Trans personality Karen Gayle in this year’s Alternative Christmas Message

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Channel 4’s annual Alternative Christmas Message will this year feature Karen Gayle, one of the stars of its popular documentary, My Transsexual Summer.

The broadcaster will air two Alternative Christmas Messages, given by contributors to what it called “some of 2011’s most powerful and celebratory factual programming”.

52-year-old ex-police officer Karen Gayle featured on the documentary series earlier this year as she went through the final stages of gender realignment, dating, and “coming to terms both her future and her past”.

This year will be the first after Ms Gayle’s gender reassignment surgery. She said: “Spare a thought for those trying to find their own feet this Christmas.”

The ‘Just Be Yourself’ alternative message also features Max Laird from the programme Seven Dwarves, Katie Piper, whose face was disfigured by an acid attack, and Susan from the programme Beauty and the Beast who lost much of the left side of her own face after cancer treatment as a child.

Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, Stuart Cosgrove, said: “Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message is a Yuletide institution giving voice to different opinions and social attitudes.

“This year the [Just Be Yourself] message is collectively authored by people who have all starred in shows which foreground diversity. The message is a plea for tolerance and praises difference in a society that often demands conformity.”

In 2008, Channel 4 made what was described as a “bizarre and misjudged” decision to invite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give the Christmas address.

At the time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said “The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad.”

The first Alternative Christmas Message was given by gay icon Quentin Crisp in 1993.

The Just Be Yourself Alternative Christmas Message will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 1.55pm on Christmas Day.