#TransLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter and Feminism

I’ve seen some internet dustups over the use of the #translivesmatter hashtag over the past few months. A subreddit asks if it’s okay to use the tag and produces discourse typical of what I’ve observed. Today, I witnessed a rancorous debate on a google group about this issue.

Here are some facts about phrasing something as XYZ lives matter:

Using twitter’s advanced search, #translivesmatter (12/2011) predates #blacklivesmatter (4/2012). Back in 2012, there were just 3 tweets with #blacklivesmatter and just 3 tweets with #translivesmatter. It’s worth noting that Planned Parenthood was using #womenslivesmatter back in 5/2011 – predating both #translivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter – which makes sense because feminists were phrasing that their lives mattered for a while.


1975: Transgenderism = Umbrella Term

FI News, 1975

FRANCES L. DOWELL, President, Salmacis Society

Salmacis, the egalitarian Feminist Social Society, has announced a series of eight educational lectures on Transgenderism, to run until August 21. The lectures will be held at the North` East Outpatient Clinic, 200 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.

According to Frances L. Dowell, president of Salmacis, there are approximately 2.5 million males in the United States who believe their destiny is to be a female. Therefore, the series of lectures is designed to inform the general public about this phenomenon, to encourage those with. repressed TV or TS tendencies to surface their feelings and desires, to help the crossdresser learn about himself, improve his feminine appearance, and share his experiences with others.

The subject matter for the series will be as follows: Can you accept yourself as a TV? The legal aspects of Male femininity, Cosmetics and Shape Makers, Fashion and Grooming, Deportment and Vocal Modulation, and Living Your TVism. At each lecture there will be guest speakers as well as participants from the TV, TS and homosexual subcultures.

Admission to the lectures is free to card-carrying Salmacis members, and costs a $1 donation for others. The meetings can be attended as a male or as a female. The donations will go toward the Salmacis educational fund.

Salmacis is socially active in the San Francisco. Bay Area, and has affiliated chapters all over the world. It invites all persons with an interest in male femininity to join. The only requirements are a pro-feminine interest, an interest in feeling feminine, appearing feminine, acting feminine and being feminine with another femme. Membership benefits include social activities, educational activities, informational service, and the Salmacis newsletter.

For further information about the society or the lecture series, contact the Salmacis Society, P. O. Box 2441, Menlo Park, Ca. 94025.


  • This article comes from the same FI News issue that the 1975 review of transgenderist does.
  • Additionally, this usages seems to be closely linked to a 1975 “transgenderism” usage in a magazine called Image.
  • Special thanks to the University of Michigan archive for locating this piece!

1991: Accusation of Stealing Virginia Prince’s Word by ‘Incorrigible Texans’

Gender Euphoria, January 1992, Vol VI, No 1


November 12, 1991

Dear Editor,

It was with a great deal of interest that I read Virginia Prince’s letter and your response in the November issue of GE. As a self-taught writer and a cross-dresser, two of my favorite forms of expression were stimulated.

While I agree with your assertion that male and female are indeed properly used (in the current context of the language as defined by dictionaries) as both nouns and adjectives (sorry Godmother), I believe Virginia’s point is still valid to a degree. The degree being the distinction, as you referenced in your concurrence, between biological sex and cultural gender. Part of our Godmother’s crusade is to sever the assumed connection between sex (as a biological noun) from gender (a cultural noun). Further, she is the pioneer in severing the assumed connection that if you cross a gender classification, that determines your sexual orientation (e.g., a guy in a dress is a fag). Her point is that using male and female as nouns simply denotes a biological sex classification—that a human being is birthed.. and classified male does not i can that person cannot be a girl or a woman, but it does mean that they cannot be a female (there is no surgery for DNA code). Gender is what we all learn about becoming a boy or a girl, a woman or a man, (nouns) feminine or masculine, manlike or ladylike (adjectives). Our culture has given us a choice of binary sets (it’s a set-up), whereas the cosmic universe we live in doesn’t care much about rigidity. In order to change the rigidity of our culture, and therefore be in closer harmony with the universe, those of us who can be more flexible should assist in the work of defining biology from culture (it is indeed possible, and natural, to become a man even if born a female).

The synonyms you referenced are indeed listed in our literary language manuals albeit with specific connotations; in other words, they can’t be indiscriminately used without a change in meaning (e.g., “mannish” usually indicates affectation of masculine traits or style by women). Out Godmother is literally correct when she states that clothing, names and behavior cannot be properly called female—feminine is the proper adjective. The continued usage of these terms as synonymous will only continue to perpetuate the mainstream belief that if you are born in one sex, you must exhibit the culturally imposed gender attributes of that sex classification, and the corresponding sexual orientation—or suffer the consequences.

Secondly, you have co-opted Virginia’s term “Transgenderist.” In your commentary you stated: “…it is etymologically correct.” Wrong. Etymology is the study of the origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning. Etymological pertains to the principles of etymology. You merely provided a rationalization for “swiping” the term before admitting same in your etymological concession: “We do however recognize the term “transgenderist” as specifically coined and to be applied in the vernacular of our community as referring to one.who is cross-living full time…” Well, darlings, check this out: there is no literary definition for this term, and for that matter, virtually no literary definitions for most of the terms frequently used in this “community” (such as crossdresser, androgyne, paraculture, etc.), so they are all vernacular (native tongue as opposed to literary language).

Said another way, .you trashed grannie! You stole her linguistic contribution to the community from the community and ran off down the road laughing. Lordy, lordy, lordy, you incorrigible Texans. Shame, shame, shame.

I support the usage of the term “transgenderist” to mean a person living full time in a cultural gender role opposite their biological sex classification, without having altered their anatomy through SRS; “transgendered” to mean having crossed a cultural gender role perhaps permanently without SRS; and other forms of the term to be consistent with those meanings.

I suggest you seek another linguistic term such as Polygenderous (the prefix poly meaning more than one; more than usual—okay, so I coined it, you can still use it) for persons who present more than one gender role. Or, Bigendered (leaving Androgyne to those who are comfortable expressing either gender role or a blend). I would support that, and I believe our Godmother would too—(ya know, we walked down the aisle together in Provincetown [I was in girl-face and boy-body and clothes], she introduced me as her husband and then said she was gonna divorce me because I was a sissy cross-dresser! Can you imagine! And here I am trying to help her out—I must be a Fool!)

And just to prove what a fool I am, I invite anyone who has the strength, courage and patience to join the Dictionary Project. This Project will be an immensely dull undertaking to consensually add the “vernacular of our community” to our culture’s literary language manuals through the Usage Panels of all publishers of dictionaries. The starting point of this Project will be the definitions as compiled by the IFGE and the Human Achievement and Outreach Institute. Step two will be to send said definitions to all major gender-related groups for comment and response. Step three will probably be a bunch of arguments, debates and non-response. Persons interested in participating should contact the address below.


Billie Jean Jones, Publisher TV Guise

3430 Balmoral Drive, #10 Sacramento, CA 95821

Ed: Thanks for writing Billie Jean! Obviously you didn’t think we Texas gals would let you off the hook without a word or two of rejoinder (we are after all rather independent and obstinate down here).

Comment 1: We still don’t believe that our usage of male and female was significantly out of line with common usage and it was contextually clear what was intended. In the treatise (the offending document) we did make the distinction between sex and gender, and gender role/identity preference and sexual preference.

Comment 2: We really can’t take the blame for “trashing grannie”. We only used the terms “transgender” and “transgendered” as then are most commonly used (yup, they really are etymologically correct) today, despite the reservation and acknowledgment of the term “transgenderist” to coinage by Virginia. You will find those terms used in the same manner as we used them in dust about all the publications in our community. It’s those publications that should be used as a basis of usage to arrive at the definitions for your dictionary effort; after all, dictionaries are only written based on common usage of terms. By the way, your “definition” of “transgender” (quite literally) is just about “e way we used it and the “community” uses it with one exception, it is inclusive of those opting for SRS—”transgender” meaning anyone who crosses “cultural” gender roles in any manner or form. So we don’t need to confuse the issue with all manner of labels—we’ve got far more than we need already.

Comment 3: This is an observation I’ve made over the years and simply pose it in the nature of a “what if.” What if we were to spend as much time and effort in our community on outreach as we seem to on internal semantics debate? Hmmm, suppose we might really achieve something worthwhile?   — TF



1.) It is asserted:

Secondly, you have co-opted Virginia’s term “Transgenderist.” In your commentary you stated: “…it is etymologically correct.” Wrong. Etymology is the study of the origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning. Etymological pertains to the principles of etymology.

This is factually wrong. Prince first used the term in print in 1978 (Prince later claims to have coined the term in 1988). Phyllis Frye was using the term prior to Prince and in early 1975, FI News went into a detailed explanation of what the trans community means when we use the term “transgenderist”.

1991: Virginia Prince on the use of Transgender

What follows is an exchange between Virginia Prince and Tere Fredrickson, co-organizer (along with the primary organizer, Phyllis Frye, VP of GCTC) of the ICTLEP Conference.


Dear Linda and Tere:                                  Sept 1, 1991

Thanks for sending me the issues of Gender Euphoria. I feel something of a proprietary interest in it because of its title. It was named such after I made a point about euphoria and against dysphoria in my keynote speech at a Be All in Detroit several years ago or the keynote at the first IFGE convention in Chicago. I don’t know who it was now, maybe it was you Linda, but somebody told me later that they were so taken by the term that they were going to use it as the title of the newsletter. [Ed: Jan Rupard gets the credit for “borrowing” the name.] So it’s thanks in one direction and you’re welcome in the other.

