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"Word of Mouth" How The Trans+ Community Found Itself

900 Numbers

Tranvestia Vol. 2, No. 12 (1961)
FTM Issue 50 (Winter 2001-2002)

During the later half of the 20th century, members of the Trans+ community saw growing opportunities to make contact with one another by writing to the few-and-far-between Trans+ publications available to them. An example of this can be found in the FTM Newsletter, which had a correspondence section called, “the Male Box.”

Similarly, Tranvestia provided its subscribers with a classifieds column called “Person to Person.” While these allowed some degree of far-less-than-immeditate interactivity, the late 1980s saw the arrival of premium-rate telephone numbers, which offered the potential to bring Trans+ people together in a whole new way.

Telephone numbers with the prefix 1-900—also known as “900 numbers”—originated in 1980 when one such number was used as a polling service to collect the public’s thoughts on the Reagan-Carter presidential debate in the United States. Unlike toll-free 1-800 numbers, 900 numbers cost users money to call, often charged by the minute. Over the years, 900 numbers, along with their “976” local version, evolved into a wide range of services. One such number was the telephone meet-and-greet service known as 976-CAMP.

For more about the telephone, browse these pages:

< The Telephone 976-CAMP >