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Georgina Somerset

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Georgina Somerset
Name at BirthGeorge Edwin Turtle
Born23 March 1923
BirthplacePurley, London, England, UK
Died30 November 2013 (aged 90)
Alma materKing's College Hospital
Royal Navy officer
SpouseChristopher Somerset (1962-2013; her death)


Georgina Carol Somerset (23 March 1923 – 30 November 2013) was a British dentist and former Royal Navy officer. She was the first openly intersex person in the United Kingdom.[1]

Early life Edit

Somerset was born on 23 March 1923 in Purley, London and christened George Edwin Turtle. Her birth was registered outside of the usual time limit because of confusion as to her sex. Ultimately, the obstetricians decided to assign her male. She was educated at Purley High School for Boys, a grammar school in Croydon and Reigate Grammar School, an all-boys free school. She went on to study dentistry at King's College Hospital, London, and qualified in 1944.[1]

Career Edit

As a newly qualified dentist, Somerset was called up to the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as World War II was coming to an end. She was promoted to temporary surgeon-lieutenant on 27 March 1946 with seniority from 21 September 1945.[2] She left the military in 1948.[1]

Upon returning to civilian life, she established a dental practice in Croydon, London.[1] In early 1960, she sold this practice and moved to Hove, East Sussex, where she ran another dental practice until retiring in 1985. Somerset wrote two books: Over The Sex Border published in 1963 and her memoir A Girl Called Georgina published in 1992.[1]

Personal life Edit

Somerset's father was a Freemason and initiated both his sons into the Craft in 1945. She rose to become Worshipful Master of her Masonic Lodge but resigned from the craft in 1953.[1] Having felt female from a young age, Somerset underwent gender confirming surgery in January 1957. She had previously been rejected by the eminent plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gillies, as she had turned up to her appointment in male morning dress.[1] In 1960, after sworn testimony from her doctors, she was given a new birth certificate with her chosen name of Georgina Carol Turtle and her sex as female.[1]

In June 1962, her engagement to Christopher Somerset, distantly related to the Duke of Beaufort, was announced in the Court and Social page of The Daily Telegraph. They married in St Margaret's, Westminster, London, in October 1962. This made her the first known woman to marry in a church after officially changing sex.[1]

Death Edit

Georgina Somerset died on 30 November 2013, aged 90.[1]

References Edit

Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Georgina Somerset. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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