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29 March 2013

Virginia Prince: Jargon terms and general comments

Virginia Prince
Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

Transgender lexicons:
Virginia Prince 
Raphael Carter

Jargon terms associated with Virginia Prince:

  • Transvestite, transvestism – the various forms of transvest* and the French form travest* have been around as noun, verb and adjective for almost 500 years. The Paris police have been issuing Permissions de Travestissement since 1800. Magnus Hirschfeld associated the word with eroticism, and psychoanalysts attempted to redefine it as a fetish. Prince cited Hirschfeld's usage as a justification for restricting the word to heterosexual transvestites.
  • Femmiphilic, femmepersonator -- these were terms for heterosexual transvestites of the type encouraged to join Tri-ess. Prince coined the terms in 1961 as she knew that her attempted restriction of the word transvestite was not successful, but other members largely kept using transvestite until after 1970 when Prince became more insistent that they not be used. Femmiphilia fell out of use towards the end of the 1980s and was replaced by cross-dressing.
  • ‘TV-TS’ Ekins claims that Prince pioneered this, but gives no citations. TV and TS are the obvious abbreviations for transvestite and transsexual and were almost certainly coined by many unconnected people independently.
  • Trangenderal -- a term used by Prince in 1969, but once only.
  • Male Woman - a person whose sex is one side of the binary divide and whose gender is the other side and whose sexuality vis-à-vis sex is heterosexual.
  • Dual personality expression
  • gender is between the ears, not the legs - a phrase that has become popular in recent years, and is not usually attributed to Prince.
  • Transgenderist -- a variation on transgender which had been picked up by Ariadne Kane around 1978, and copied by Prince in a few articles 1978-9. They used it to mean a Prince-style transvestite who goes full time. Such is a type of what Benjamin called a Non-Surgical Transsexual, but Prince would never admit this. As she had done with 'transvestite' Prince took an existing word and attempted to restrict it to mean only her own type. Richard Docter, 1988, and IFGE promoted the idea that Prince coined ‘transgenderist’, and in 1996, Feinberg popularized the idea in hir Transgender Warriors. From that time Prince started claiming that she had coined the term, but sometimes mocked the idea, depending on the audience. Vivian Namaste uses 'transgenderist' in her Invisible Lives with no connotation of the Princian usage.
  • The Girl Within -- a term coined by Susanna Valenti in the early 1960s. It was taken over with credit by Prince to express what is found in every male, but repressed in most. Neither Valenti nor Prince compare the term to Ulrichsanima muliebris.
  • Transposeur -- a term proposed by Prince in 1997 to replace transgenderist which was being confused with transgender. She never did follow up on this proposal.
  • Whole Girl Fetishist – proposed by Sheila Nile in 1968 for members who did not pass well enough, particularly if it were for lack of trying. Over the next few years it came to be that those who failed or didn’t bother to fashion themselves as truly feminine were fetishistic. Susanna even estimated that the majority of members were WGFs.
When to use female pronouns? Wikipedia and Ekins follow the confusing convention that the pronouns of a person's final gender should be retrojected to childhood and even birth. The not-TG people and Patricia Califia - who claim to follow that same convention - somehow deny Prince all female pronouns, some just to Prince and others to all non-op trans women. This is despite the obvious fact that Prince had a female gender identity before puberty. However she did not become a full-time woman until 1968. Like the rest of us, Prince had more than one persona. Much clarity is gained when Arnold, Muriel and Virginia are used to signify which aspect is doing what. Virginia did not do a pharmacology PhD, write Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop and marry two wives; Arnold did.

The US state of Virginia has three counties with Prince in the name: Prince Edward, Prince George and Prince William. This does make it difficult to google "Virginia Prince".

In the decades before Stonewall there were silly laws and there were draconian laws. People, gay, trans, lesbian were irritated by those laws, were harassed by them, they were sometimes arrested, less often jailed, and more often lost their jobs. Virginia Prince hobnobbed with the gay and lesbian organizations, with the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis. But she told the members of FPE and she told the police officers that FPE was not not gay, it was not fetishistic, it was not gender variant, and its members did not seek surgical transformation. We are different from people like that. Yes some members of the Mattachine Society were into a similar sense of false respectability, and emphasized that they were not transvestites. But in both cases saying we are different, there is always an unspoken 'jail them, but please not us'.

Was Prince a transvestite activist? Obviously not. I showed this by listing individuals who could be regarded as transvestites who were not supported. Felicity Chandelle stands out as an exception. Comptons Cafeteria, the Black Cat police riot, Sir Lady Java – Prince was not interested. Even Mauricio Archibald, where the charge was identical to that against Felicity, and where an appeal had been secured, Prince was not interested. When she spoke to police officers she always emphasized that her members were different from street transvestites.

Was Prince a transgender activist? Even less so. Non-femmiphilic transvestites were banned from FPE. Also banned were drag queens, all gender queers, all transsexuals, and most non-ops. Prince had transsexual friends. There is no record that she had any transgender friends. Nor did she she seek to co-ordinate or ally of her own accord with any transgender groups. IFGE did ally with various types of transgender groups, as did Leslie Feinberg. Feinberg and IFGE used Prince's name in proclaiming transgender umbrellas but Prince continued to write mean-spirited articles complaining about the umbrellas. In short she was transgenderphobic.

The other partner in Cardinal Industries of California is a well-kept secret. I presume that it was a private company, not quoted on the stock exchange. Attempts to google it mainly bring up Cardinal Industries of New York, a toy-making company.

Likewise the list of the original 12 members of the Hose and Heel Club is still a secret 50 odd years later. Are the names not in the papers left to either Rikki Swin or to Northridge University? Docter tells us that one member was a dress maker and that the second meeting was at his house. Darrell Raynor tells us that Robert Stevens/Barbara Ellen and Evelyn fell out with Prince late 1962 or early 1963. Presumably they were in the original group, but we know nothing about them other than what is in Raynor's book.

It occurs to me that the surviving members of the Alpha Chapter might tell a rather different account, but with the exception of JJ Allen they have not done so. I was able to find so much more about the New York chapter. I can work only from published accounts.

The most remarkable thing about Virginia Prince is that she had dealings with five sexologists: Bowman, Benjamin, Stoller, Bullough and Docter. While each of them disassociated from her published opinions, she did affect, even deform, the writing of Benjamin, Bullough and Docter.

Prince's quest was a quixotic one. She took the example of the femmiphilic and presented it as the ideal type of transvestite person, and that the membership of FPE was the universe of cross dressers. To do this she had to construct three dams of exclusion that were forever disintegrating.

a) Fetishism. Hirschfeld subtitled his 1910 book: The Transvestites: The Erotic Drive to Cross-Dress, and Psychoanalysts spent most of the last century developing the idea that transvestism is fetishistic. Quite reasonably Prince reacted against this. In addition, in the early days of Transvestia Prince had to be careful or else the magazine would have been banned by the US Post Office. This meant not only excluding discussions of eroticism, but also forced-femininity and petticoat-punishment fantasies. Nan Gilbert, a publisher of petticoat-punishment fantasies had had his mail stopped and was fined $500 in 1960. So it is certainly intriguing that Issues 1, 2 and 4 of Transvestia featured William Bessie Beck, the legendary recipient of petticoat-punishment whose amazing tale has now been published by Peter Farrer. What should we make of the fiction titles: From Martin to Marion, The Turnabout Party and The Birth of Barbara? They were published by Chevalier Publications, and advertised at the back of How to be a Woman Though Male. Amazon lists the author as "Anonymous (Virginia Prince?)". In fact the first draft of most of these fictions were published in Transvestia. Then there is Sandy Thomas, apparently a long-time friend of Prince. Thomas is the author of lots and lots of transvestite fiction. In the mid-1990s Prince sold the copyright of her major books and of Transvestia to Thomas who has reprinted them on his own imprint and listed them under his own name. Both the original Prince books and the Thomas-authored books are now available together on

b) Transsexuality. Prince had an initial enthusiasm for transgender surgery, as we saw above. There are rumors that she even applied to be accepted in the Stanford University program (although she had been in Los Angeles earlier at the right time for Elmer Belt's program at UCLA Medical School). However Prince completely denied that rumor. She decided against surgery, as did Yvonne Sinclair, Nicole Murray Ramirez and Leslie Feinberg, but of these only Prince then came down heavy on others who were considering surgery (other changebacks who are more like Prince in wanting to ban gender surgery include Charles Kane, Gerry Leach and Alan Finch). One of the first to receive this negative message was the teenage Diane Kearny who naively wrote to Prince and was told that she was ‘delusional’ in wanting such. Words such as 'mean-spirited' and 'bullying' have been used to describe Prince's antagonism to other people's possible surgery. A typical example was Mary who was Prince's assistant in 1967 and who had originally thought that she would seek surgery. On the other hand, in the period just before Doreen's departure, Prince was friends with Sherry, a post-operative. They would go to dances as two women, and Doreen was stressed that Prince would follow in Sherry's footsteps. In 1979 Prince wrote: "Although I personally try to dissuade people from having the surgery, except in special cases, it is interesting that three of my best girl friends are former men who have had the surgery". Docter (p58) says: "Over the years, Virginia has been very outspoken and dogmatic in her opposition in presenting her opposition to surgical sex reassignment, often going well beyond the simple expression of a personal preference and more into the mode of conducting an ideological campaign. Let's just say she has not shown much acceptance of contrasting opinions on this topic, and it has cost her some friends. But as strong as her views on this may be, she has sustained many close friendships with transgender women who elected to proceed with surgery." Despite her statements, there was a steady loss of FPE-Tri-Ess members to surgery.

c) Homosexuality. In The Transvestite and His Wife, Prince wrote "The femmiphile adopts feminine garb as a matter of personal internal expression – the homosexual 'Queen' does so for external effect – to attract males for sexual purposes and to ease the guilt of both." However in conversation Prince, while denying finding men attractive, did admit to enjoying being attractive to and flirting with men. She had a cross-dresser friend who was willing to play the male role and took her for lunch and drinks. Afterward they did mutual masturbation. She found kissing, hugging and affection from a man to be sexually rewarding. Hence we could take the attitude that by her own definition we can take her as a homosexual queen. The fashion in typology has changed since the sixties. Then the emphasis was on behavior; now it is on sex or gender identity. Prince did emphatically reject a gay identity, but if a police officer had encountered Prince and her date they could have been convicted. She insisted that "never once was there any kind of anal or oral sex". There is of course a significant minority of gay men have the same preference, but with a different sexual identity. Suzan Cooke says that she spoke to a male hustler who counted Prince among his customers. That is certainly possible but we need further confirmation.

Like the later HBS movement, Prince would use 'gender' where the context would imply that she meant 'gender identity'. And of course there is something a bit askew about Prince's gender identity. Even as late as the 2000s she insisted that she was heterosexual. It seems that she never accepted the argument that as a heterosexual woman she should be interested in men. Likewise she kept repeating that she was a pioneer of men's lib. If she were a women with a woman's gender identity then of course she would not be a pioneer of men's lib.

If Muriel were born not in 1912, but in say 1992, where would she be today? Would she have been a transkid on puberty blockers, and completing surgical transition in a gap year before going up to university? Or would she join those who say that it is a violation of the UN statutes against torture to compel trans persons to be sterilized? In none of the source documents is there an explanation of why Prince turned away from wanting surgery.

As TS Eliot famously said: a bad poet borrows, a good poet steals. Actually he did not. What he actually wrote: "One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion." On this basis Prince is a bad poet. 1978, when Kane introduced Prince to the word 'transgender', was early enough that if Prince had had the gumption and the resourcefulness she could have taken the word and made it hers. To do so would have involved using it more than only three or four times. It would have meant using it regularly and with a force that would have withered the competing usages. Prince was not a major intellect: she was making the same specious claims in 2005 as in 1965; and had not the slightest idea how to weld her theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn. Rather she defaced a rich multivalent word, 'transgender', and attempted and failed in her attempt to reduce and narrow it into something quite inauthentic. She threw it into something which has no cohesion.

One can see why Yvonne Cook-Riley and Kimberleigh Richards wanted to credit Prince with something that she never did, and never could have. It is an irony of note that Diane Kearny, Suzan Cooke, Jenifer Usher and Cathryn Platine all want to support Cook-Riley and Richards in this endeavor.

25 March 2013

Virginia Prince: Part V - Transgenderist dowager

Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

In 1985 Virginia and Christine Jorgensen appeared in Lee Grant's documentary, What Sex Am I?    Dorothy Marie Shepherd, Arnold's first wife, died the same year.

This was also the year that the Clarke Institute in Toronto published Gender Dysphoria which laid out the dichotomy between heterosexual autogynephilics and 'homosexual transsexuals'. While this corresponded to Prince's insistence that homosexuals and femmiphics were, to use her term, "separate breeds of cat" there is no record that I have found of either Kurt Freund and Ray Blanchard of the Clarke on one side or Virginia Prince on the other discussing how femmiphilia and autogynephilia are different or similar, although later writers see them as two aspects of the same thing.

Frederick Whitam published his Male Homosexuality in Four Societies in 1986. He argues that homosexuality and transvestic homosexuality are as natural as heterosexuality and occur in all societies, and homosexuals in general tend to patterns of early cross-gender behavior. He sees heterosexual transvestites as a different category and protests their appropriation of the word 'transvestite'. "Some heterosexual transvestites, not wanting to be identified as being homosexual, have insisted that they are the 'true transvestites' and take a demeaning attitude towards drag queens and female impersonators". (p80) We now had three solitudes that should have been talking to each other, but did not.

IFGE (International Foundation for Gender Education) was founded by Merrisa Sherrill Lynn in 1987, initially as an outgrowth from Boston's Tiffany Club. Although proclaimed as a group for both transsexuals and transvestites, they built in a heterosexual transvestite bias by creating a Virginia Prince Award, and, apparently with no sense of irony, actually awarded the first one to Virginia Prince. The next two went to Merrisa Sherrill Lynn and Ariadne Kane.

Richard F. Docter published his Transvestites and Transsexuals: Toward a Theory of Cross-Gender Behavior in 1988. He gathered data from 110 male transvestites. He found that even after excluding those who were exclusively gay, 28% of the rest had some sexual experience with men. He purports a 5-part typology for heterosexual transvestites: fetishism, fetishistic transvestism, marginal transvestism, transgenderism and secondary transsexualism. He conceives these as stages which an individual can progress through. He has a 4-part typology for homosexual transvestites: primary transsexualism, secondary transsexualism, "so-called drag queens" and female impersonators. This is not a progression in the same sense. He treats Prince as one source among many and does not indicate that he knows her personally. Certainly he does not stick to her usage of the term 'transgender', although he credits Prince with coining it in her Understanding Cross Dressing, 1977 (but without giving a page reference and Google Books Search is unable to find it). He notes that his ‘transgenderism’ category corresponds to Benjamin's Type IV, Nonsurgical Transsexual. According to the diagram on p25, it is an heterosexual variation as in Prince, but Docter discusses only one example, a then 22-year-old Everett/Angela who is androphilic, sexually active and will probably shortly have transsexual surgery. (p21-5)

Robert Stoller died in a traffic accident in 1991. His wife returned the tapes and transcription of their 29 years of sessions to Virginia, who later passed them on to Docter for his biography.

By 1992, Yvonne Cook-Riley (who was awarded the Virginia Prince Award in 1995) was lobbying for the use of ‘transgender’ within IFGE, and would later, with willful ignorance, claim that she and Prince had created the ‘transgender community’.

In 1993 Vern and Bonnie Bullough returned to Los Angeles after his retirement. Vern again taught at Northridge as an adjunct professor until 2003. Their new book, Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender, while totally ignoring Reed Erickson and April Ashley, reducing Lou Sullivan to an erotic cross dresser, and refusing to give Jacqueline Dufresnoy's female name, builds up the importance of Prince. They claim that Prince was the only transvestite organizer of note from 1952 to the 1980s. They do see through Prince's claims: "Prince's quest for respectability led her to exclude cross dressers who were homosexuals, sadomaschists, women, prostitutes, or even partial cross dressers. Because the psychiatrists accepted Prince's definition of transvestism and incorporated it into the DSM-III-R, behavioral scientists, including the authors, blindly followed the accepted definition by studying club members as if they were the universe of cross dressers." (p302) They follow with a summary of Frederick Whitam's work in the third world, but do not name any European or North American gay transvestites. The organizing work by Sylvia Rivera in New York or of Rachel Pollack or later Yvonne Sinclair in London is certainly not mentioned, and, as I have mentioned before, there is a recurring pattern in Bullough's work of not mentioning either transvestites or transsexuals who have a male lover or spouse. The Bulloughs, despite knowing Prince personally, do not claim the she coined 'transgender', or even associate her with the word at all. They do use the word when referring to Ariadne Kane. The Bulloughs note "Originally, we planned to publish Virginia/Charles's original name, but she regards this part of her past a closed book she would rather not reopen." (308n5)

The internet forum, alt.transgendered, was launched 1992, did not even mention Prince until 1995 when Kimberleigh Richards, editor of Cross-Talk, entered to promote Prince as a pioneer of ‘transgendered’, but with almost no success.

Prince sold most of the remaining copies of Transvestia and the copyright on her major books to Sandy Thomas, an old colleague. There are now available along with Thomas' transvestite fantasy titles from

By 1996, the claims by Cook-Riley and Richards that Prince had coined ‘transgender’ were becoming widely known, and were repeated without citation in Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors: “But the word transgender is increasingly being used in a more specific way as well. The term transgenderist was first introduced into the English language by trans warrior Virginia Prince. Virginia told me, ‘I coined the noun transgenderist in 1987 or ’88. There had to be some name for people like myself who trans the gender barrier’ (p x) “. This is her only appearance in the book: Feinberg does not care to demonstrate Prince as a ‘trans warrior’. This seems to be the major source from which people claim that Prince coined the word. However there is no record of Prince using the word in 1987/8. This led to mainstream, albeit uncritical, acceptance of the claim.1

The same year, Prince published “Gender Fundamentalists” in Richards’ Cross-Talk, where she rejected the inclusions that IFGE and Feinberg had been putting out in her name and reasserted her separatism and her transgenderphobia. "It is strange but true that the ones who are most vocal, most in print and most publicly active are the transsexuals. Their main point of attack is Tri-Ess because of the policy (which in their anointed wisdom they like to term "exclusionary") of selecting heterosexuals only, which conflicts with what they proclaim to be the only right way for a group to be ... open to all comers." Prince is complaining that transsexuals are trying to include her and her group in an umbrella.

Bonnie Bullough died, just before the publication of Gender Blending edited by herself, Vern and James Elias. The tome is inclusivist except for the contributions by Prince and Kimberleigh Richards. In "Seventy Years in the Trenches of the Gender Wars" Prince actually claims: "As a matter of fact, I coined the words 'transgenderism' and 'transgenderist' as nouns describing people like myself who have breasts and live full time as woman, but who have no intention of having genital surgery". However she does not say where, and she objects to the inclusivist usage of ‘transgender’. She plays with the idea of adopting  ‘transposeur’, although she never returned to this term. She is also emphatic that she is a "congenital heterosexual" (perhaps having forgotten her claim to be a woman). She re-asserts her objection to the notion of "fetishistic cross-dressing", and asserts again that she is a pioneer of men's liberation.

On the other hand in 1999, in a meeting with Vanessa Foster: "She was bemused by my use (and the community's) of the word transgender, and how the story affixed its authorship to her, even though she'd referred to it as transgenderist as a self-descriptor once she'd moved from occasional crossdressing to living as female, though not transsexual (she was quick to correct that!)".

In 2000 Prince sold four sets of Transvestia, photographs and personal papers to Rikki Swin. They were initially in the Rikki Swin Institute in Chicago, and are now at the University of Victoria. Other files and papers were donated to the Special Collections Department at California State University, Northridge.

In 2003, Michael Bailey's The Man Who Would Be Queen, revived the Freund-Blanchard notion of autogynephilia to much alarm and controversy, but still there was no dialectic with the notion of femmiphilia
Virginia with Richard Docter
In 2004, Richard F. Docter, who had become a friend of Prince and the Bulloughs, at the urging of Vern, wrote and self-published his biography of her. Bullough provided a Preface. Unlike her reluctance in Bullough's book a decade earlier, Prince was now willing that her original name of Arnold Lowman, not mentioned outside her inner circle since the court appearance in 1961, should be used. While Docter had developed a 5-part typology in his Transvestites and Transsexuals, 1988, he does not locate Prince within it, although in chapter 13 he does discuss Step a: from being a fetishistic cross dresser to being a transgender women and then Step b: from being a woman in public to having the gender identity of a woman.

From 2005 the so-called Harry Benjamin Syndrome movement was developed. The European branch had little to say about Virginia Prince: Charlotte Goiar's bête noire is rather Carla Antonelli. The US HBS people following Diane Kearny set up Prince as that which they are not. It is therefore ironic that in several respects they follow Prince more than they do Benjamin:
  • they deny that there is a continuum from transvestite to transsexual
  • they disassociate from trans women who pass less well, and whom they regard as fetishistic
  • they disassociate from gays and lesbians
  • they disassociate from the transgender umbrella
  • They are also more like Prince than Robert Stoller in talking only of Gender but not Gender Identity.
Vern Bullough died in 2006. In his final book, Crossing Sexual Boundaries, co-edited with Aridane Kane, Bullough still does not use Prince's original name. His take on the term 'transgender' has now altered to: "In fact, Virginia was a main source of the popularization of gender as applied to cross-dressing. She and Ariadne popularized the term transgender, which has been a more encompassing term than cross-dresser."

Prince lived till 2009 and the age of 96, lastly in a retirement home in Los Angeles, and according to her friend, Richard Docter, she developed a taste for she-male pornography. She also dabbled in astrophysics and led a discussion group on being and consciousness in her retirement complex. She willed her body to the UCLA medical school. (Hill:39)
    1. This is comparable to the way that Agnes Gonxha (generally known as Mother Teresa) was uncritically treated as a saint after being endorsed by Malcolm Muggeridge.

21 March 2013

Virginia Prince: Part IV – Full-time Living

Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

In 1969, Prince used the term ‘transgenderal’ in an article for Transvestia. This was a one-off usage that she never repeated. She commented on the Stonewall Riots as being the inevitable consequence of a group being oppressed by society.(Hill: 401). The leader of the Gamma Chapter in Boston discontinued on obtaining surgery: Ariadne Kane stepped forward and with others restructured and relocated the group under a new name, the Cherrystone Club. In London Jean Fredericks and Ron Storme started organizing drag balls, mainly at the Porchester Hall.

In the same year Prince visited the UK for the first International Conference on Gender Identity in London, organized by the Albany Trust and the Erickson Foundation, and to visit the Beaumont Society. She visited members in Scotland and Leicester, and there was a formal dinner in London with 9 members and three wives, and she returned again in 1971. By then Charlotte Bach was living full-time a female, and writing a theory of transvestity that was completely different from anything that Prince ever wrote. It is a shame that they did not meet. Nor apparently did Prince attend any of the Porchester Balls.

H. Taylor Buckner, of Sir George Williams University, Montréal, presented a paper at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in San Francisco that drew on the data about 272 transvestites that Prince had presented in 1963. However he also drew on the biography of the fetishist and bondage transvestite Leonard Wheeler, and concluded that transvestism is a socially induced pathology.

In 1970 Prince visited Sydney, NSW, to kickstart what evolved into the Seahorse Society. Rosemary Langton, who had recently immigrated from the UK, had been a member of the Beaumont Society. She contacted some others by mail and then they advertised in the Daily Telegraph and then the rather bawdy King's Cross Whisper.

Susanna Valenti’s last regular column for Transvestia was in 1970. She announced she also was going to start living full time as female.
1970.  Hill p406

In May Prince was in the meeting at the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco when it was zapped by gay and feminist protesters: "Between them they created so much noise, confusion and disturbance that the chairman had to dismiss the session. It was a frightening premonition of things that may lie ahead for this nation when even a professional group like that of the psychiatrists can have their meeting disrupted by the radical wing of various minority groups". (Transvestia #62, 1970; Hill 401n47)

Prince took out a membership in the National Organization for Women (NOW), and encouraged her readers to support its work, but clarified that she did not mean the radical women's lib which got the media attention. After two years of living as a woman, second-class citizenship "was now my problem as it is the problem of all women, even when they don’t realize it. My interest in the movement has since become more personal and less intellectual.”(Transvestia #63, 1970; Hill 394-5).

Despite Prince’s proscription, ‘transvestite’ and ‘TV’ continued to be used elsewhere, and also kept creeping back into Transvestia. In Transvestia 62, 1970, she urged that the usage stop:
“It was bad enough when misguided and ignorant reporters used it in the press when referring to drag queens. But when the queens themselves appropriate it and use it in reference to themselves because they are, after all, crossdressers and because we have managed to give the word some respectability and dignity, then I for one have had it. I have spent 10 years trying to educate both my readers and the public to the fact that heterosexual crossdressers are a separate breed of cat. It is the only way to establish our identity, to gain a modicum of understanding and to escape the opprobrium (albeit unfairly) that society lavishes on the homosexual.”
Hill who has examined the original Transvestia proof files found that many of them feature pen marks where 'TV' or 'transvestite' is replaced by femmepersonator etc (p148). This presumably is Prince acting as editor.

Around 1970 three transvestite novels were published by Chevalier Publications: From Martin to Marion, The Turnabout Party and The Birth of Barbara. They are attributed to Prince, and they and others are advertised at the back of How to be a Woman Though Male.

Prince's How to be a Woman Though Male, 1971, was an advice book very different from Pudgy Robert's Female Impersonator's Handbook., 1967 or Michael Salem's How to Impersonate a Woman: A Handbook on Makeup & Dress for the Male Transvestite , 1973. Prince's book is notable for its old-fashioned ideas of femininity, as if the counter-cultural and feminist changes of the time had never happened. It contains extensive and detailed advice on how to walk, sit, stand, run, eat, drink, and so on, "like a woman". One piece of general advice is "try to be more gentle, less direct, less forceful, and more delicate and graceful in your movements". "If you are nervous about how adequate you look upon entering the inner room you can buy considerable authenticity by going over to the Kotex or Fems dispenser which is usually on the wall at one end and spend a dime for a pad and take it with you into the booth" (p141) and "It is often overlooked or unknown to males that the female urinary stream not being focused as it were into a narrow stream by passing through a pipe (penis) before leaving the body tends to spray out and to hit the water in the bowl in a much bigger stream than a male urinary stream. For this reason it makes considerably more sound. A male sitting on the seat will have a thin stream falling only a few inches and will not therefore make a usual sound. While most of the time this might be of no importance, if you feel any qualms about your authenticity you might be well advised to make much the same sound as the other females. This can be accomplished by standing up, facing the door, and straddling the bowl with feet not too far back (this would seem strange to anyone in the neighboring booth). Aim the stream right into the pool of water and let go. The greater length of fall will allow the stream to spread out and make more noise." (p142) She also gives advice on how to avoid the then common 10¢ charge to use toilets. "It is the best in womanhood that the FP seeks to emulate, not the common. Be the LADY in the crowd if you are going to be a woman at all, not the scrubwoman or a clerk. It is the beauty, delicacy, grace, loveliness, charm and freedom of expression of the feminine world that you are seeking to experience and enjoy, so ‘live it up’ – be as pretty, charming and graceful as you can. " (p137)

In the same year, FPE member Carol Beecroft split off and founded Mamselle Sorority with a more open membership policy. In London Rachel Pollack and Roz Kaveney were organizing a transvestite presence at the Gay Liberation Front Meetings.

A wife of a new member discovered what her husband was up to, and wrote the following to another member whom her husband has been corresponding with. The second member passed it onto Prince who published it:
"You are sick and are in very bad need of professional help. As you don’t know, I am a nurse and we put people like you in an insane asylum or on the psycho ward in the hospital. I know my husband must have answered that ad by the reference to your letter but no letter from you or your B+ wife could convince me what you’re doing is normal. You’d better seek help from a Professional Doctor or find an old fashioned altar and pray to God for his saving power to save you from a Devil’s Hell. That would be the best fulfillment you or your ‘sisters’ could ever get. I hope and pray if you ever ‘dress’ again there will be a Policeman close by to nab you and ‘undress’ you in front of so many people it will make you feel as low as an animal…. No, your wife had better not write to me for what you do is your business and I am an F or Z wife and I won’t ever believe anything could convince me to believe what you’re doing is right. If my husband desires this kind of life he has my blessing with a divorce. I wouldn’t want to expose our daughter to anything so disgusting." (Transvestia #70, 1971. Hill: 257)
In 1971 Charles Lowman was named Doctor of the Century by the Los Angeles County Medical Association. In August that year the Alpha Chapter hosted Lady Java, who had been in the press for trans activism in 1967 – and were thus more accepting than Virginia. At the same time the Gamma Chapter in Boston was doing outreach to the local gay community. Dot from Gamma spoke to a meeting of the Homophile Union of Boston with much success, and then to the local chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis.

Prince’s paper with P.M. Bentler, “A Survey of 504 Cases of Transvestism” in Psychological Reports, 1972, followed on from Louise Lawrence’s work in the 1940s and 1950s bringing non-patient transvestites to the attention of doctors. Prince and Bentler surveyed 504 crossdressers, mainly readers of Transvestia. 66% had never seen a psychiatrist.

A count was made that year by Fran Conners of all FPE members, past and present. The total came to 1,800. This would be comparable to the size of the pre-Stonewall homophile groups. Each of the Chapters had the right to suspend members who were security risks "in the opinion of the majority of chapter members". Hill, however, comments that: "The organizational literature, however, indicates that local chapters were plagued more by drop-outs—the revolving door syndrome—rather than suspended members. Many crossdressers, much like their homophile counterparts in Mattachine and Daughters of Bilitis, used the magazine Transvestia and the organization as a source of information and entrée into the larger subculture. They bolted once they got what they needed or developed peace of mind." (Hill: 284)

In Transvestia #74 Prince wrote "…we are the vanguard of Men’s Liberation in that we have met and made friends with that woman formerly locked away in the dungeons of our psyche". However the pro-feminist Men's Liberation movement of the early 1970s did not acknowledge any contribution by Prince.1

1972 was also the year that Fran Conners, who was recognized as having built up the organization over the last seven years, resigned as executive secretary of FPE and as the editor of Femme Forum. Fran's replacement was Donna from Los Angeles. However, Donna suffered from ill health and Femme Forum did not survive beyond the end of the year. Prince had that year reiterated the basic philosophy of the group: "FPE was organized to serve one kind of person only….heterosexual, single and family people with jobs, reputations and responsibilities…and to do it in a context of concern for that person’s personal, marital and reputational well-being" (Femme Forum #33, January 1972). Other groups, that were less exclusionary were referred to as 'open groups'. The next year Prince announced that FPE was no longer a non-profit organization, but was now to be an adjunct of Chevalier Publications. All membership dues were now to go to her and were now raised to $12. Hill (296) speculated that there was a mass exodus of members to the other open groups at this time. For the next few years the national organization was minimal. Prince started issuing a directory listing the femme-name, code, city and state, marital status, religion, wife’s attitude, degree of dressing, and hobbies of each active member. But not mailing addresses. Contact could be initiated with others only through Transvestia's contact forwarding service at $1 a time.

Charles Lowman married his second wife, Mary, in 1972. This wife was not sympathetic towards her stepson. Prince, in male drag, made a rare appearance at their home but was not invited inside. (Docter:17)

By now Angela Douglas had founded Transsexual Action Organization (TAO) and was actively campaigning in Los Angeles. I could find no record of Prince and Douglas even acknowledging each other. In New York Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson were organizing transvestites with STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries); the scene that was to become the voguing balls of the 1980s was evolving.

By 1973 Prince was urging her readers to read Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch, and to subscribe to MS magazine.
“Learn exactly how women are tied down and suppressed by the male organized culture. When you have learned something of that you will be better able to understand what’s inside your wife’s head.” She took the side of an unhappy wife who wrote to complain that although she accepted her husband's cross-dressing, he did nor reciprocate by trying to understand her. ...
"What is ridiculous is that he [the husband] sees women as beautiful creatures that have lots of time to kill and just lay around reading or doing their nails, or going out shopping, etc. ... Is it any wonder then, that in a lot of cases after several years of trying to understand and to accept the idea that men have a need to express their femininity as women do their masculinity, that she gets a bit fed up with seeing what his concept of femininity is?"(Transvestia #78, 1973; Hill:397)
In her 1973 paper “Sex vs Gender” just after Fisk had proposed the re-medicalizing concept of ‘gender dysphoria syndrome’, Prince argued for a distinction from ‘sexual dysphoria syndrome’:
"I was pleased to have Dr. Fisk use the term ‘gender dysphoria syndrome,’ but if it is truly a matter of gender dysphoria, why do you not offer a gender solution instead of a sexual one? What you really have is a ‘sexual dysphoria syndrome.’ We have sexual identity clinics in which people are examined, selected, screened, and finally have surgery performed on them which changes their sexual identity … It seems a very sad thing to me that great many individuals have to go to the expense, pain, danger, and everything else when they could achieve a gender change without any of it."
In 1974 Vern and Bonnie Bullough organized a conference in Los Angeles under the auspices of the Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR, associated with ONE and sponsored by Reed Erickson) which brought together Prince, Christine Jorgensen, Zelda Suplee, Laud Humphries, Christopher Isherwood and Evelyn Hooker. Nicole Ramirez, the Empress of the Imperial Court of San Diego, rode in San Diego’s first Pride parade in an open vehicle amid jeers from hostile spectators.

1974 was also what Docter refers to as 'The Revolt of the Alpha Chapter'. Virginia had always been autocratic and made the chapter do things her way. She was also often looking for ways to get rich quickly. When the members found that she had given a list of their male names and addresses to a gold and silver broker they were furious. Many of them broke away and the next year formed the Crossdressers Heterosexual Intersocial Club (CHIC), which is still going. Virginia resigned during a angry confrontation over the broker. The Chapter reformed without Virginia. 2 (Doctor:85-7).

Charles Lowman received from President Nixon the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1974. In 1975, 1,200 people honored Dr Lowman at the Hollywood Palladium. A message of tribute was sent by President Ford. Dr Lowman had treated over 210,000 patients during his lifetime. There is no mention that Virginia was present or even invited.3

Ariadne Kane and other members of the Cherrystone Club organized the original Fantasia Fair in Provincetown, Massachusetts which was to become an annual event.

Virginia's son Brent, who had by then become a husband and father, was arrested for burglary March 1, 1976. He was held at the jail ward of the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center to be medically examined for heroin addiction.  He died there on October 30, 1976. He was 30 years old.

Prince published Understanding Cross Dressing in the same year, and, as Arnold, published the final revised and enlarged Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop.

Vern Bullough and other members of ONE, Inc finally published their An Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality: In Two Volumes, which contained the largest bibliography of transvestite and transsexual material available at that time. Apparently there was no input from FPE. The gay bibliography was later expanded by Wayne Dynes; the trans by Dallas Denny.

Carol Beecroft had returned to Prince’s views about membership, and Mamselle Sorority and the FPE were merged and renamed the Society for the Second Self, or 'Tri-Sigma'. Several of Carol’s concepts such as Femme Mirror magazine and Holiday En Femme became part of the Tri-Sigma program. Beecroft had the time and energy to run a national organization. From 1977 the annual dues were set at $20. The policy of barring homosexuals, transsexuals and fetishists was continued. Aspiring members now had to to purchase and read only three issues of Transvestia, or alternatively, Understanding Cross Dressing. Hill (299) suspects that this is when the interview requirement for new members was suspended, but was unable to find confirmation.

Despite urging her readers in earlier years to read Greer and Friedman, Prince could still write the following in 1977: “while a man’s world and a woman’s world can be toted up on a scoreboard and on any given item one or the other will have an advantage or a specific disadvantage, when the total score is taken into consideration, things are about equal.” As Hill comments, "missing from Prince’s avocation of free gender expression were analyses of economic and power differentials between men and women". (“I’m Glad I Wasn’t Born a Girl,” Transvestia #91 ,1977; Hill:398 ). In the same issue she commented on the Anita Bryant attempt in Dade County to roll back gay rights. "There is a wave of reaction under way in this country today and you ought to be aware of it….Thus if the anti-gay rights movement is successful, you can expect a lot less freedom for yourself, too. Remember that as far as society is concerned, FPs are the same as gays….Thus you don’t have to be gay to take the position that they, too, have a right to live, to have a job, to be able to rent an apartment, and the other things that the Miami ordinance attempted to guarantee them." (“Persecution of Minorities,” Transvestia #91, 1977; Hill:401)

In London, the TV/TS Group, mainly run by Yvonne Sinclair had been started.

Charles Lowman died in 1977 at the age of 97 after a minor cerebrovascular thrombosis. He died in the institution that he had founded in 1922. Prince dressed in a male suit one last time for the funeral. (Docter:17)

In 1978 the Archives of Sexual Behavior published Prince's "Transsexuals and Pseudotranssexuals" in which she proposed that the only true transsexuals are asexual, socially-inadequate men who would function better as women, as "less is expected of women". She presumed that bisexuals (2,3,4 on the Kinsey scale) of their nature do not become transsexuals. She also proposed two kinds of 'pseudotranssexual' based on sexual orientation.
"The preoperative homosexual group (Kinsey 5,6) gave much higher scores on all questions dealing with sex and lower scores on those questions dealing with gender, while those in the heterosexual group (Kinsey 1,2) gave high scores to gender type questions and much lower scores on the sex type questions".
This model was later taken up by Ethel Person, and anticipates the two-type system that will later be developed by Freund and Blanchard, although neither of them ever refer to it, with the important difference that Freund and Blanchard see the heterosexual group as erotically based.

Also in 1978 the Boston group, the Cherrystone Club split into the Mayflower Club and the Tiffany Club. Ariadne Kane was interviewed by Boston’s Gay Community News and used the term 'transgender' . Prince was introduced by Ariadne Kane to this term, which was not new but was being increasingly used. Prince then used the term in “The Transcendents or Trans People”, a paper read to the Western Regional Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex in Santa Barbara, June 1978, reprinted in Transvestia 95.
"The second class [transgender] is a group of which I am a member and about which most of you haven’t heard …These are people who have adopted the exterior manifestations of the opposite sex but without any surgical interventions. Thus they are what may be rightly termed ‘male women’."
1979.  Hill p405
Prince used 'transgender' a couple of times more in Transvestia magazine, and then once and once only in a paper, “Charles to Virginia: Sex Research as a Personal Experience” for Vern Bullough’s The Frontiers of Sex Research, 1979. After that she lost interest in the word, and stopped using it. In “Charles to Virginia" she continued the specious claim from 20 years before that "This name [tranvestism] was coined [by Hirschfeld] specifically for heterosexual persons but, unfortunately, of recent years if has come to be used by many people to refer to anyone who cross-dresses for whatever reason". She explained that "Although I personally try to dissuade people from having the surgery, except in special cases, it is interesting that three of my best girl friends are former men who have had the surgery". She considered that the four of them had reached an ideal state: "When one person is androgenous [sic] (gynandrous) and has access to both the masculine and feminine parts of one total person, he or she is not so in need of another person to fulfill life. This unification of the duality of masculine and feminine in one person is what make people like the four us is self-sufficient."

Vern Bullough's message at this time was mixed. Ten years after Prince had gone full time, in his introduction to Prince in Frontiers of Sex Research, he still still described Prince as a transvestite who "dresses up" as a woman. In his Homosexuality, a History, in his “Cross-Dressing: Transvestism, Transsexualism, and Homosexuality” chapter he describes Prince as a good example of a heterosexual transvestite. Some would say that by the logic of book's title it should not have even discussed Prince. He also mentions Chevalier d’Eon, Lili Elevenes (Elbe) and Christine Jorgensen who were not homosexual either. And having done so it does not mention even one gay transvestite or even one androphilic transsexual. However he does say: "Though no large-scale study exists of homosexual transvestites, our own preliminary work in this area indicates that such people do exist, and for many of the same reasons as the heterosexual transvestites". He further disagreed with Prince saying: "Probably transsexualism and transvestism exist on a continuum".

Also the year that Prince first met Richard Docter, a colleague of Vern Bullough at Northridge University, when she gave a talk there.

Other than to her three friends, Prince was still being mean-spirited on the topic of surgery. A reader wrote: “I am sorry I have to disagree strongly on what you wrote to me. Transsexuals (me, personally) are NOT gay or homosexuals. They have the mind of a woman, and think and want to satisfy a man like a woman does.” Prince replied (Transvestia, 94, 1978; Hill:140): "Can you believe that? How do you manage to NOT be homosexual when you want a hole so that you ‘can satisfy a man the way a woman does’?”

In the special 100th edition of Transvestia, the last one edited by Prince, Susanna Valenti returned to comment on all that had been accomplished since the first issue in 1960. She was impressed by the achievements of homosexuals, transsexuals and women, but pointed out that transvestites had done less well.
"A good number of people, many more than there were one hundred issues ago, know about us. The moral ‘liberation’ of our times seems to have helped somewhat, too. But, we ask ourselves, have we really become liberated? Have we really become understood? Accepted? Our transsexual sisters are willing to meet the cameras, to make the headlines, but we are not quite willing to follow the example of GG’s and transsexuals and gays. We are still at the bottom of the acceptance totem pole….We are letting the revolution pass us by, while we timidly hope that the GG’s, transsexuals, and gays will win their battle so that we can gather a few crumbs from their banquet. We can count with the fingers of one hand the number of TV’s…who have dared a break-through in radio, television, and other organizations. The rest of us sit back silently and do nothing but wish that something, somebody, would do something for our liberation." (Transvestia 100, 1979: Hill: 328)
In July 1979, Prince sold Chevalier Publications to Carol Beecroft, who also took over the editorship of Transvestia, and became the sole president of Tri-Sigma. In twenty years Prince had published some 120 life histories from readers and 300 letters to the editor. With only a few exceptions, these readers were white male middle-class heterosexuals usually aged between 30 and 60 (Hill: 30).

The third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was issued in 1980. Homosexuality, after a long and loud campaign, had finally been removed. But transvestism was now added. In DSM-III-R, 1987, it was renamed 'Transvestic Fetishism'. As Prince had advocated, Transvestism was defined as done by heterosexual males. Cross-dressing was not regarded as a transvestism when done by women or gay men. However, presumably to her chagrin, the psycho-analytic tradition that heterosexual transvestism was a fetish was accepted.

In the same year, Vern and Bonnie Bullough moved to the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In 1981, the national college sorority called Sigma Sigma Sigma, dating from the 1890s, having discoved Tri-Sigma and making noises about possible litigation, Beecroft changed the name of Tri-Sigma to Tri-Ess. Transvestia failed shortly afterwards, although Femme Mirror continued. Beecroft subsequently gave responsibility for Tri-Ess to Jane & Mary Fairfax, a husband and wife, in Houston, (Docter:82-3)

In 1982, Marcia Ann Lowman, Brent's wife, lost her appeal against the dismissal of her complaint for wrongful death in the case of her husband, in that such a complaint cannot be maintained against a public entity and she was not able to truly name any individual involved. 4
  1. See for example Jack Nichols' Men's Liberation: A New Definition of Masculinity, 1975, which was probably the book most likely to do so. It does have a chapter on psychological androgyny, but nothing on the topics that Prince would raise.
  2. Docter does not give a date for 'The Revolt of the Alpha Chapter'. I took the year from the CHIC website.
  3. Virginia Prince like Roberta Cowell had a father who was one of the outstanding doctors in his own country. And neither father has a Wikipedia page.
  4. There is no mention that Virginia aided Marci in her case re Brent's death.

