there was a negative response from the general public and the trans-community alike, who in turn thought the story sensational and irresponsible. Sixteen years later, what has changed? Did Hayley help to alter perceptions of trans people? Should a cis-actress ever have been cast in the first place? Did the politicised trans-community change their opinion of Coronation Street’s foray into issue-based drama? How was it for Julie?

Julie Hesmondhalgh is an Accrington-born actor who has recently left Coronation Street after 16 years on the show. She won The National Theatre Award 2014 for Best Performance in a Serial Drama, and 4 Soap Awards. Her controversial Right to Die storyline made headlines and won a BAFTA for the programme earlier this year. She is currently filming Cucumber, Russell T Davis’s new series for Channel 4, an 8 part opus chronicling the lives, loves and losses of a group of LGBTQ people in Manchester. She is patron of several organisations including the Albert Kennedy Trust, Press for Change and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.


Admission: £3, refreshments available. Please RSVP to bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk