The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

What Am I?
What Am I?

What Am I? 1980


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


What Am I? 1980

26 mins United Kingdom

Years before the Gender Recognition Act of 2004 enabled transgender people to obtain their full rights the practical difficulties faced by those wishing to change their sex were explored in this film produced for the ATV current affairs series Format V. Touching and sometimes frank, the film looks at issues around acceptance but there are also moments of humour, such as Steve's bad luck when bumping into his mother on his first night out as a man.

April Ashley, who features in the film while living in Hay on Wye in Herefordshire, was at the centre of a newspaper storm in the early sixties when she married Arthur Corbett, 3rd Baron Rowallan. Their marriage was annulled in 1970 on the grounds that Ashley was born male, despite Corbett knowing this when they were wed. Another significant figure to appear in the film is Judy Cousins who was running a self-help organisation called SHAFT in 1980. She was previously known as Lewen Tugwell, was a noted sculptor and served with the British Army in India.


Current affairs


LGBT Britain




United Kingdom

Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later