18 March 2013

Virginia Prince: Part III – Femmiphilic activist

Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

Virginia Prince was an adviser to Harry Benjamin for his 1966 seminal The Transsexual Phenomenon, consulted on the transvestite types, but not on Benjamin’s type IV, nonsurgical transsexual, a role that Prince did not adopt until 1968. The three types of transvestite in Benjamin's schema: pseudo, fetishistic and true were a direct reflection of what Prince had been advocating, and left nowhere for gay transvestites, female impersonators nor for female cross dressers. Benjamin proposed a scale or typology divided into six types: Transvestite (Pseudo), Transvestite (Fetishistic), Transvestite (True), Transsexual (Nonsurgical), Transsexual (Moderate intensity),Transsexual (High intensity).

Prince responded with a seven-type scale (Benjamin: 40):
  1. Fetishist
  2. Low intensity TV
  3. True femmiphile TV
  4. Asexual type
  5. Gender type TS
  6. Intensive sexual type TS
  7. Operated TS
As the book came out, Mr Lowman was being divorced by Doreen, and was selling his share of Cardinal Industries. He said that he sold it for 10 times his initial investment. Doreen retained more than half of the assets including the house in Nichols Canyon. Arnold moved to a small rented house in Laurel Canyon.1 Harry Benjamin wrote to the US Passport Bureau in support of Prince's application for a passport in her female name. Without comment the request was granted. (Benjamin:169-170)

The same year Agnes confessed to Dr Stoller that she had indeed taken external estrogens, and that she was not intersex.

Early that year Prince urged FPE members to remember that homophile advances rebounded in their interest:
"The homophile community is on the march AND on the way to gaining acceptance…. Some of the more narrow minded of our sister TVs see nothing good in anything that homosexuals do, but we ought to remember that their persecution is our persecution and their victory will be our victory too…. So, personally I am all for their success and would cooperate in helping them to achieve it where I could out of pure self interest for our group if nothing else fails. There is, however, the broader interest of helping all minorities toward acceptance." (Transvestia #37, February 1966; Hill: 321)
The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO) held its founding convention in San Francisco in August 1966. Prince attended as an observer. “I think it is in order that we keep an observer status in this field and stand by to aid their cause when it will aid ours and to extract from their experiences and their contacts with authorities and influential groups any contacts and opportunities that may be to our advantage."

Lavender Los Angeles p 65
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) adopted a national policy very similar to the one that Vern Bullough had drafted for the San Fernando Valley chapter, and following the amicus curiae brief that they had filed in the Felicity Chandelle case, that homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals should be protected.

Prince and several FPE members attended a drag ball. Prince took an informal survey of sixteen drag queens, asking each ten questions that she had pre-devised. She hypothesized that the answers to these questions would distinguish homosexual queens from transvestites. However one of the 16 answered as if a femmiphilic. Prince informed him of that and introduced him to the FPE members. He later joined FPE. (Transvestia #41, October 1966; Hill:399-400).

In August there was a riot between trans women and the police at Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.

Another book that came out that year was Myron Brenton's The American Male, an early work of men's liberation. Prince felt that Brenton's arguments about masculine mystique, the arbitrary construction of gender norms, and the narrow stereotypes that men felt pressured to follow were much the same as she had been writing about in Transvestia for the last six years. She juxtaposed quotes from Brenton with references to her own earlier columns (Hill:390) Prince even spoke up for homosexuals as long as they did not attempt to join FPE: “Nothing is more basic to our insecurities, self-condemnation, and non-acceptance than the problem of homosexuality.”(Transvestia #41, October 1966; Hill:398)

FPE- Northern Europe was set up on the FPE model for the Scandinavian countries, at the initiative of Annette Hall from Sweden who had met Virginia in the US in the Spring of 1966. In later years it split into separate organizations for each country.

Late 1966 Virginia was interviewed for television in Hawai'i: "I was there as Virginia and was interviewed for about twenty minutes before I was asked what personal interest I had in the field—it had all been professional before that—and I dropped to my masculine voice and confessed all…" (Transvestia #42, December 1966; Hill:305-6.

Prince set up meetings with police chiefs and the heads of vice squads.
"I went as Virginia to see the Lt. who was public relations assistant to the Police Chief in San Diego. He then took me to the Lt. in charge of the vice squad. After about 45 minutes with him I left for an appointment with the City Attorney….The reason for my call on them was that San Diego is working on an ordinance which could make the wearing of the clothing of the opposite sex with the intent to commit an illegal act, illegal itself….Both the Lt. and the City Attorney made it clear that if a TV such as myself was just walking the streets, acting like a lady and minding his own business that no law would be being broken because there would be no ‘intent’….I urged them to try to get the ordinance through leaving out the clothing as a means to their ends. I don’t think I succeeded in selling them on this, but they did admit that I had a point." (Transvestia #38, April 1966; Hill:308). She usually started with an inquiry about the city's cross-dressing laws, and then stressed the harmlessness of heterosexual cross-dressers. She was always emphatic that they were different from homosexuals and street queens.2
On the last night of 1966 there was a drag contest at New Faces, a bar on W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. Just before midnight many of the contestants crowded into the Black Cat, just down the street. At the stroke of midnight, as many of the men exchanged a traditional kiss, the LAPD rushed in and beat several customers brutally. They chased two back to the New Faces where they knocked down the woman owner and beat the two bartenders unconscious, one of whom then suffered a ruptured spleen and after recovery was charged with felony assault on a police officer. Six patrons were charged with lewd conduct for kissing, and were all found guilty by a jury. Two of them were later registered as sex offenders. In response, there were organized protests, and the convictions of the two were appealed as far as the US Supreme Court which declined to take the case. This inspired a new periodical, The Advocate, for gay and lesbian (including transvestite) issues. It was at first a Los Angeles publication, and then grew into a national publication. Despite the probability that some of the drag contestants were FPE members, FPE took no notice of the event.

In January 1967 Prince attended a combined party arranged by Theta Chapter (Madison) and Theta Tau (Minneapolis-St Paul). Later that year members of Theta-Tau joined Prince for a visit to the University of Minnesota.

The newly divorced Prince published a new edition of The Transvestite and his Wife later that year, a clear re-statement that Prince’s organizing is only for heterosexual men. The book is dedicated to Karl Bowman and Harry Benjamin, both of whom had helped Prince. "Through his [Benjamin's] education of other doctors, psychologists, and marriage counselors he has helped many hundreds of transvestites."
Prince claimed to have encountered few happier marriages than those in which the wife accepts and participates in the husband's transvestism; fewer more unsatisfactory than those in which the wife rejects it. If a wife should fail to understand, it is an indication of her immaturity stemming from her own unresolved emotional problems. Prince grades wives A-F on how well they understand and accept. "The femmiphile adopts feminine garb as a matter of personal internal expression – the homosexual 'Queen' does so for external effect – to attract males for sexual purposes and to ease the guilt of both." 3 "Females can and do wear masculine type clothing so openly and without social disapproval that the desire to do so is not frustrated and does not therefore present a problem."4

The British FPE offshoot, The Beaumont Society was founded with an initial membership of 7.

In August Prince appeared on the Irv Kupcinet show in Chicago in a panel with Paul Gebhard, director of the Kinsey Institute who had continued Kinsey's research into transvestites, the black novelist Richard Wright and a psychiatrist. "'For the first time over the air,' she proudly wrote 'a TV was treated as the intellectual equal of other persons with some stature and not as a sort of curiosity to be taken apart.' (Transvestia #47, October 1967; Hill:306). She received hundreds of letters of inquiry.

Sir Lady Java was fired from her employment as a performer and waitress at the Redd Foxx Club in Los Angeles. The ACLU, having been persuaded to aid transvestites, challenged the LAPD Rule that applied as unconstitutional. But apparently FPE did nothing. In New York, Mauricio Archibald, in female clothing and on his way home from a party, was arrested on a subway platform and charged under the same obscure law that Felicity Chandelle had been charged under. Despite his being heterosexual, and despite his obtaining an appeal hearing, no help was forthcoming from either Prince or Siobhan Fredericks.

The final Nationals Pageant, for professional and amateur drag performers, organized by Jack Doroshow/Flawless Sabrina,was held that year in New York as a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This was filmed, and released the next year as The Queen, which became a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival. On this basis Doroshow, obviously openly transvestite, was hired as a special adviser on the films Midnight Cowboy, 1969, and Myra Breckinridge, 1970.

Prince informed her readers under the title “Life Begins at 54”:
“Virginia will be a freer soul now even if she has to crossdress as Charles now and then…. I’m going to do everything that will continue to broaden (literally and figuratively) my experience of life in my closing years. Everything with three specific exceptions that is, I draw the line at homosexuality, transsexuality, and a third marriage. (Transvestia #43, 1967)"
The Alpha group had its first open house in November 1967. This became an annual event. City leaders and public officials were invited to a catered dinner and a lecture by Prince. 50 guests turned up the first year. (Hill: 315)

The December 1967 issue of Transvestia was the only one ever to publish a photograph of an east Asian transvestite: Lili, a recent immigrant to New York from Shanghai.5

Prince took on a part-time assistant at Transvestia at this time. Mary’s mother had died in 1966, and she started electrolysis and hormones and gave up her male job with the intention of seeking surgery. However Prince gave her a hard time on the question of surgery. She did however start living full time as female. Her story was published in Transvestia, 62, Feb 1970.

From this point on, until 1982, Prince was a full-time activist and lecturer. She traveled across the US, to England, Scandinavia and Australia. She appeared on radio and television, lectured to college classes, gave newspaper interviews, delivered papers at professional conferences, and appeared at local FPE chapter meetings and social functions. Traveling and appearing as a woman in public as this entailed led to her decision in late 1968 to live full time as female. She encouraged members of FPE to contact their local networks to set up potential appearances. Prince appeared on either radio or television shows in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Houston, and Tulsa, among other cities. On these radio and television programs, she promoted her books, the magazine, and Phi Pi Epsilon. In Transvestia, she published photographs of herself with television and radio personalities and described her trips in extensive travelogues.

A handful of doctors and mental health professionals responded to Prince's growing reputation by referring transvestite patients to FPE and Transvestia. A similar shift had already occurred with homophile patients being referred to gay groups, and as already mentioned, Harry Benjamin had been referring patients to Siobhan Fredericks since 1963.

In 1968, Transvestia columnist Sheila Niles popularized the concept ‘whole girl fetishist (WGF)’ for members who did not pass well enough, particularly if it were for lack of trying. Over the next few years it came to be that those who failed or didn’t bother to fashion themselves as truly feminine were fetishistic.6 Susanna even estimated that the majority of members were WGFs (Transvestia #55, 1969).

From 1968 Prince wrote more columns about transsexuality than about homosexuality and fetishism combined. He strongly resisted the common assumption (endorsed by Harry Benjamin and others) that there was a continuum from fetishism to transvestism to transsexuality. Susanna Valenti held that many transvestites were incipient transsexuals who with the right circumstances would progress to living as women. Dozens within Transvestia's readership were opting for surgery, and it irked Prince that his advice was being ignored: “…the number of persons asking for and achieving it does not make me happy. I am disturbed”. (Transvestia#50, 1968; Hill, 137) He became quite mean-spirited on the subject, presenting transsexuals as failed individuals: “inadequate, inappropriate, inefficient, and uncomfortable in the masculine gender role and who were also inadequate and unhappy in the male sex role". They had failed at both the sex and the gender of being male. Several times Prince used the crude pun: “While I feel whole, transsexuals feel hole”.

