This jazz icon was outed as trans after his death – and became a hero to an entire community
A stirring new film, No Ordinary Man, examines the life and legacy of Billy Tipton, the jazz musician outed as trans after his death in the late ’80s.
In some regards, Billy Tipton was just an ordinary guy.
A musician, he recorded two albums of jazz standards as part of the Billy Tipton Trio in the 1950s before retiring in the late 1970s due to arthritis. He died in 1989, aged 79, after living a long and fruitful life.
It wasn’t until Billy Tipton died that he became a tabloid spectacle when it emerged that he was trans – a fact his wife and three adopted children never knew about him.
A media circus followed. Billy was mocked and misgendered while his family underwent the cruelty of the American talkshow