Now to cases in point. I hope neither of you will take offense if grandma raises some points about your “transgender behavior” article in the Sept issue of Euphoria. To begin with, I coined the term “transgenderist” as a name for the specific behavior of living full time but without SRS. It is a noun not an adjective. “Transgender behavior” could properly only refer to behavior of a transgenderist not to the general behavior of people who express both genders at different times.(1) You are doing what is always done, perverting a specific term by non-specific use. It’s no wonder there is so much confusion and argument about terms—so many people will not use them as intended and thus contribute a whole lot of different meanings with consequent confusion.

Moreover, since the prefix “trans-” refers to crossing over and implies, as I meant it when I coined the word, a permanent or possibly semi-permanent crossing of the gender line. Yet using the adjective to apply to people who not only dress for parties or on weekends or whatever, is NOT a transgenderist and does not manifest transgender behavior. Alternate gender behavior would be closer to what you mean since you are talking about behavior patterns, WHEN the person is cross dressed and not during other times. In other words he alternates between the two genders. You have used the term “transgender behavior or roles” repeatedly throughout the article.

But the next line in the subtitle really gets to me and discourages me quite a bit. Both of you have heard me speak and read my writings and even if you hadn’t you are both intelligent enough to know that sex and gender are two different things. Both are nouns and not adjectives. )o you can no more speak of “female gender role” than you could of gender females. The fact that a lot of people both lay and unfortunately professionals too misuse the words is not a justification for the two of you doing it too. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FEMALE GENDER (or of male gender for that matter). If you are going to be officers of a respected organization and editors of its newsletters it is incumbent upon you not to further the confusion that already exists in the field but rather to use your positions and reputations to help reeducate newer and less knowledgeable persons.

In the 4th long paragraph you speak of “female clothing”. Again, female is a noun not an adjective. If there were female and male clothing like there are female and male dogs you could breed them and get “baby clothes”. “The transgendered individual will typically explore all aspects of sexuality, both male and female.” How can a male explore f°m ,le sexuality or vice versa? The fact that males can receive the penises of other males orally or anally which are orifices like the vagina, that is NOT female sexuality. Again, “dressed as a female”. Clothing and dressing are genderal behaviors so you CANNOT be dressed as a female. You can and would be “dressed as a woman“.”Female sexual exploration”—no way!

“In older transgendered males we see the effects of `change of life’ which can be quite convincing.” Can they indeed? Since the expression refers to the readjustment of the physiology of females when their ovaries cease making estrogen, progesterone and other less well known hormones, and since males do not make appreciable estrogen to begin with how can they show the results of a cessation of its production?? True males may cease making as much testosterone, become impotent and somewhat more feminine in appearance and it is sometimes called the male climacteric, but it is NOT a change of life in the same sense. Being impotent, they cease their attempts to “make it” with women which may be a change of life in the same sense as in females. Don’t let your wishful thinking get out of hand.

In the last paragraph—”a complete female identity”; a “female name”. One more time, please, female is not an adjective. Moreover, a male could not. possibly achieve a
“complete female identity”. Even TSs don’t completely accomplish that because they are not complete females, did not grow up and become socialized as females. There are feminine names and there are names of females, but there are no female names. Male and female imply anatomical differences. Clothing, names and behavior do not have any sex organs and therefore cannot properly be called female. Learn to use the right words in the right way. Feminine is an adjective and can properly be used to modify a noun such as clothing or a name. Or you can use the possessive form, i.e., “women’s (girl’s or men’s) clothing, eyeglasses, names or whatever.” In the last little section of the article, top of page 8, 2nd column, you are back to “full time female gender role”. As you know I have lived full time as a woman not as a female for the last 21 years.

I hope that neither of you will try to justify the above examples of incorrect usage by just saying as many have, “Oh Virginia is on her hobby horse again and just playing semantic games.” People who do say such things generally don’t even understand what semantics is. Also just so you won’t feel that I am picking on you I enclose a reprint of an article I had in the Journal of Sex Research back in 1985. I hope you will both take the time to read it and note that it became necessary to gently call the professionals to task on these matters also. So you are in good company.

Well as usual my letters are overly long but I hope this will prove of use to you. The reason I make such an issue of the sex/gender confusion•is that if more members of our community REALLY understood the difference and used the right words in the right way there would be fewer TSs and probably fewer suicides, divorces and heartaches in our community. Those of us, which includes you two as well as me, who do understand the field have

duty to set a good example, to educate, and to explain to those that do not.

I will look forward to a commentary from you about the above. And allow me to express the hope that your next Part IV will be carefully proof read to avoid the improper usages some of which I have pointed out above. I wish its title would be, “Sexuality of Crossdressing Persons,” and not “transgendered”. After all, I am a truly transgendered person and what do you know about my sexuality—except that it is still going strong at 79!!

