Tula the Transexual James Bond Girl in For Your Eyes Only

The Urban Legend of Tula: the transexual Bond girl

For decades, 007 fans debated the existence of a Bond girl that was actually a man. We didn’t have the Internet; so, the urban legend continued to grow and distort.

Now, Universal Exports is proud to tell the true story of Caroline Cossey – the brave Bond Girl who was, indeed, born a man.

. . . . . . .

For His Eyes Only

Tula's scene in For Your Eyes OnlyThe year was 1981 and Roger Moore was donning 007’s white tuxedo in For Your Eyes Only.

While tracking Emile Leopold Locque – the film’s henchman – Bond finds himself near a pool filled with beautiful women. Normally, these extras would have gone unnoticed, uncredited and unmentioned: except that one of them was played by Caroline “Tula” Cossey.

Stunningly beautiful and one of the era’s most prominent supermodels, Tula had a secret that was about to go public in a tabloid article titled, “James Bond Girl Was a Boy.”

The Bond Girls of For Your Eyes Only
The Bond Girls of For Your Eyes Only

From Barry to Caroline

Barry Kenneth Cossey was raised as a boy in the village of Brooke in Norfolk county, England.

From a young age, Barry’s features appeared more feminine than masculine: due to a condition known as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.

Barry Kenneth Cossey

Klinefelter syndrome is a condition related to the X and Y chromosomes (the sex chromosomes). People typically have two sex chromosomes in each cell: females have two X chromosomes (XX), and males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY).

Most often, Klinefelter syndrome results from the presence of one extra copy of the X chromosome in each cell (XXY).

Barry’s case was a bit rarer, as he had two extra X chromosomes in each cell (XXXY).¹ This made his feminine appearance even more pronounced.

Needless to say, Barry never got along with boys growing up. His closest companion was his sister, Pam, with whom he would play dress up in their mother’s clothes.

Becoming a Woman

At the age of 17, Barry Kenneth Cossey started hormone therapy and began living as a woman full time.

A young Caroline "Tula" Cossey

Soon after beginning transition, he began a career as a showgirl; and, after breast augmentation surgery, a topless dancer working in nightclubs in London, Paris and Rome.

Although they were initially shocked, Cossey’s parents were highly supportive.

Finally, after years of hormonal and psychological treatment – as well as legally changing her name to Caroline – Cossey had sex reassignment surgery on December 31, 1974 at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

Introducing Tula

After her operation, Caroline’s career took off. No longer a topless burlesque dancer, she became a highly sought-after glamour model and commercials actress.

Caroline Cossey on the cover of PlayboyIn the 1970s, her lanky and other-worldly looks were the height of fashion. Cossey worked as a model under the name “Tula” – appearing in high-profile magazines such as the Australian Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

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 For Your Eyes Only: finally fulfilling her childhood dream of being a Bond girl.

Sadly, Tula’s life would never be the same again…

A Double-0 Scandal

In 1978, Tula won a part on the British game show 3-2-1.

Unfortunately, that’s also when a tabloid journalist contacted her: revealing he had discovered she was transsexual and planned to write about it.

Other journalists also began researching her past: attempting to interview her family members. As such, Cossey dropped out of the show and convinced the producers to release her from her contract.

After this incident, Tula maintained a lower profile, accepting only smaller assignments… until For Your Eyes Only.

The News of the World article that outed TulaIn 1982, shortly after the film’s release, the tabloid News of the World published an article titled “James Bond Girl Was a Boy.” The article was a huge shock for Bond fans – but an even bigger blow for Caroline’s psyche.

In the months that followed, her emotional roller coaster led her to contemplate suicide and to completely withdraw from the public eye. However, she was able to put that all behind her by publishing I Am a Woman – an autobiography that told her story in her own words.

If anything, the press coverage intensified; but, it was now largely sympathetic. Eventually, Tula was able to return to modeling. But a career on a bigger stage was now irretrievably gone.

