07/30/2012 03:49 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Thank You, April Ashley!

Young transgender individuals now find their paths easier than ever. Puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), informed therapists, physicians, and even accepting parents make the new world of being young and trans* easier than it was 50 years ago.

How do we begin to thank those brave souls who came before us and went through so much struggle so that we could live in comfort, acceptance, and (relative) freedom, such as those who underwent surgery that had yet to be honed, facing risks and complications we can only imagine in our modern medical world? April Ashley is one such pioneer, and her story is one that is beyond unsung. This woman is not only kind, blazingly intelligent, and caring but a forerunner for transgender rights, sex-reassignment surgery (SRS), and male-to-female (MTF) transition. She was the first Briton to undergo SRS and faced terrible complications that nearly led to her death.

April never shied from who she was, embracing her femininity and transitioning in a world that was vastly different from our own fast-paced, technological jumble. She became fast friends with Sara Churchill (daughter of the one and only Winston Churchill) acted in feature films, and much more. Her life can be explored in her new book, which goes into further detail than her last. April is also traveling to the U.S. this summer to begin filming a documentary. For those who live in the UK, an exhibit will be opening at the Museum of Liverpool next year showcasing April's life and contributions to the LGBTQ* community.

April is as kind as they come and a pleasure to speak with. She has worked tirelessly for over 52 years championing for LGBTQ* rights, and I, as well as many others, wish to thank her for her time, effort, and contributions to the community. The path April has traveled has not been easy, and it is her sacrifices and dedication that enable all of us in the spectrum to walk a safer trail today. Thank you, April.