Love to you both,


Special to Tere: “Toolbox” article. There is absolutely no way anybody except a true physical hermaphrodite can “bridge the gap between male and female”. Between man and woman or between masculinity and femininity (gender), yes, but not d and 4 (sex)!!

Ed: It isn’t often that someone of the stature of Virginia Prince takes the time to write to us little gals down here in the middle of the Lone Star State, but we did get a two-stage letter from her! We do take her critique seriously and believe she has valid points to make. We provided our commentary on her observations as follows:


Our commentary:


Differentiation between sex (anatomical/ chromosomal male and female physiological/ morphological structure) and gender traits and behaviors (man/woman, masculine/feminine, etc.). It is important to note however, that gender role and behavior is independent of anatomical/chromosomal sex. Gender roles and identities • are adopted through both innate comfort of behavior and socialization. In our lectures to college classes, we make the differentiation between sex and gender very clear.


Classification of male/female as nouns only and not adjectives. Common English usage as reflected in virtually any contemporary English dictionary lists “male” and “female” as adjectives as well as nouns. The terms when used as an adjective denote traits and characteristics typically ascribed to that genetic sex, i.e., synonymous with terms “masculine”, “feminine”, “masculinity”, “femininity”, “men’s”, “women’s”, etc.


The “change of life” statement was taken out of the context of identification with female physiological occurrences. The male will identify so strongly in some cases that a psychosymptomatic response will result, paralleling the symptomatic female occurrence.


The term and usage of “transgender” as an adjective to denote “cross-gender” behavior. Our application is a single encompassing term which can be used to describe any and all forms of cross-gender behavior manifestation, and it is etymologically correct. It has been our experience when using this term with the lay public to describe our behavior that the term does not elicit the negative response typical of “transvestite”, “transsexual”, or even “cross-dresser”. It is therefore a simple, and accurate term to use with the general population in education programs—”Oh yeah, some of my best friends are transgendered..”

We do however recognize the term “transgenderist” as specifically coined and to be applied in the vernacular of our community as referring to one who is cross-living full-time in the gender role typically ascribed or assigned to the opposite genetic sex (three of our B&P informational pamphlets define “transgenderist” in the manner for which it was coined). “Cross-liver” would probably be a more appropriate term for “transgenderist” but someone would probably confuse it with a doubly irate organ of bile or “chopped liver”.


“Bridging the gap between male and female.” True, as written, use of “man and woman” would be clearer and more appropriate. Contextually, however, it can easily be taken (as intended) to refer to “male and female gender roles and identities  – we, as transgendered persons having dome degree of understanding of gender roles typically assigned to both sexes (uh oh, we used “male”, “female” and “transgendered” as adjectives again – we’re incorrigible aren’t we!).


We do love ya! …and keep writing!



1.) Prince asserts, “To begin with, I coined the term “transgenderist” as a name for the specific behavior of living full time but without SRS. It is a noun not an adjective. “Transgender behavior” could properly only refer to behavior of a transgenderist not to the general behavior of people who express both genders at different times.” This is factually wrong. Prince first used the term in print in 1978 (Prince later claims to have coined the term in 1988). Phyllis Frye was using the term prior to Prince and in early 1975, FI News went into a detailed explanation of what the trans community means when we use the term “transgenderist”.

Colonization, Enslavement and Forced Assimilation: Narratives Built Upon the Virginia Prince Fountainhead Myth

In this post I review the rhetoric employed by transsexuals who have refused to use “transgender” to describe their experience while claiming that Virginia Prince coined the term to only refer to people like herself: heterosexual crossdressers who live full-time as female but do not wish to undergo any genital reconstructive surgery.

This is part two of a 2-part series reviewing the ubiquity of this myth as it relates to trans discourse.

Part 1: The Ubiquity of the Prince Fountainhead Narrative

Part 2: Colonization, Enslavement and Forced Assimilation: Narratives Built Upon the Virginia Prince Fountainhead Myth


What follows are quotes from various sources, at various points in time, which reject “transgender,” citing the Virginia Prince Fountainhead Myth:

Was Janice Raymond Right?” 2007,

“This is when the term “transgendered” suddenly went from it’s former specific meaning to including anyone remotely gender non-conforming. Coined by rabidly transsexual phobic Charles “Virginia” Prince who published many of those crossdresser fantasy magazines of earlier days and who founded Tri-Ess, a rabidly homophobic and transsexual phobic network of support groups for crossdressers, “transgender” and “transgendered” suddenly were sold as shorthand for transsexual. The reason for this was actually quite simple. Transvestism is sexually driven, transsexuality isn’t and anything other than plain vanilla heterosexual sex is both verboten and shameful in our society, at least as far as the public face of people is concerned. “

Transgender Inc. and The Transgender Borg Collective and Why I Use those Terms for the “Transgender Community” 09/07/2011

I know that the roots of the “Transgender Community” are in the heterosexual transvestite communities, that Virginia Prince coined Transgender. (The quibble point about Prince coining Transgenderist not Transgender is BS. Transgenderist is to transgender what feminist is to feminism.)

