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

Society for the Second Sex (Tri-Ess)

Based on Virginia Prince’s original crossdressing organization, the Hose & Heels Club, the Society for the Second Self (aka Tri-Ess) was founded on a sorority-type structure. Tri-Ess had multiple chapters around the world, although mostly in North America. Many of these chapters put out their own newsletters and publications. Much like Virginia’s other projects, Tri-Ess was limited to self-described male heterosexual crossdressers. Through Transvestia’s “Person to Person” section, members of Tri-Ess were able to write letters to one another using coded mailboxes and aliases.

Jude Patton Discussing Tri-Ess - December 19, 2019

Jude Patton remembers being invited to Virginia Prince’s Tri-Ess meetings, despite being a trans man. Listen to him describe the organization, and others like it.

Tri-Ess released this booklet in 1993 to explain who they were and what their mandate was. Note how it describes other forms of crossdressing such as drag and female impersonation.

What is Tri-Ess Pamphlet (1993)

Not everyone was supportive of Tri-Ess’s exclusion of gay crossdressers. In this letter to Betty Ann Lind, Nikki Bee vents her frustration with the views Tri-Ess had, as an organization, about the gay community.

Letter from Nikki Bee

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