Virginia Prince & Transvestia

View Transvestia ONLINE!

Virginia Prince materials are a part of The Rikki Swin Collection.  

Virginia Prince was born in Los Angeles in 1912, and began crossdressing at the age of twelve. Prior to transition, Prince attended Pomona College and earned a PhD in pharmacology from the University of California at San Francisco in 1939, and later lectured there in pharmacology.

Transvestia magazine

In 1960, Virginia Prince founded Transvestia magazine. Published six times a year in Los Angeles by Chevalier Publications, it was edited by Prince until 1980 and then sold to Carol Beecroft who continued to publish it until 1986.

Transvestia was the first widely distributed magazine focused on the cross-dressing community. In time, it expanded to include content about the larger trans community. In an era before the internet, the publication became a major life-line for its readers.

In Transvestia, trans people could openly write about their experiences, challenges, and successes. Subscribers to the publication were able to network and connect with each other by way of articles, ads, and by personally writing to the editors.

View Transvestia ONLINE.

About Virginia Prince

In 1961 Prince started the first crossdressing organization, the Hose & Heels Club, which in 1962 became the Alpha Chapter of the Foundation for Full Personality Expression (FPE or Phi Pi Epsilon), later the Society for the Second Self (Tri Ess or Tri Sigma) in 1975. Membership was restricted to heterosexual male crossdressers.

Prince's career in transgender education activism began in 1961 when she was prosecuted for distributing obscene materials through the US Mail because she had exchanged sexually explicit letters with another crossdresser. She was given probation and was forbidden to crossdress. Prince's lawyer requested permission for her to crossdress for the purpose of educational presentations.

Prince began living full-time as a woman in 1968, at the age of 55. Prince published a number of important works on crossdressing, amongst them The Transvestite and His Wife (1967) and How To Be a Woman Though Male (1971). Prince died in 2009.

UVic Transgender Archives holds Virginia Prince's records including awards and certificates, photographs, correspondence, ephemera and publications.

Virginia Prince Finding Aids

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