FPE continued its policy of not accepting “bondage or masochistic people, amateur investigators, curiosity seekers, homosexuals, transsexuals or emotionally disturbed people”, Great emphasis was still placed on privacy and secrecy, and also on involving members’ wives.

Annette, whose photograph had been the first cover girl on Transvestia #5, invited FPE, as he did most years, to visit his remote ranch in Idaho. Most of the Seattle Chapter went, and Virginia drove up from Los Angeles. Katherine Cummings was present and observed that Virginia managed to alienate most of the wives by telling them that she was just as female as they were. (Cummings: 185).

WBI Boston 1968 with Dr Leo Wollman.  Presenter Bob Kennedy
Also 1968, Prince's mother, Elizabeth Arnold, died. By this time Prince had had facial hair removed by electrolysis and was taking female hormones again, and had had a legal name change to Virginia Bruce. She took an extensive six-week trip across the US meeting FPE members and even police officers. She emphasized that she took no male clothing with her. On her return she bought a spacious house in the Hollywood Hills. She trained as a glider pilot and purchased an Ultralite aircraft. She also bought a motorhome for her travels in the US.7

In August she wrote "My goal achieved" (Transvestia #49) about how she had attended a session of the then new nudist therapy led by psychologist Paul Bindrim, who had previously spoken at an Alpha Chapter meeting. Prince felt that it was an opportunity to present as Virginia while revealing her male anatomy:
"For about 20 hours I was as naked as the day I was born but for those same 20 hours I was still Virginia to myself and to all the rest. Although there could be no doubt as to my maleness (sex), nobody seemed inclined to doubt my femininity (gender), and I was treated in all respects as one of the girls by men and women alike."
This, of course, created a reaction from her readers. The August issue contained the following letter:
"Most of your readers think that you are everything good about TVism and are the ultimate in FPism and pure in all ways. What your article has done is to plant a great deal of doubt in their minds as to just what you are…. When all this is added to your story of running around in the nude, kissing a man, having him hold you and the other things, no matter what the occasion, I think that a lot of people think you have gone off the deep end. I would think that the GG’s who read it would all be set back…because you have given them proof that TVs just don’t want to put on a dress to express feminine feeling inside them but really want to go much further, and this is what they fear most”
In the June issue, Prince went so far as to denounce how male roles are connected to violence.
"The male citizen of our American culture, and to some extent but not to the same degree, the males of other western cultures, have elevated the cult of masculinity to the ultimate….In a world that venerates, honors, and rewards masculinity far above femininity and which at the same time equates strength, courage, determination, aggressiveness, and force with masculinity, what can we expect? Men are so frightened, so ashamed, so fearful of their gentler instincts and feelings that they shove them aside and elevate the current conceptions of masculinity to the dominant and determining place in their life philosophy. In order to deny femininity, a man will exaggerate masculinity well beyond its proper proportion in human life. What is the result in the world? The continued domination of the masculine ethic of force and violence, of solving problems with wars, pistols, or fists instead of with the head and the heart." (Transvestia #51, June 1968; Hill 391-2)
Prince wrote that she completely accepted herself 'genderally'.
‘I was then free to live my life as I wanted having no domestic or business responsibilities. I therefore crossed the line completely and have lived as a woman full time ever since’ ("Charles to Virginia: Sex Research as a Personal Experience” in Vern Bullough (ed), Frontiers of Sex Research: 172).
Despite the no-transsexuals policy, Virginia Prince, as she now was at age 55, was in effect what Harry Benjamin called a non-surgical transsexual, although she would never admit to the term. However Virginia's male persona was resurrected again for a revised version of A Survey of Chemistry for Cosmetologists.
  1. Laurel Canyon in 1968 had more than its share of both celebrities and of murder. There are two books about the neighborhood: , Michael Walker's Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood, 2006. and Dave McGowan's Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation, 2008-2012. Neither has anything to say about Prince. In addition to Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa as neighbors, there was Ramon Navarro who was murdered in his home by two intruders that very year.
  2. Hill:308 commented: "I have found no evidence that indicates what exactly police officials thought about Prince—whether they took her seriously or as a complete joke or as another urban oddity whose voice they, as public servants, were obligated to listen to. Accompanying her many travelogues are photographs of Prince with prominent psychiatrists, doctors, and radio and television personalities. It may be telling that there is not one photograph of Prince posing with a police chief or law officer."
  3. However, see footnotes 5 and 6 in Part II. Prince admitted to Stoller that attracting the attention of men was something that she specifically enjoyed.
  4. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism was written by Patrick Califia before transition. Its section on Prince is based solely on a careful and insightful reading of The Transvestite and His Wife. "But this putative 'difference' between male and female sexuality has more to do with the repression of women's sexuality in general … than a shift in couture. I know what I feel when I am in male drag. My conversations with other women who cross-dress as men make it clear that I am not the only woman who gets a sexual rush out of appropriating a masculine image. A whole book could probably be written about the misogyny and homophobia that has led sexologists and other 'experts' to frequently state, as Prince does, that women can wear men's clothes without being punished, so they have no need to become transvestites. This is patently false. … As any stone butch or passing woman can tell you, the general public continues to be deeply disturbed by a biological female who appears in public in men's clothing. There is no difference between the discrimination, condemnation, and violence that is routinely inflected upon male and female cross-dressers, if they are exposed as such."
  5. Lili took up with Susanna Valenti, and can be seen several times in Casa Susanna, 2005.
  6. The FPs felt about the ‘whole girl fetishists’ in much the same way that not-TG persons today feel about those who do not pass, and whom they call ‘transgenders’.
  7. Perhaps Prince was affluent after selling 50% of Cardinal Industries; or perhaps his mother left a bequest.

15 March 2013

Virginia Prince: Part II – Second Marriage

Part 1 – Youth and First marriage
Part II – Second Marriage
Part III – Femmiphilic activist
Part IV – Full-time Living
Part V – Transgenderist dowager
Jargon terms and general comments

Charles Leroy Lowman published his seminal work, Abdominal Fascial Transplants, in 1954. He remained Chief of Staff at the Orthopedic Hospital until 1955 when he was 75. His son Arnold had several ideas re cosmetics which he published as his second book, Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop, also 1955. With a partner he set up a business, Cardinal Industries, located on real estate owned by his mother.1

With the encouragement of his mother, Arnold married a second time in 1956 to Doreen Skinner, of English origins, who had been his parents' housekeeper and after initial misgivings, was accepting of his cross-dressing. Arnold initially found Doreen to be unattractive because of her "dowdy attire, old-fashioned hair style and lack of makeup". He instructed her and she became more attractive. She told him that she had discovered photographs of his father cross-dressed. Arnold and Doreen went out socially as two women, and spent weekends in San Francisco like that. Doreen bought him a white satin nightgown as a wedding present. She also helped Arnold run his business selling grooming products for dogs and humans. They designed and built a house in Nichols Canyon. It included a special room with wardrobes, a sewing machine and several mirrors. (Docter: 35-7)

In a club in West Hollywood that same year, Rae Bourbon was billed as ‘not a female impersonator’, and was charged by the LAPD and convicted of impersonating a female. In January 1957 Confidential Magazine outed actor/dancer Dan Dailey as a transvestite: "The Night Dan Dailey was Dolly Dawn", which pretty well ended his film career, although he continued in television.

Arnold began using the male name of Charles (his father's name) Prince. In 1957 C.V.Prince wrote a paper for The American Journal of Psychotherapy where he was introduced by Dr Benjamin: "‘Dr Prince is known to me personally. I have met him in his male as well as his female role. I have had lengthy and stimulating discussions with him. He is highly educated with a fine cultural background". Prince presented three types of ‘males’ who may share ‘the desire to wear feminine attire’ (p82), that is homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals. He was keen to dissipate the confusion of the three, but in its place propagated an alternate myth that ‘true transvestites ... are exclusively heterosexual ... Frequently they are married and often fathers”.

He was developing the concept of “femmiphilia” and was talking of his feminine self as “a real personality in her own right”. He also proposed “femmepersonator”. As he explained to Harry Benjamin (TSPhenomenon:53) the two words are to counteract the popular confusion with homosexuality, and to to take the sex out of if. He later wrote up these ideas in a pamphlet: An Introduction to the Subject of Transvestism or Femmiphilia (Cross-Dressing). He no longer thought of himself as the same kind as Christine Jorgensen, and started denouncing sex change operations. One of the first to receive this message was the teenage Diane Kearny who naively wrote to him and was told that she was ‘delusional’ in wanting such.

It was in 1958 that a 19-year-old, who had been taking her mother's estrogen pills, was referred to Dr Robert Stoller at the University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center. Stoller took Agnes to be an example of testicular feminization syndrome, and arranged for her to have corrective surgery.

In 1959, Virginia Prince established Chevalier Publications (named for D’Eon), and the next year revived Transvestia, which was now sold by subscription and later in adult book stores. The cover of the first issue contained the statement: "A privately Printed Magazine with three objectives – (1) To Provide expression for those interested in the subjects of exotic and unusual dress and fashion; (2) To provide information to those who, through ignorance, condemn that which they do not understand; (3) To provide education for those who see evil where none exists."

Louise Lawrence and Edith Ferguson with their more tolerant definitions of transvestite were no longer involved. Joan Thornton complained that Prince had stolen the name Transvestia. As in the 1990s with the term 'transgender', Prince took the word 'transvestite' and attempted to restrict its meaning to a narrow group. The first editorial offices of Transvestia were in the premises of Cardinal Industries on Pico Boulevard. (Docter: 74-7) Arnold published a revised and enlarged Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop, and also his new book, A Survey of Chemistry for Cosmetologists.2

While most of the content of Transvestia was submitted by readers, Prince used the forum to construct transvestism as he had presented it in his 1957 paper. Much of Lawrence’s material, such as bondage and petticoat punishment was never allowed in Transvestia, nor was anything that might be deemed fetishistic, such as wearing only female underwear. However the first issue January 1960 contained a letter from William Bessie Beck, a noted advocate of petticoat-punishment, and issue #2 had a letter from his wife, and two photographs of Bessie were in issue #4. (Farrer:14-5) #1 also included an In Memoriam to sexologist David Cauldwell who had died the previous year. From #5 Transvestia featured a cover girl. Potential cover girls were asked to supply several photographs and a personal history, and were requested to pay for their page of photographs. The first such was Annette of Idaho. #6 contained a description of the research questionnaire that Prince was doing with Peter Bentler that was finally published in 1972.