Cossey admits that she even contemplated suicide — but decided to write the book continue modeling instead. We’re so glad she did!

Tula’s Life, Love and Legal Battles

Eventually, Tula was able to pick up the threads of her life.

She began a romance with Count Glauco Lasinio, an Italian advertising executive, who was the first man to know her whole story before they dated.

They fell in love and he proposed. However, British law regarded gender reassignment as merely a cosmetic procedure. That meant that she was legally still a man and could not marry another man: even though her passport said she was a woman.

She could not use a woman’s lavatory; and, if convicted of a crime, she would go to a men’s jail. Although their engagement ended, the experience encouraged Caroline to petition for changes to the British Law.

Battling for the Rights of British Transsexuals

In 1983, Caroline Cossey began legal proceedings against the British government to get the legal status of transsexuals changed.

Tula the trans underwear modelThe process dragged on for seven years – and through successively higher levels of the judiciary – until it reached the European High Courts in Strasbourg in 1989. During this period, she campaigned tirelessly for transsexuals’ rights: appearing countless times in the media.

In 1985, she met Elias Fattal: a Jewish businessman. Their professional relationship soon became personal; and, on May 21, 1989, Caroline and Elias married at a synagogue in St. John’s Wood, London.

The ceremony took place just weeks after the European Court of Human Rights decided legally to recognize Tula as a woman. Naturally, the government immediately lodged an appeal: scheduled for the subsequent year.

Love Ruined by the Tabloids

On their return from a blissful honeymoon in the Caribbean, Caroline once again found her happiness destroyed by the News of the World.

While Fattal knew all about Caroline’s past, his orthodox Jewish family did not. Upon learning the truth in the tabloid article, they immediately demanded that he end the marriage.

In addition to losing her husband, Caroline now received death threats. Her car was sabotaged and all seemed lost. At the lowest ebb of her life, she again attempted to cope by writing: publishing her second book, My Story, in 1990.

As if that wasn’t enough, Caroline found herself in the public eye again when the British government’s appeal against the Strasbourg ruling came to court. This time, the court found in the government’s favor. In the eyes of the British Government, Caroline was no longer a woman.

Tula’s Life in the Years Since

Caroline has since returned to – and once again left – modeling; all while continuing her fight against the system and society that has treated her and those like her so shabbily.

Tula and David FinchIn 1991, Caroline once again appeared in Playboy – featured in a pictorial titled “The Transformation Of Tula.” This marked the first time the magazine openly featured a transsexual model in its pages.

A year later, Caroline married David Finch: a Canadian. The couple is still married and living in Kennesaw, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, in the USA.

Today, Caroline has once again found herself in the spotlight after Caitlyn Jenner’s brave and public coming out.

She recently told Cosmopolitan Magazine, “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.”²

A Legal Win For All Transsexual and Transgender People

In 2004, the Gender Recognition Act was passed; giving transgender and transsexual people in the United Kingdom means to change their legal sex.

This means that these brave individuals are now afforded full recognition of their acquired sex in law for all purposes: including marriage. 

Furthermore, a Birth Certificate drawn from the Gender Recognition Register is indistinguishable from any other birth certificate; and will indicate the new legal sex and name.

It can be used wherever a birth certificate is used: such as for issue of a passport.

The birth certificate showing the previous legal gender continues to exist; and will carry no indication that there is an associated Gender Recognition Certificate or alternative birth certificate.

This was a huge victory for Caroline – and everyone else in the UK who had been dreaming of equality.

While there is still a long road towards global acceptance, the future is looking bright for anyone looking to embrace their true self.

Tula at-a-glance

Birth Name: Barry Kenneth Cossey
Name: Caroline “Tula” Cossey
Born: August 31, 1954 in Brooke, Norfolk, England
Height: 6’0″
Eyes: Green
T* Type: Post-op TS

Sources & Tula Links

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