Attention all Women Born with a Transsexual and/or Intersex Birth Challenge: You Have The Right to Vote Too! Happy Women’s Equality Day!” August 17, 2010

Next week, August 26, is National Women’s Equality Day! August 26th is the anniversary that women won the right to vote. Also, late transitioning transgender males and white heterosexual cross dressing males are not the only ones who have the right to vote on issues pertaining to transsexual, transgender and intersex (TTI) equality, however, they have colonized the transsexual community. The results of this colonization has been devastating to the progress of transsexual (TS) and intersex (IS) Americans. Look at the history, and the law books- it’s all there. Ever since cross dressing men and transvestites co-opted the transsexual movement, TS folks have actually LOST already pre-existing rights. And ever since Gay Inc co-signed the transgender fascista’s co-opting of the transsexual birth challenge, many in society have been miseducated about the transsexual birth challenge, and it has been gay appropriated in a very oppressive way….

When you know the REAL history of this issue, its really upsetting. It was actually transsexual women who gained all the initial rights for the TTI communities in the early 1900’s. Then after Stonewall, some quack cross dressing heterosexual male named Virginia Prince (who was an open misogynist,voiced public disdain for the transsexual communities, and was homophobic against gay and lesbian people) decided to rally the other white heterosexual cross dressing males to usurp the transsexual community against their will. And since the patriarchy supported the sexualizing and silencing of TS women, it was easy for CD males to hijack the TS movement. Everything started to go downhill after that for women and men born with transsexualism.

Suzan @ June 12, 2011, 3:25 AM, Commenting on CAP Poll: Support for Trans Rights, June 10, 2011

There are a lot of things I think of when I hear the term transgender. Mostly negative. I do not like the misogyny directed towards post-transsexual women. Nor the colonization and erasure of our difference from transgender people.

Too often I think of the “Transgender Borg Collective” when I hear the term, a cult like group of people who all echo the same talking point endlessly and abusively towards post-transsexual women who do not want to be considered part of their “community”.

Transgender was coined by Virginia Prince, a homophobic heterosexual (sic) and misogynist who hated transsexual women. Prince’s words are the same word directed at those of us who had sex change operations and want nothing to do with the cult.

Transgender as umbrella is dead…

Feel free to use it strictly for people who live full time or for cross dressers but count me and others out

Radical Bitch @ January 3, 2010, 6:40 PM, Commenting on Should We Scrap the Word “Transgender”?, January 3, 2010

Finally let’s consider that “transgender” was based on terminology that was extremely transsexual-phobic (the transsexual hating Charlie Prince) in the first place and “gender” being malleable is based on the single John Money John-Joan case exposed as a total fraud but still seems to inform those who promote this mistaken idea.

So, a term that began as an insulting separation to those who now reject it that has no scientific reality (gender identity is fixed at almost the same moment of pre-natal development as sexual orientation) is the preferred term?

As Agent K said in Men in Black II “This is a clear case of go home and do it over again”.

Two Points @ August 8, 2009, 3:23 AM, Commenting on The HBS Controversy and the Fun of Fallacious Reasoning (And For The Uninformed: GID)

While there may be no conspiracy pursy, historically TG when put into the common lexicon by Charles “Virginia” Prince, was done quite purposely with one and only one goal.

Tie TG and TS into being “the same.”

For this I need to point to any documentation. This information was gathered directly from the horse’s mouth as it were. I attended one of the IFGE early functions many years’ back and “Virginia” seeing something in me. What I do not know, decided to make me a pet project. For four days and three nights, I was regailed (hammered would be more accurate) with the history of Transvestites in America from the 30’s onward. All recounted in excruciating detail as was TS, As I might add ,seen by Prince. who for the record, denounced it as total fraud… ( this sour grapes response of his came aobut followed Dr Benjamin’s refusal to recommend Virginia for surgery. Again this from his mouth to my ears)

I will have to give Virginia this. He was a dedicated man and when he set his sights on a goal he accomplished it. That and he was also very good at making vital connections with like minded persons. Virginia, having decided on a very personal and moral level that there was no difference between TS and TV, and not wanting anything to do with TV as the perversion it was perceived of in the early years. (Which btw did resulted in his being arrested and sentenced to five years on a felony charge of sending obscene content through the mail) Set his sights on glomming onto the slim legal and social acceptance TS had gathered at the time. Legitimacy created by TS being seen, not as a psychiatric issue but as correctable medical issue and no threat to the binary.