Prince did not want to be associated with queens of Bunker Hill who had organized transvestites in Los Angeles only a generation earlier, nor with the transvestite drinking clubs that Edward D Wood was involved in. In particular, transvestites as imagined were never to be homosexual or to desire a sex change. Prince early picked up the new usage of ‘gender’. “It is not the sex we are imitating, it is the gender—the quality of expression, the kind of living, the kind of personality that we associate with a lady.” In Transvestia, Prince repeatedly claimed that gender is between the ears, not the legs. (Hill:58), and argued that whereas homosexuals were ‘sexual deviates’, transvestites were ‘gender deviates’. Prince discouraged the use of established words such as ‘TV’, ‘drag’, ‘camp’ etc as they were associated with homosexuality: ‘femmiphilia’ (Transvestia, 7, Jan 1961) and ‘femmepersonation’ (Transvestia, 12, Dec 1961) should be used instead, and FP be the abbreviation of both words instead of TV. Also in December 1961, Prince claimed, that having coined ‘TV’, Prince could end its use. The terms ‘femmename’, ‘femmeself’, ‘femmelife’ and ‘femmetalk’ were also proposed.

Around the same time Vern and Bonnie Bullough moved to Los Angeles to teach at California State University, Northridge, and shortly afterwards they met Prince, and also became involved with the homophile organization, ONE, Inc. Vern also became head of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

1959 was also the year that Jack Doroshow/Flawless Sabrina started his Nationals Pageants, which were drag contests. As local laws almost always prohibited cross-dressing, he would meet with officials and propose a charitable donation, and in return the town would pass a variance to permit the pageant. Usually the town officials did not understand that local people would be performing. In May of that year, at the all-night Cooper's Doughnuts on Main St, Los Angeles, the LAPD started arresting the queens among the customers, and a riot broke out.

Hose and Heels Club, Lavender Los Angeles: 65
Prince founded the Hose and Heels Club in 1960 for an initial 12 members who all arrived en homme at a house attached to a church property and put on their hose and heels simultaneously so that no-one had anything on anyone else. The second meeting, at the home of a member who was a dress designer, was attended by Vern and Bonnie Bullough. Bonnie commented: "There were 12 or 14 cross dressers in attendance who reminded me of a bunch of young girls at a wedding shower, giggling and acting like teenagers". Prince enforced a no alcohol policy. (Docter: 51)

One of the first other columnists in Transvestia was Susanna Valenti of New York, who had a more carefree style. She coined the metaphor the ‘girl within’ which became popular with Prince and the readers of Transvestia.

Hill (60) writes: “Prince recognized that both groups [transvestite and homosexual] shared a common problem with social intolerance and understood that the social gains won by the larger and better organized homophile movement would only benefit her group. In this regard, she called for mutual respect and cooperation while still maintaining that separateness must also prevail in order to build a distinct group identity for heterosexual cross-dressers. My sense is that there was rampant homophobia within the readership and that Prince was quite progressive on the issue of homosexuality, especially given the historical context.“ Prince did in fact work with homophile activists, Harry Hay and others.

Kate Cummings in Australia discovered Transvestia in 1960. "When it arrived I was overwhelmed by the potential wealth of transvestite material available to me by subscribing. There were scientific articles reprinted from learned journals; there was advice on what to wear, how to use makeup, how to act in public; there were letters from transvestites and their wives; there was wish-fulfillment fiction and there were even advertisements for booklets published by Chevalier Publications." Kate was the Cover Girl on Issue #8 as 'Joan from Australia'.3

Although the US supreme Court had ruled in 1958, re an edition of One Magazine, also from Los Angeles, that homosexual content is not obscene simply because it is homosexual, and in 1959 the US publisher of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover won his case and its appeal against the US Post Office’s censorship, these were not taken to apply to transvestite content. In 1960 Nan Gilbert in New England, a publisher of petticoat-punishment fantasies had had his mail stopped and was fined $500. In 1961 Tito Valenti (Susanna's male persona) was summoned by postal officials. Two of her correspondents had been charged with mailing obscene materials, and Susanna’s name had come up. Tito pleaded respectability and denounced the obscenities. Prince was actually arrested re personal correspondence to another transvestite, who he thought was a woman sympathetic to male cross-dressing, who was already under investigation. Prince pleaded guilty in a plea bargain to sending obscene material through the mail. With a five-year probationary sentence, he was liable to be imprisoned if caught cross-dressed in public. However his lawyer persuaded the court to include educating the public about cross-dressing as part of the probation order. In the next few years Virginia lectured to service clubs in the Los Angeles area and participated in a few medical conferences. Transvestia #6 contained the announcement that "Flash … Important … Read Carefully .. Transvestia has been examined by Postal Inspectors and has not been found to be unmailable".(Docter: 78-80).

José Sarria ran to be a San Francisco Supervisor in 1961: the first openly transvestite person to run for political office.

Charles Lowman co-published Postural Fitness; Significance and Variances in 1960, and Underwater Therapy in 1961. Arnold's previous psychiatrist, Karl Bowman, along with Margaret Mead and Hal Call of the Mattachine Society, appeared in a ground-breaking documentary on San Francisco's KQED television channel, The Rejected, about homosexuality. Bowman argued that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should be legalized.

Mr and Mrs Lowman visited Doreen’s relatives in England, and Virginia used the trip to contact some English transvestites.

1962.  Plate 6 in JJ Allen.  The Man in the Red Dress
In 1962 Virginia attempted to organize Transvestia's readership into a nationwide group. FP (from FemmePersonator) also stood for Full Personality. What was needed was Full Personality Expression (FPE). That was Hellenized into Phi Pi Epsilon in the fashion of university sororities. The Hose and Heel Club became the Alpha Chapter. In Transvestia #15 Prince exhorted: "Haven’t you all read newspaper reports of police in various cities raiding some home or club and finding a bunch of ‘guys as dolls’? What prevents our groups being looked upon the same way? Nothing at all…except Phi Pi Epsilon… when we get organized to the point where we have something to point to with some pride." In subsequent issues its purpose was developed and proposals made on how it would be organized. FPE was for cross-dressers who have gone beyond the novelty of dressing up secretly. Social interaction would be fun, and would foster self-acceptance. "The sorority is here, for those whose development has taken them to the point of FemmePersonation, which differs from simple transvestism in much the same way as being a champion Olympic swimmer differs from the person who simply puts on a bathing suit and gets in the pool." Homosexuals, transsexuals and fetishists were not admitted. Soon afterward there were three other FPE chapters: Beta in Chicago, Delta in Cleveland, and Theta in Madison, Wisconsin.

Prince published the first edition of The Transvestite and his Wife in 1962, and a first version of the results of his survey questionaire, "166 men in dresses" was published in Sexology magazine. In March Darrell Raynor, in Los Angeles on business, having previously corresponded, met first Charles, and then was invited to dinner to meet Virginia and Doreen. He was chauffeured to the Prince home by Robert Stevens/Barbara Ellen who was also a business associate of Prince (Raynor: chp 1-4).

The program of the Alpha Chapter was two meetings a months. One was formal, without any members being dressed, at which Virginia or an invited psychologist would give a lecture, and serious discussion would ensue. The other meeting was a party, a dress-up affair (Raynor:135).

In 1962, Elmer Belt finally discontinued doing sex-change operations at UCLA Medical School. That same year, Prince gave a lecture at the UCLA Medical School, which led to being contacted by a psychiatrist at the School, Robert Stoller. He was interested in Virginia as a research resource. It was Arnold who appeared for the first session, as per the terms of his parole. Stoller was requested to send a letter inviting Virginia Bruce. However by the time of the second interview Arnolds's parole was ended. From then, for the next for 29 years, Virginia and some other Alpha Chapter members met with Stoller. In Virginia's case the meetings were twice a month and continued until Stoller's death in 1991. These sessions were taped, and some have been transcribed. She was emphatic about the distinction between sex and gender, and both Vern Bullough and Richard Green affirm that it was Prince's influence that led to Stoller's first two books being called Sex and Gender, Vol 1: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity, 1968 and Sex and Gender, Vol 2: The Transsexual Experiment, 1974. (Docter: 62-5) Unlike Harry Benjamin and Vern Bullough, Stoller never named Prince in his books, although sometimes there is mention of an anonymous person who would seem to be her.4

While in her articles in Transvestia, Virginia played down the erotic aspects of cross-dressing, in the conversations with Stoller, she affirmed it. While she denied finding men attractive, she did enjoy being attractive to and flirting with men.5 She had a cross-dresser friend who was willing to play the male role and took her for lunch and drinks. Afterward they did mutual masturbation.6 She found kissing, hugging and affection from a man to be sexually rewarding. (Docter: 66-7)

Virginia was the major guest at the 1962 Halloween meeting at Susanna Valenti's Casa Susanna in upstate New York. The New York Transvestia subscribers had already been socializing with each other meeting in the apartments of Susanna and Gail Wilde. The Halloween meeting was also attended by psychologists Hugo Beigal and Wardell Pomeroy as well as Darrell Raynor, Felicity Chandelle and Katherine Cummings. Katherine Cummings later wrote that Virginia "was argumentative in the extreme. She had very fixed views on transvestism and proclaimed them with great force and no tolerance whatever of opposing views." While previously Susanna had not been in agreement with Virginia's insistence on respectability, they were in agreement in being appalled about one guest who didn't shave and wore a simple nightgown, and even smoked a cigar. Susanna later wrote that such members lacked the cultivation of an 'inner femininity' that distinguished a true transvestite from drag queens and clothing fetishists. (Transvestia #19, 1963).

Prince gave a speech that she did not regard herself or any other femmepersonator as emotionally or psychologically ill. Psychologists were not consistent with their research on gender when it came to labeling deviancy: "Further indication of the falsity of this arbitrary division [between genders] is evident in all the tests and devices which psychologists come up with to measure masculinity and femininity ‘indexes’ in each sex. They therefore give lip service to the presence of masculinity in the female and femininity in the male, but when it comes to practical and actual expression of this (at least on the part of the male) they raise their eyebrows…and start to work ‘helping’ the individual to ‘get back to normal’—to ‘adjust himself to society’ and, if possible, to stop being what he is…. FemmePersonation as we know it and show it is not a perversion, sex deviation, anomaly, obsession, or similar terms denoting that ‘something is wrong’.… It should be made clear that ‘statistically uncommon’ is not synonymous with ‘psychopathological,’ and ‘culturally impermissible’ is not necessarily ‘morally reprehensible.’ All a true TV or FP is doing is to seek to express some of the values and traits which, when they were drawn from the common human supply depot, so to speak, were arbitrarily assigned to the female.” (Also printed in Transvestia #19, February 1963; Hill: 310-1)

In the last Transvestia of the year, Prince urged co-operation with the homophile movement:
"Whatever the more highly organized homophile community does to improve their lot tends to improve ours and vice versa…. The homophile group is much better organized, larger, and has been at it far longer than we have. Thus where we can assist any general programs they have for breaking down prejudice and legal restrictions, we should do so. Where we can take advantage of any organizations or procedures which they have set up which can be of help to us individually or collectively, we should do so. We should establish and maintain contact with the organizational centers that are maintained by the homophile community, getting from them and giving to them such information and assistance as may be mutually helpful." (Transvestia #18, December 1962; Hill: 321)
In early 1963, Virginia fell out with both Barbara Ellen and Evelyn, a best friend for ten years. They started a competing group, and for a while it looked as if the Alpha Chapter would not continue (Raynor: Chp.17-18)

The most famous transvestite in Los Angeles that year was Miss Destiny who was featured in John Rechy's City of Night, and then in One Magazine the next year. FPE was only a small and specialized part of the transvestite scene. There were various kinds of trans women at the gay bars on Main Street, from the obvious to the passing. There was even a group for Pacific Islanders. Rex/Gloria, was an FPE member, but was also paying for younger trans women to fly to Dr Burou's clinic in Casablanca. (Gay LA:114-5) Edward D. Wood extended the lead character of his film Glen or Glenda in an unlikely direction in his first novel, Black Lace Drag (renamed Killer in Drag, 1965): Glen is doing contract killings to pay for a sex-change. The same year saw the publication of the transvestite novel Double Switch, which is attributed to Virginia Prince.

