Fonds AR421 - Rikki Swin Institute transgender collection

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Rikki Swin Institute transgender collection

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the collection

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7 m of textual records and graphic material

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Biographical history

The Rikki Swin Institute: Gender Education, Research, Library and Archives (RSI) opened in Chicago and was the world’s first institute dedicated to transgender research and education. It opened to the public on March 22, 2001, to coincide with the 15th Annual Conference of the International Foundation for Gender Education. The Institute closed in December 2004. The Institute had four objectives: the housing of a library and archives; conference co-sponsorship; digital video education; and research. Archival collections were purchased from Ari Kane, Betty Ann Lind, the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), and Virginia Prince.

Name of creator

Biographical history

The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) is a non-profit advocacy organization founded in November 1986 by Merissa Sherill Lynn. It was established to promote understanding of transvestitism and transsexualism. The IFGE developed out of an earlier organization, the Tiffany Club, which was officially founded 1978. In 1986, the IFGE took over the international services and the Tiffany Club was reformed into a local support group serving the New England area. IFGE elected a board of directors, which took office at first IFGE convention in 1987.

The IFGE operates as a communication medium, an outreach and educational tool, and a unifying factor for the transvestite and transsexual (TV/TS) community. It provides support and channels funds and information to TV/TS groups, and it provides educational information to TV/TS people, to persons directly affected by them, to professional communities and to the general public. The IFGE publishes the TV-TS Tapestry Journal and special topic publications, holds an annual "coming together" convention, and provides a speakers bureau and library on TV/TS issues.

The IFGE is managed by a board of 21 members plus a number of alternates elected from the TV/TS Community at large. Members of the board serve as officers or coordinators on IFGE committees. Each committee in turn works with local organizations on specific projects. The administration is based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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Betty Ann Lind was born in 1931. She was an original board member of IFGE, and served the organization for a number of years in various capacities, including its Programs and Nominations Committees. She received the Virginia Prince Award, the Outreach Institute for Gender Studies’ Achievement Award, and Miss Fantasia Fair. She was also involved in Reluctant Press Publishers and the editor of My Sorority, an early transgender newsletter.
Lind was the founder of the Delta Chi Tri-ESS chapter of Washington, DC in the early 1970s, the predecessor to the TransGender Educational Association of Greater Washington (TGEA)
She attended the second Fantasia Fair, held in Provincetown Massachusetts, in 1976. She became a member of the Board of Director to the Fair's sponsor, the Outreach Institute in 1982 and later in 1985 became the Fair Coordinator and served in that capacity until 1991. She died March 4, 1998 at Sibley Hospital, Washington, DC. (Source: Betty Ann Lind obituary

Name of creator

Biographical history

Merissa Sherrill Lynn joined the Fantasia Fair staff in 1976 and took a leadership role in the Cherrystone Club in Boston. Merissa hosted the first meeting of Tiffany Club in 1977 and was its director for the first nine years. In 1978 she developed a long-range plan with the intent to build an international service network. She founded NACD Inc. (National Association of Cross Dressers), an investment corporation in service to the trans community, and was responsible for acquiring the community’s first group housing and retreat. She helped found the TV/TS Tapestry Journal and Tapestry Publications and was its Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief.
In 1986, Lynn founded the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE), an American non-profit transgender advocacy organization and devoted to “overcoming the intolerance of transvestitism and transsexualism brought about by widespread ignorance.” The first IFGE convention was held in Chicago in March 1987. In 1988, she became the second recipient of the IFGE’s Dr. Virginia Prince Award. She founded the “Coming Together – Working Together” convention and was its Director. She was IFGE Director until 1995 and subsequently was granted honorary board membership for life. Lynn lectured publicly for 15 years, appeared many times on television and radio, and has written many educational articles, including The Directory of Terms, a standard booklet for the Educational Resources Committee of the IFGE. She travelled to Trinidad, Colorado for sex reassignment surgery in July 1991. In 2002, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tiffany Club’s annual transgender conference, “First Event.”