May 12th, 2011 at 12:25 pm Comment on In Community, Genitalia & Socialization Essentialism Has Been Around For Awhile, Thursday May 12, 2011 5:00 am

These trans people who can never forgive Daly, apologize all over the place for the single most transsexual phobic person to ever roam the earth, Virgina Prince, who coined the term transgender which is now applied to those Prince most hated as part of a forced umbrella inclusion that essentially denies the womanhood of those female bodied, fully woman identified women with transsexed or intersexed histories.

Go figure…

NPR, Listener: Don’t Call Me Transgender, April 1, 2011

“After that conversation, somebody posted this to our online forum: As a transsexual-identified woman, I find the use of the words transgender, transgenderism, gender nonconforming and gender variance highly offensive when applied to me. These are LGBT community buzzwords that should only be applied to their community – not to transsexuals that live outside of it, or that aren’t trying to break gender norms. The LGBT community efforts to push this word to include all transsexuals is shameful. She blogs under the name Transsexual People Aren’t Transgendered.”

Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, (2000) Volume 2, pp 888 – 890

Transgender… The term is said to derive from transgenderist, coined in the 1960s be male-to-female cross-dresser and early transgender researcher Virginia Prince as an alternative to the stigmatizing and objectifying medical category of “transvestite…”

Bolin, Bornstein, Feinberg, and other clearly view transgender as both the cause and the effect of a renewed fender and sexual revolution. Not everyone shared their view, however. Some transsexuals are proud of having changed sexes, rather that confounding them, and reject the transgender identity for erasing their own, “Every application of the term transgender to me is an attempt to mask what I’ve done and as such co-opts my life, denies my experience, violates my very soul. I changed my sex… and provide that anatomy is not destiny,” Margaret Deidre O’Hartigan has emphatically asserted.”

NOTE: O’Hartigan made these statements in 1993

January 6th, 2008 at 10:09 am, Commenting on The Unfortunate Statements of Susan Stanton, January 2, 2008

Definitions”You might define transgender that way, and not label yourself with it, which is fine. But will others define it differently irrespective of your interpretation?”The colonization of my life by transvestites angers me no end.I refuse to wear the label created by a viciously misogynistic transsexual hating full time transvestiteie Virginia Prince.I was around way back when transgender simply meant a person who lived full time as a member of the sex opposite their current genitals. fine that label worked for a number of my friend who fell into two camps homosexual & heterogender meaning keeping their penises while living as women and the other group heterosexual & homogendered meaning those keeping their penises while liking women. (several of my lovers). I got my SRS and then I moved on. Transgenders have zero right to demand that I work for their political cause. Nor should the men in dresses have a right to “define” me as transgender without my consent. Transgender is an identity politics label pure and simple and the more you try to label me with it the more I view y’all as the problem.I find the transgender community far more oppressive of me than the world at large. I am particularly bothered by your campaign against people who are working for issues I consi9der far more important to me than transgender protections ie same sex marriage.Further most of those pushing transgender as umbrella and dermanding L/G folks put their political goals front and center are heterosexual males who come out in middle age after years of male privilege.This very same group turns around and spurns the drag queen community of trannie sex workers who were my friends as not representing transgender when they are the real transgenders.


There’s even a petition to “Let My People Go” that appeals to the Virginia Prince Fountainhead Narrative:




From Wikipedia:

From 10/9/2009

This is from a capture of a 2009 wiki article which states that:

Some transsexuals also take issue with the term because Charles “Virginia” Prince, the founder of the cross dressing organization Tri-Ess and coiner of the term “transgender”,[23] did so because she wished to distinguish herself from transsexual people.

The citation (23) leads to a website called,  LGBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture.  This site states:

Prince (henceforth referred to as “she”) was divorced from her second wife in 1964 and began living full-time as a woman. It appears that Prince was the first person to coin the term “transgender,” which she used to describe her desire to become a woman socially without having to modify her genitals.

The Wikipedia article was first edited to note that some transsexuals did not use transgender because Price supposedly coined the term on May 14, 2008. The original article read:

Transgender vs. Transsexual

As long as the term transgender has existed, there have been reasons to use it distinctly and separately from the term transsexual. In fact, Virginia Prince, who coined various forms of “transgender” and is generally given credit for coining the base form itself (see: http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/prince_vc.html), did so because she wished to distinguish herself from transsexual people she saw as both sick and different from herself. As an example, her statement from the essay, “Men Who Choose to Be Women” in an issue of Sexology magazine (as cited in “Gay Vs. Trans in America,” The Advocate, Dec. 18, 2007 now online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_999/ai_n24215671/pg_8) reads: “I, at least, know the difference between sex and gender and have simply elected to change the latter and not the former,”. While distinctions between sex and gender are often recognized, (see Gender, an Ethnomethodological Approach by Kessler and McKenna for a thorough discussion of the relationships and meanings of the two terms) this condescending attitude is rejected by a number of transsexual people who also note that if the term was created to distinguish folk who challenge gender from folk who challenge sex, subsuming transsexual people under the rubric of transgender would then be both incorrect on its sex vs. gender face as well as disrespectful (see: http://www.survivorproject.org/basic.html). Max Wolf Valerio in “Now That You’re a White Man,” from This Bridge We Call Home by Anzaldua and Keating elucidates this struggle well, with reasons that he notes including the fact that breaking with norms of sex creates distinct experiences and needs from breaking with norms of gender. Also, he finds a link between queer theory, academia, social class, and anti-transsexual perspectives that presume transsexual people to be gender oppressive. In fact, in many transgender perspectives and writings, Max notes, transsexual people are given more responsibility for gender oppression (including the gender binary and what is commonly referred to as sexism) than non-transsexual, non-transgender men who accrue the most benefit from the current hierarchy of power. Finally, he explains the tendency towards invisibilization of transsexual people is increased when non-transsexual people are seen as having authority to speak for transsexual people. This is perhaps a natural consequence as conflating transgender and transsexual is only possible by conflating gender and sex.

Versions of this Prince Fountainhead Narrative remained on wikipedia until June, 28, 2012 – just over four years.


The Ubiquity of the Prince Fountainhead Narrative

This is a simple review of printed materials incorrectly asserting that Virginia Prince coined the term transgender and/or transgenderist. Each of these many sources got it completely wrong, propagating a false story about how the trans community takes on new identity terms to thousands upon thousands of readers.

This is the first of a 2-part series reviewing the ubiquity of this myth as it relates to trans discourse.

Part 1: The Ubiquity of the Prince Fountainhead Narrative

Part 2: Colonization, Enslavement and Forced Assimilation: Narratives Built Upon the Virginia Prince Fountainhead Myth