In New York, Siobhan Fredericks, who had quit FPE, started a competing magazine, Turnabout and made fun of the many femme* words that Prince had coined, and attracted cross-dressers who were critical of Prince and her ideas. Fredericks started a support group in her home, to which Harry Benjamin sent some of his patients, including Renée Richards.

Also new that year was the glossy magazine Female Mimics. Performer Kim August was on the cover of the first issue, and Coccinelle on the second. No statistics are available on how many subscribers to Transvestia also read Female Mimics. In San Francisco, The Black Cat bar, where José Sarria had performed, was shut down for permitting cross dressing.

That year Prince delivered her first paper to a professional conference, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in New York. She differentiated transvestites, transsexuals and homosexuals, introduced the term feminiphilia, explained that most professionals conflate sex and gender, and presented statistics from a 272-member survey that she had analyzed. She presented her group as the vanguard of men's liberation, and denounced aversion therapy: doctors should advise transvestites to accept themselves as they are. "There is no question but that persons with these types of histories [i.e. troubled] do exist and that they turn up in the offices of psychiatrists. Unfortunately, the psychiatrist only sees a specialized sampling of transvestites and therefore the conclusions drawn are based on a biased population of cases. Generally speaking, the only cases that go to a doctor are those that have been sent there by legal authorities, are forced to come by wives or parents, or are quite disturbed by their desires and seek help. The well adjusted, happily married and out-of-trouble transvestite does not go to the doctor, and he is therefore not studied nor counted in the population of cases from which most conclusions are drawn." (Transvestia #24, December 1963; Hill:309-310)

In 1964 José Sarria, in San Francisco, was part of the founding of the Imperial Court System, an alternate transvestite sub culture, albeit mainly for gays. Unlike FPE, the imperial Court was able to open branches in Canada and Mexico. With only a few exceptions, FPE and its later successor Tri-Ess and the Imperial Courts did not acknowledge each other. José Sarria's later successor as leader of the Imperial Courts was at that time a Los Angeles sex worker under the name Lolita. She was not of course invited to join the Alpha Chapter. In New York the short-lived Lavender & Lace magazine for transvestites came out – it had a much greater racial diversity than Transvestia. The Los Angeles Free Press started, which would provide an alternate voice for hippy, gay, trans and other minority voices. Vern Bullough, working with ONE, Inc was successful in getting the San Fernando Valley chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to adopt a policy of protection of homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals.

Felicity Chandelle/John Miller was arrested for cross-dressing under an obscure New York law and lost her job: her male persona had been a pilot for Eastern Airlines for 25 years. Prince and Fredericks championed her case, persuaded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a brief and raised over $1,200 to finance an appeal, which however was denied by the New York appeal court and by the US Supreme Court.

Prince started using Carl Jung's7 concepts of ‘anima’ and ‘animus’, but with the twist that each of us has both an anima and animus, and that they should be integrated. This need not necessarily be done by cross-dressing.
“There are, however, quite a number of us who have succeeded in recognizing our Anima sides, giving expression to ‘her’, originally through dressing, and subsequently simply through an integration of our inner selves in our daily lives. Dressing may still remain a very pleasant activity and a source of renewed emotional awareness and may continue with greater or lesser frequency all our lives. The important thing is not necessarily to conquer the dressing but to recognize what it is actually doing FOR us, and recognizing this, to actively attempt a greater degree of integration in our ordinary lives without any guilt feelings. I believe that this is the true goal and virtue of FemmePersonation. (Transvestia, 27, June 1964)”.
1964 was when Transvestia published its first photograph of a black transvestite (Diana, 28, Aug). The next would not be be until 1969.

In Transvestia #31, February 1965, Prince reacted to Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, not by empathizing with the problems of being a woman, but: “So who is going to write a book on the Masculine Mystique and the frustrations and psychosomatic disturbances that George and Harry have, because they too are trying to live up to an artificial and unsatisfying role forced on them by society? It seems to me that all of you who read Transvestia and myself are collectively, so-to-speak, writing such a book.”

Also that year, Chemistry in Your Beauty Shop was revised again and republished.

Until this point, Prince alone ran the organization out of her home and her work office, collected dues and handled membership applications. There were complaints about autocratic style, and profiting from the dues. Thus Prince appointed Fran Conners, president of the Theta Chapter in Madison, Wisconsin as executive secretary, and Sheila Niles of New Jersey to be field co-ordinator. Niles had a job that involved frequent travel around the US and was able to visit the various chapters. They divided the US, in fact the entire world, into regions, and appointed a regional counselor and deputy for each. The counselors were to encourage the renewal of dues, and also to meet with each new applicant to ensure that they were suitable – however vast distances made face-to-face meetings almost impossible, and some became members without being screened. Like the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, FPE was a white, middle-class organization with concerns about being respectable. An applicant must purchase fives issues of Transvestia before applying. This was not just to sell more copies, but also to ensure that he was serious, and that, having read the issues, he was acquainted with the philosophy of femmepersonation. The application asked about sexual orientation, marital status, employment status and cross-dressing history. The applicant had to sign his legal name and write his home address, however these would not be passed on the the regional counselor. He also had to pledge to keep secret all information about other members.

Bonnie and Vern Bullough, visiting the Lowmans at home, noted that Virginia would act as the hostess, reducing Doreen to sort of a maid. (Docter: 37-8)

In 1964 Reed Erickson founded his Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF), through which over the next twenty years he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars into gay, lesbian, trans and New Age activities such as acupuncture, homeopathy, dolphin communication and altered states of consciousness. He donated to two friends of Prince, Harry Benjamin and Vern Bullough, and especially to the Los Angeles gay center, One, Inc, but never considered FPE as a suitable recipient.

In May 1965 members of Theta (Wisconsin) joined with members of Beta (Chicago) and Delta (Cleveland) in South Bend, Indiana for a Midwest Conference. However the turn-out was disappointing. Only fourteen FPE members and three wives made it to the event. The Alpha chapter in Los Angeles, although one of the most populous chapters, still had only 18 members.

ONE, Inc split into two competing factions, and Vern Bullough was one of only two people who was able to maintain working relationships with both sides.

In Transvestia #36, December 1965, Virginia reaffirmed the lifestyle of part-time cross-dressing:
"I have had the experience, now that Virginia lives as much as she does and gets about everywhere, of having people who know me as Virginia and see me as a relaxed and comfortable woman often say ‘why don’t you live that way all the time’. They are not thinking of surgery but just of living. Sometimes I am afraid the fascination of this new life gets out of hand and we lose the perspective necessary to enjoy it. When we go too far in the femme-direction we are riding up the other side of the pendulum swing…. So let’s not forget that we are all built in a male way and have been brought up in a masculine framework which has its costs but also its compensations and let us say a word for and give a little credit to the ‘boy without’ as both the source and the support of the ‘girl within’. (quoted Hill:172).
By this time Arnold's son, Brent, had come to live with his father and Doreen. He was having personal problems, probably drugs, and his presence added to the stress among the Lowmans. Virginia had been taking dancing lessons and attending public dances. An out-of-town male friend visited and they went dancing all night. (Docter:69) Doreen was also anxious in that Arnold had developed a friendship with a post-operative transsexual, Sherry, and she was concerned that he would go the same route. Virgina and Sherry went to public dances as two women. Doreen moved out, and in with Arnold's parents. Stoller, who counseled both of them, felt that Doreen was "emotionally exhausted" in her struggle over the possibility that Virginia would go full-time. Stoller reported that Prince said he was hurt that Doreen would "just up and walk out on me" – which perhaps implies a lack of empathy. (Docter: 38-40)

In December that year, Stoller dictated a description of how he saw Virginia, who was then 53:
"It's worth describing Virginia's appearance today which is typical of the way she usually looks: A light brown wig which is not startling but well kept, dangling silver earrings, pancake makeup, sharply red but not extravagant lipstick. On her neck, a necklace made of three strands of large silver balls, pretty garish when taken with all the rest of her appearance, with a V-cut dress out of which peaked the pushed-up bits of breast tissue looking like an old woman's breasts being shown when they shouldn't be with her brassiere showing and the straps showing, the inner side of the two shoulder straps of her dress; the dress, the upper part of it where her bosom is huge and the largeness is increased by a whole bunch of white flowery patterns on on a navy blue background, the lower part is just the navy blue. When she sits with her legs crossed you see up the outside of her thigh quite a long distance, it's not particularly attractive, her knees are bony and her legs although not masculinely muscled are not at all like a woman's; her arms have the muscular contour of a man's, they are very smooth and soft skinned though on her forearms they are darker brown while the upper part is light. I didn't really notice her shoes except that they were high heeled. The overall impression is that if this were in fact a woman, no woman of her age and appearance should show so much of herself and I would think there was something severely wrong in the degree of exhibitionism being revealed." (Stoller#4: 23-4; Docter: 70-1)

  1. Cardinal Industries seems to have disappeared from history. It should not be confused with Cardinal Industries of New York which is a still active and successful company that makes toys. I could not find the name of Arnold's partner in any of the source documents.
  2. I do find it strange, given the number of books that discuss Virginia Prince, that no-one previously – except the editors at WorldCat – had bothered to check if there were any book under the name of Arnold Lowman. Milady Pub. Corp is a real publisher, specializing in books about beauty. It is not a self-publishing like Chevalier Publications.
  3. Kate Cummings also volunteered to be and was the cover of Transvestia #108, 1983, twenty three years later.
  4. For example: Presentations of Gender, 1985:137. "For instance, for about twenty years I have had a friendly, more than therapy-oriented relationship with a transvestite man, In that time we have often talked of his childhood, his parents, his parents' personalities, and the relationships among the family members."
  5. "While she denies finding men attractive, she does enjoy being attractive to and flirting with men." A subtle difference. I wonder how many cisgendered women could be likewise described. Has anybody done research into heterosexuality using this distinction?
  6. Prince: "mutual masturbation … but never once was there any kind of anal or oral sex .. never". Was Prince unaware that a significant minority of gay men have exactly the same preference?
  7. Prince probably related to the fact that Jung, in 1950, had dismissed transsexual surgery as having nothing to do with either medicine or psychology. Carl Gustav Jung, “Zur Frage der arztlichen Intervention” In. Das symbolische Leben: verschiedene Schriften. Olten: Walter-Verlag, 1995: 375-6. Quoted in Sander L.Gilman.Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999:271.