S. Kristine James wanted to promote the Richard Doctor session on Virginia Prince at The Empire Conference, so she said “This is the person who invented the word transgender.”
No. The research shows that by the time The Prince started using that kind of word in the early 1980s, groups like Renaissance Transgender Association in Philadelphia and TGIC in Albany were already using the term Transgender.
I personally heard The Prince talk about it. “Transgenderist! Transgenderist! It’s describes a person who crosses gender but not sex! Not a transsexual, but a transgenderist! But never transgender! It’s not a modifier, an adjective or adverb! It’s a term! Transgender no, Transgenderist, yes!”
Why did The Prince create that term? Because they knew that the term crossdresser no longer described them, and the word transsexual would never describe them. No genital surgery for The Prince! But wanting to be seen as a woman, not just a man in a dress? Heck yes!
Kristine said that there was quite a ruckus in the care facility that Virginia ended up in. They had the paperwork; The Prince was a man. And they knew how men should dress and be addressed. Not The Prince, though. Not after 40 years of battle on that front.
Crossdressing is about changing your clothes, for whatever reason. Rudy Guliani was known for crossdressing on stage during his years as mayor, for example. But he never wanted to be seen as a woman, never want to claim womanhood, never wanted to experience the world as a woman or for the world to experience Rudy as a woman.
The Prince wanted that. More than crossdressing. If anyone was an advanced crossdresser, it was The Prince, but they wanted more. They knew it wasn’t just the dress, the vestments, the clothes that they wanted to change, it was their gender, even if they were clear that they couldn’t change sex.
I spoke to a gal who was on the registration table for The Empire Conference. She could be classed as a crossdresser, I guess, living mostly as a man with primary custody of her kids, including a ten year old girl. She isn’t full time, and her dress is still a bit shiny and candy colored.
“I watched the crossdressers come to the conference,” she told me, “at the sessions and the gala, and it’s great that they had a place they feel safe to dress up. It’s just that I already have a place where I feel safe, and it’s called the world.”
She’s not totally gender shifted, but she knows that her expression is about gender and not about clothes. Not a crossdresser, I would say, but a transgenderist.
Transgenderist. That’s the term The Prince claimed for an expression that wasn’t just changing your clothes, but instead, expressing a deeper gender identity.
Just not transgender, never transgender. At least, not to The Prince.