  • Transgender Nation by Gordene Olga MacKenzie, 1994, Page 2:
    “Another term I use throughout the book is transgenderist, coined by pioneer gender researcher and transgenderist Virginia Prince. I chose this term because it was self-generated, rather than medically applied.”
  • Mirror, Tri-Ess, 1995, page 32:
    “However most of the remaining 9% of the group are living full trine as a woman and some are calling themselves “transgenderists,” a term coined by Virginia Prince.”
  • The tartan skirt: magazine of the Scottish TV/TS Group, 1995 Issue 15, Page 41:
    “This is not a question of the term ‘transgenderist’, which was coined by my dear friend and associate editor Virginia Prince to designate someone who lives full-time in a gender identity opposite to the one usually associated with their physical sex”
  • Transgender warriors: making history from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman, 1996, Page x:
    “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.'”
  • The man in the red velvet dress: inside the world of cross dressing, 1996, Page 7
    “Transgenderist, a term coined by Virginia Prince, the founder of the modern CD movement, is currently in vogue to describe CDs. Transgenderism, with its emphasis on the distinction between sex and gender, is discussed in chapters 4 and 5.”
  • Personal stories of “How I got into sex”, 1997, Page 77
    “To the consternation of Virginia Prince, who had coined the word “transgenderist” to refer to people like herself, who lived across genders without genital surgery, “transgender” soon came into use as a global term for the entire community…”
  • Gender blending, 1997, Page 469
    “That means that one way or another I [Prince] have been involved in what has come to be called the “transgender” community for about seventy years. 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 a woman…”
  • Feminist collections: a quarterly of women’s studies resources, 1997, Volume 19, Page 20:
    “Virginia Prince… also the person who coined the word “transgenderist.”
  • Human sexuality: diversity in contemporary America, 1999, Page 142
    “The term “transgenderist” was first coined by Virginia Prince, the founding mother of the U.S. contemporary cross-dressing community…”
  • Toward acceptance: sexual orientation issues on campus, 200, Page 263:
    Originally the term transgenderist was meant to refer to a person who lives full time as the other gender, but who has not made any anatomical changes. Virginia Prince, a pioneer gender researcher, coined the term to refer to people like herself (Feinberg, 1996; MacKenzie, 1994). While many still use the word with Prince’s intent, the community at large now views the term transgendered more generally, meaning an individual who bends or blends gender.”
  • Out, V10, N5, 2001, page 78:
    “But a series of changes led to the regrouping and reuniting of those identity refugees under the new label transgendered. The word itself was coined early on by Virginia Prince, a heterosexually married cross-dresser.”
  • Unseen genders: beyond the binaries, 2001, Page 52
    “Originally coined in the U.S.A. by Virginia Prince, a pioneer in alternative gender ideology, transgender as a gender category, identity, and repertoire of behaviors…”
  • Transactions, 2003, Page 56:
    “The term Transgender is said to have been coined by Virginia Prince in the late 80s to denote those transvestites who, like herself, live full time as members of the opposite sex, sometimes taking hormones but not desiring SRS.”
  • Social problems in a diverse society, 2004, Page 77
    “As anthropologists Evan B. Towle and Lynn M. Morgan (2002:490) point out, The term transgender was originally coined by Virginia Prince in a 1970s conference presentation titled “The Transsexual and His Wife” (MacDonald, 1998/2000).”
  • Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History , 2004, Volume 2-4, Page 422:
    “… transgender activist, author. Virginia Prince, a male who has lived socially as a woman since 1968, coined the term “transgender” in the 1980s.”
  • News and sexuality: media portraits of diversity, 2006, Page 116
    Further confusion arose in the 1980s when Virginia Prince, a transvestite in Los Angeles, coined a new term — “transgendered.”
  • Special populations in college counseling, 2006, Page 60:
    Transgenderist: Coined by Virginia Prince, this category refers to an individual who disidentifies with his or her assigned birth sex and lives full-time in congruence with his or her gender identity.
  • Sex, gender, and sexuality: the new basics : an anthology, 2008, Page 528:
    “Transgender” is a relatively new word. It was originally coined by Virginia Prince in the early 1970s to refer to people who lived full-time in a gender that was not the one that usually went with their genirals (Prince, personal communication). In the 1990s, the word was taken up by a variety of people who, in their own ways, transgressed usual sex and gender expectations.
  • Encyclopedia of gender and society, 2009, Volume 2, Page 849:
    In addition, the dominant meaning associated with the term transgender changed. Originally coined in the 1970s by full-time heterosexual cross-dresser Virginia Prince, transgerderist had originally meant someone who took on the social role of the “opposite” gender without any surgical or other bodily intervention…
  • Local violence, global media: feminist analyses of gendered representations, 2009, Page 101:
    Transgender is a term derived from the term “transgenderist,” coined by Virginia Prince to refer to a person cross-living full time with no plan to have sex reassignment surgery (SRS). In the 1990s it was used as an umbrella term…
  • When the opposite sex isn’t, 2009, Page 64
    As explained in one of Docter’s later works, some of these individuals have called themselves transgenderists, a term coined by Virginia Prince, a community pioneer in modern transgender history (Docter, 2004).
  • Transgender Health And HIV Prevention, 2005, Page 55
    Since Virginia Prince coined the term transgender in the mid-1970s to define people like herself who cross-lived full time, but who did not want a surgical sex change (Green & Brinkin, 1994), language that represents the diversity of gender…
  • Virginia Prince: pioneer of transgendering, 2006, Page 9
    She also claims to have “coined the words ‘transgenderism’ and ‘transgenderist’ as nouns describing people like myself who have breasts and live full time as a woman…”
  • Transgender voices: beyond women and men, 2008, Page 16:
    Virginia Prince coined the term in the late 1980s to describe individuals like her — male-bodied individuals who live full-time as female without undergoing any surgery.
  • Serving LGBTIQ Library and Archives Users, 2011, Page 217
    Transgender traces its roots back to 1969 when Virginia Prince coined the word trans- genderal (in opposition to transsexual) to describe herself as someone changing her gender rather than her sex (Ekins & King, 2005).
  • Queer in Europe: Contemporary Case Studies, 2011, Page 71
    The term transgender is often used. It was coined by the American Virginia Prince, who in the 1970s chose it as a self-definition for all those who were unable or unwilling to live in the sex assigned to them at birth. About ten years ago, whole swathes of the Berlin trans* scene gratefully adopted the term.

1993: Texas Association for Transsexual Support TG Usage

COMMENTARY by [Name Withheld]

If ever an effort deserved to be called the tip of the spear, it is the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. It might be characterized as redundant by some, an affront to the existing transgender support or medical groups by others or even a radical splinter effort by those who have passed on to lose themselves in a new identity. But… One irrefutable fact stands out concerning the conference.    In over two centuries of law under the U.S. Constitution, there has been very little progress made in eliminating the prejudicial treatment of identified transgendered persons. Judge Bayless said it all when he pointed out that you can criminalize an action, but not a state of being. We are who and what we are and we are no more or less criminal than the population as a whole. Marla Aspen hit the nail on the head with her remarks in the medical law committee last year. She said we should seek protected class status and it may well be that it will become requisite to do so if violence results from pressing for our guaranteed rights under the constitution. With reference to the murder trial mentioned earlier in the newsletter, Marla was right on the money again when she proposed that transgenderism be dropped from the DSM. We cannot allow ourselves to be characterized as mental defectives or permit anyone to shield themselves from the consequences of their crimes by virtue of being transgendered. Other psychological and psychiatric problems are often seen in those who represent they are transgendered. It is on the basis of those that legal defenses should be developed and that would be the case if we were not in the DSM.


TATS, V1/I2, 02/1993