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Virginia Prince

Virginia Prince

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Virginia Prince was an American transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

 activist, who published Transvestia magazine and started Society for the Second Self for male heterosexual cross-dressers. She later adopted the pseudonym "Virginia Charles Prince" and preferred female pronouns.

Early life


Born Arnold Lowman in Los Angeles, California, Prince began crossdressing during her late teenage years.

Trans terminology and crossdresser identity


Prince seems to have been the first to use the term transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

, which she used to mean a person who lives full time in a gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 other than the one identified at birth but without surgical body modification, even though she herself underwent surgical body modification, took female hormones, changed her legal name to Virginia and lived full-time as a woman. This is substantially different than what the word would come to mean later, there currently being sometimes very distinct meanings assigned to the expression. She also made many claims about non-fetish
Sexual fetishism
Sexual fetishism, or erotic fetishism, is the sexual arousal a person receives from a physical object, or from a specific situation. The object or situation of interest is called the fetish, the person a fetishist who has a fetish for that object/situation. Sexual fetishism may be regarded, e.g...

istic nature of most crossdressing, asserting instead that it was a display of identity. In discussions with Robert Stoller of UCLA, however, she affirmed that cross-dressing had erotic aspects.

Prince is also well known for her adamant criticism of the transsexual strategy and Gender Identity disorder
Gender identity disorder
Gender identity disorder is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe persons who experience significant gender dysphoria . It describes the symptoms related to transsexualism, as well as less severe manifestations of gender dysphoria...

, believing that sex reassignment surgery
Sex reassignment surgery
Sex reassignment surgery is a term for the surgical procedures by which a person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble...

 was unnecessary.

Prince died aged 96 on 2 May 2009.

Further reading

  • Bullough, Vern, and Bonnie Bullough. Cross Dressing, Sex, and Gender. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993: chapter 12.
  • Prince, Virginia. Understanding Cross-Dressing. Los Angeles: Chevalier Publications, 1976.
  • _____. The Transvestite and His Wife. Los Angeles: Argyle Books, 1967.
  • Richard F Docter. From Man to Woman: The Transgender Journey of Virginia Prince. Docter Press xiv, 149 pp 2004.
  • Richard Ekins & Dave King (eds). Virginia Prince: Pioneer of Transgendering. Haworth Press Inc., Paperback: 65 pages 2006. Essays about and by Virginia Prince.

External links