Virginia Prince

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Although sources crediting her with inventing the term ‘transgender’ may be mistaken, Virginia Prince was a pivotal figure in 20th century American trans and crossdressing circles. Following her arrest for transvestisism, Prince – a pharmacologist with access to rare for the time medical documents on gender variance – founded the first club for male transvestites, followed by a journal that lasted twenty years and a number of other branching societies. Her advice on gender variance was taken by Dr. Harry Benjamin, among others, and became a source of conflict between her and the transgender community because her works did not include heterosexual trans women and denounced gender reassignment surgery, which she herself declined to get.

Although Prince refused the label of transsexual, she lived as a woman and used female pronouns from her mid-50s to her death; for that reason, she is categorized here as both a transvestite (her preference) and transgender.

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