Lili_Elbe_by_Gerda_WegenerAt a recent press conference at the Venice Film Festival, Eddie Redmayne was discussing his new role playing the transgender artist Lili Elbe in his new film ‘The Danish girl’.

In typical Redmayne fashion, the Oscar-winning actor wanted to immerse himself in the transgender world so that he could portray his character as accurately and convincingly as possible.

Lili Elbe (1882 – 1931) was a successful artist and a transgender woman and was one of the first ever ‘transitioning’ patients to undergo ‘reassignment surgery’. She was actually born in Denmark under the name ‘Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener’ but in the 20s already had a reputation for dressing in women’s clothes in public and expressing a desire to change to a woman, this, despite being married to Gerda Gottlieb who had openly expressed lesbian tendencies.

In 1930 Lili moved to Germany to undergo 4 pioneering operations, but it was following the 4th and final operation, creating a new vagina, that Lili sadly died.

Just prior to her final operation, Lili was already a sensation in the danish and german press, had formally changed her name and had even been issued a passport under her new identity.

Eddie Redmayne, speaking of his involvement with the transgender community said ‘…the most brilliant education. Their kindness and support galvanised me’. He also said that ‘people were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open. Virtually all the trans men and women I met would say ‘’ask me anything’’.

Of Lili he said ‘the fulcrum of it was this person brave enough to live a life authentic’.

Eddie was also very complimentary of Caitlin Jenner, the former Olympic gold medallist and reality star whose very recent public ‘transition’ has been closely followed by the world press.

If you or someone you know would like help with Transgender issues please click here for confidential medical advice.


Dr Helen Webberley

Dr Helen Webberley is an NHS GP with a practice in South Wales, and an experienced online doctor providing healthcare advice and treatment via the Internet. She is a talkhealth expert in the Online Clinics. If anyone has any queries about their health then feel free to contact her.

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