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Society for the Second Self (1976 -) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Society for the Second Self (1976 -)
Variant Name: Tri-Ess

Historical Note:

Tri-Ess is a non-profit educational, social, and support group for heterosexual cross-dressers, their partners or spouses, and their families. It is international in scope with over thirty chapters in the United States. Tri-Ess is a member of the World Congress of Transgender Organizations and the International Foundation for Gender Education.

The story of Tri-Ess and the growth of its movement owes much to the efforts of Virginia Charles Prince, born Arnold Lowman to an upper-middle class family in Los Angeles during the fall of 1912. Prince, who identified as heterosexual and later preferred she/her/hers pronouns, began wearing women’s clothes at the age of 12. Publicity stemming from Prince's divorce and second marriage inspired other cross-dressers to reach out and led to the formation and development of a support group in Los Angeles. Prince established a national organization known as Full Personality Expression (FPE) in 1962.

In 1971, Carol Beecroft, a former FPE chapter president, left the organization to form the Mamselle Sorority, an "open" group for cross-dressers which later merged with FPE in 1976 to become The Society for the Second Self (Tri-Ess).

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