Erickson Educational Foundation (EEF)

The Erickson Educational Foundation, a philanthropy created by Reed Erickson, supported a large portion of the Trans+ research and activism being done at the time. Writing to the EEF became a common starting place for many Trans+ people due to the fact that the EEF was able to advertise their contact information with many of the media of the day: radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and educational films.

In 1970, Look Magazine published a piece called “Transsexuals: Male or Female?” Included in the article was a telling statement: “Most doctors and hospitals involved in transsexual problems are reluctant to advertise the fact mainly because they cannot cope with the flood of inquiries certain to follow any such announcement.” Also included was contact information for the Erickson Educational Foundation.

Once the issue hit the stands, the EEF was inundated my mail from Trans+ people hungry for reliable information. To keep up with the outstanding volume, founder of the EEF, Reed Erickson, devised a system to automate a standard manual typewriter. Similar to a player piano, the machine used rolls of perforated tape encoded with the desired template. With the help of Erickson’s ingenuity, partially personalized form letters were typed up in rapid succession, sending out hope to those looking to live as their authentic selves.

One of the biggest impacts the EEF had was through its funding of Trans+ organizations, publications, and initiatives. Here, we see Erickson offering funding to Rupert Raj for the Metamorphosis penile prosthetic device.

In 1978, Joanna Clark and Jude Patton would take over what remained of the EEF, renaming it J2CP. Listen to them discuss this partnership in their oral histories.

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