Consider what the United Transvestite and Transexual Society (formed in 1973) had to say about the idea of community. As you’re reading the following announcement, remember that this was a national organization that helped give rise to a community of trans people that went on to pass their goals and values on to a later trans generation.
While the terminology is certainly quaint and even offensive by today’s standards, try to focus on the message and compare that message to the things you hear in the modern transgender community. As someone who is interested in the evolution of our current community, the views, goals and values of this early national organization are certainly interesting to me.
A New TV/TS Society Formed
This is to announce the formation of a new organization dedicated to promoting the interests of transvestites and transexuals. The name of the group is United Transvestite and Transexual Society.
The society is headed by Sussie Collins and who with five other people are dedicated to the interests of our readers.
Sussie received so many cries for help in setting up meetings for people in the field that it seemed the only way to get the job done would be to set up some sort of an organization and this will be accomplished by setting up regional chapters.
As the idea progressed it seemed logical to go all the way into a complete service including free ad publishing in a free monthly newsletter – free information service… setting up a telephone help line service.
In the newsletter it is planned to have help articles and to carry news for all local chapters. A TV consumer report for products relative to the members.
This is not to replace or take over the other TV organizations, but to work hand and hand with them… to make them stronger through publicity and any other means that can be developed through Sussie’s connections with most of the other TV and TS publications.
For instance, Jamie Howell of TVIS, the largest TV – TS organization is one of Sussie Collins’ primary backers in this new group.
SHEMALE will be the official publication of UTTS.
This magazine will be dedicated to real life TV and TS rather than the so called professionals that are featured in most of the other female impersonator magazines.
The UTTS will be supported by contributions only. The contribution will guarantee 12 issues of the UTTS Newsletter and all other services the society offers. The suggested contribution is $12.50 for one year.
Today, terms such as “shemale” and “transvestite” are largely regarded as porn industry buzz words and are generally seen as offensive when used to describe trans people today in America. However, 40 years ago, these terms were commonly used in the American trans community. It’s likely (if history is any indicator) that many of the terms we currently use will be seen as quaint, inaccurate and possibly offensive 40 years from now.
Instead of focusing on outdated terminology, consider the explicit inclusionary vision and goals this national organization had. Consider that while this national organization was forming, there was already another national “TV – TS organization”. Note how this more established organization gave rise to UTTS. How are these very qualities of community reflected in the current trans community?
More on the evolution of a community…
In this 1973 notice, Jamie Howell was referenced as being a significant supporter of UTTS. This provided me with an interesting example of how the various constituent groupings of gender diversity have worked in collaboration to form what is nowadays known as the “transgender community”.
On February 14, 1971, Howell formed the Transvestite Information Service (TVIS) with the support of Reed Erickson Foundation. Reed Erickson, an FTM transsexual, personally approved each new group his Foundation supported. This transsexual-backed organization was one of the first to do some practical research on behalf of the community. For instance, TVIS conducted the first ever national and international survey of local crossdressing ordinances:
While some jurisdictions stonewalled Howell, many did not and our community’s first legal database was created and shared with all trans people.
This is but another historical examples of the evolution of our community:
UTTS went on to form other groups throughout the nation and supported to the Transsexual Action Organization (TAO), which later became an international support organization for transsexual people. TAO went on to inspire Stephen Whittle (another transsexual) to become a significant figure in the formation of the modern transgender community.