Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Women of Transvestia

Thanks to Linda, I recently gained access to 36 back issues of Transvestia published during the time that Virginia Prince was editing the periodical (1960 to 1980).

Transvestia was written by its readers and I am fascinated by the first person accounts contained in the magazine. Reading them, I realize how some things never change. The women of that era had the same fears and emotions that we have today.

Their experiences differed from ours because in that era, society abhorred crossdressing. In most places, you could be arrested for crossdressing. As a result, women were very closeted and only the very brave went out among the civilian population.

In addition to the first person accounts, I absolutely adore the photos that accompany the stories.

This was the era in which I was developing as a young woman, so I have an affinity for the fashions that the women wear in the photos. They usually are in their "Sunday best" because they are photo shooting with film and likely will only take a few shots, which they will sneak on a roll containing innocuous family photos. Unless they had a darkroom, they had to take the film to a camera shop or drug store to be developed and printed. Therefore, they had to look presentable so as not to arouse the suspicion of any civilians handling the film.

By the way, I know one woman who built her own darkroom so she could shoot and print photos of her feminine self to heart's content. I'm sure she was not alone.

In honor of the woman of Transvestia, I am posting a selection of their photos here today and in the future. I hope you will find their images as wonderful as I do.

Femulate via Transvestia
Audrey from New Jersey, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Ramblin' Barbara from Connecticut, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Carolyn from California, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Members of the Los Angeles "Hose and Heels Club," Carolyn, Nancy, Catheryn and Joan, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Catheryn mobile in California, 1961

Dee Ann from Ohio, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Smokin' Doreen from Massachusetts, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Gail from New York, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Gloria and her twin sister from Pennsylvania, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Jane from Kansas, 1961 (Is that her military portrait hanging on the wall?)

Femulate via Transvestia
Louise from Ohio, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Marilyn from California, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Another California girl, Mary, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
New York's Susanna of Casa Susanna fame, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Transvestia cover girl, Terry, 1961

Femulate via Transvestia
Vicki from New York, 1961







The Rocky Twins
The Rocky Twins, Leif and Paal Roschberg, circa 1928

11 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 14, 2016

    Hi Stana,
    I came across this site a few months ago..
    https://archive.org/details/digitaltransgenderarchive?&sort=-downloads&page=1
    If you scroll down until it stops, the site will continue to load.. I remember buying some of those sixties magazines and realising that there were others like me.
    Some wonderful vintage photos there.. my era too. I still love the formality of womens clothes from back then.. That was real style.
    G

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, G. Have computer, will download!

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  2. are the transvestia mags available to see online?

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    Replies
    1. I just did a Google search and did not find any archive of Transvestia magazines.

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  3. Transvestia! That takes me back. When I was a college student in the early 1990s, I found a bunch of bound issues in the library. I spent many hours in that section (it was a journal, so I was not allowed to check them out). It was my first experience with transgender culture, and it felt great to know there were others out there. Some of those photos look familiar, I remember having a crush on Dee Ann. Transvestia was also one of the first to publish TG fantasy fiction, I remember one great story about a woman using hormones to turn her very happy husband into a woman. They also had early TG captions. I remember a clip art of a woman in a dress captioned 'Not that I'm complaining, doctor, but about those pills you gave me for my stomach...'

    Thanks for the (high heeled) stroll down memory lane!

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  4. Stana, I can't remember if I commented previously regarding this when you wrote about Transvestia magazine. Years ago at Southern Comfort Conference, I was sitting in a room waiting for a seminar to start. Just to be polite, I struck up a conversation with the rather elderly transgender woman sitting next to me. Imagine how I felt when I realized I was talking to Virgina Prince.

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  5. Those photos are wonderful. Being your age contemporary I share your interest in the style of those formative years.
    I am always amazed that your muse seems to never run dry. If it does abandon you from time to time I am sure that many of your readers (at least me) would like to see a reprint of some of the old 'first person accounts'.
    Pat

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  6. I sent my Polaroid black & white photo to one of those type of publications in the early 1990's. Full length photo wearing a dress, make up high heel shoes, nylon stockings and a wig. I don't think it was Transvestia though. The photo was published a few months after I sent the photo in to the editor of the publication. The publication printed and sent out from either New York or New Jersey. I saved the issue that had my photo but when I had to move to a different apartment I purged all my crossdressing clothes and the publication my photo was published. The publication was printed like a tabloid and printed on newsprint type paper. The publication was mailed out about every other month.

    I understand that there is a archive of various crossdressing and transgender publications at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. I don't believe the publications can be accessed on-line.

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  7. Dear Stana,

    Ah! The pre-internet days! I bought a number of Transvestia issues through US postal mail and had them delivered to my (necessary back then) private Post Office box. I was a member of Tri-Ess for a number of years, but no longer.

    My Orlando area support group dropped out as a Tri-Ess chapter about a year and half ago after being a chapter for over 20 years. We felt that we weren't getting much benefit from national Tri-Ess, and we didn't like the Tri-Ess restrictions, in that they always prominently "required" members to be heterosexual and not transsexual. Our group membership still is probably made up of more than 50% heterosexual crossdressers, but for years we have been open to anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or being transsexual. We have some gay and possibly bisexual members and some pre-op, non-op, and post-op transsexual members, and we all get along wonderfully.

    www.crossdressflorida.com

    Love,

    Sheila.

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  8. Muchas gracias por compartir!!! Que lindas chicas!!!

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  9. AnonymousJuly 03, 2016

    Ahhh the golden age of crossdressing...stockings and stilletos stiil ruled

    ReplyDelete