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Ari Kane, also known as Ariadne Kane, was born Joseph DeMaios in New York on 12 January 1936. In 1958 he received a Bachelor of Science in Biophysics, Mathematics and Chemistry at City College, New York., and undertook graduate work in biophysics at New York University and University of Buffalo. Ari Kane holds a doctorate of Education from Institute for Advanced Study of Sexuality and is an assistant professor of sexology at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. He also runs Theseus Counseling Services which specializes in gender issues.<p>Joseph DeMaios worked for many years as a Math and Physics teacher. In 1966 he moved to Europe, where he taught at St. Stephen’s School in Rome, from 1966-67, and at the American College of Switzerland in Leysin, from 1967-68. He moved from teaching to curriculum design and implementation, working in 1968 and 1969 for Educational Technical Services in Rome, developing curriculum for teaching conversation and translation of English.</p><p>After his return to the United States, he started his own educational consulting business, Educational Dynamics in 1970. Educational Dynamics offered services in the areas of facilities, planning, curriculum development, educational media and international education. From 1971 to 1975 he held a variety of teaching positions, and developed curriculum for technical courses including “How to prepare cosmetics in the Home” for cosmetology students. He also worked for Aquarius Travel, on design and implementation of a travel education program. He then created his own travel and adventure business, Explorers “A” Travel, specializing in guided historical and cultural tours in a number of countries.</p><p>After his return to the United States Joseph DeMaios began to look for others who were interested in crossdressing. He found a support group for crossdressers in the Greater Boston area and began to feel more confident about his crossdressing; “Ariadne Kane” was born. Kane’s “emergence from the closet” occurred in 1971. Eventually DeMaios was able to tell his fiancée about his crossdressing, and married Norma Baldani in June 1973.</p><p>Ariadne Kane oversaw the restructuring and relocation of the support group, which was renamed the Tiffany Club (later the Cherrystone Club, then the Mayflower Club). In 1975 she founded the Human Outreach and Achievement Institute, an organization dedicated to public education and to working with the health professionals who serve the community. In the early 1980s it was renamed the Outreach Institute for Gender Studies (OIGS) and its Board of Directors was established. The purpose of OIGS is “to advance the understanding of gender identity and role development with a special focus on alternative gender lifestyles.” OIGS published the Outreach Newsletter and the Journal of Gender Studies (1991-1995), and provides educational materials to the public, to TV/TS individuals and groups, and to medical professionals.</p><p>Kane also founded Fantasia Fair, an annual gathering of crossdressing men, their partners, and medical and other professionals working with the transgender and transsexual community, held in Provincetown Massachusetts. Still an annual event, the first Fantasia Fair was held in 1975. It was organized by OIGS until 2002. Kane also founded the Outreach Professional Evaluation and Referral Network (OPERN), an intake, evaluation, referral and counselling service for people with gender issues. She appeared on The Phil Donohue Show in January 1980. In 1989, Kane became the third recipient of the International Foundation for Gender Education’s Dr. Virginia Prince Award.</p><p>Since the late 1970s, Ari Kane has used a number of different names and both male and female gender pronouns in his personal life, activist work, publishing and employment. As well as his birth name, Joseph DeMaios, he has been known variously as J. Ari Kane-Demaios, Ariadne Kane, Ariadne Maria Kane and Dr Ari Kane.</p>

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Virginia Prince was born in Los Angeles on 23 November 1912, and began crossdressing at the age of twelve. Prior to transition Prince attended Pomona College and earned a PhD in pharmacology from the University of California at San Francisco in 1939, and later lectured there in pharmacology. Prior to transition, Prince married in 1941, later divorced and married a second time in the late 1940s. The couple founded a grooming products business.

In 1960 Prince founded <i>Transvestia</i> magazine, published six times per year. <i>Transvestia</i> was edited by Prince until 1980 and then sold to Carol Beecroft. It folded within two years and was replaced by <i>Femme Mirror,</i> which is still published. In 1961 Prince started the first transvestite organization, the Hose & Heels Club, which in 1962 became the Alpha Chapter of the Foundation for Full Personality Expression (FPE or Phi Pi Epsilon). FPE became the Society for the Second Self (Tri Ess or Tri Sigma) in 1975. Membership was restricted to heterosexual male crossdressers.

Prince’s career in transgender education activism began in 1961 when she was prosecuted for distributing obscene materials through the US Mail because she had exchanged sexually explicit letters with another crossdresser. She was given probation and was forbidden to crossdress. Prince’s lawyer requested permission for her to crossdress for the purpose of educational presentations. Prince began living full-time as a woman in 1968, at the age of 55. Prince published a number of important works on crossdressing, amongst them The Transvestite and His Wife (1967) and How To Be a Woman Though Male (1971). While Prince’s stance on crossdressing in relation to gender identity has been controversial, her work raised societal awareness and fostered a sense of community. Virginia Prince died at home on May 2, 2009. Virginia Prince was also known as Virginia Bruce, Arnold Lowman, and Charles Prince.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Rikki Swin Institute transgender collection consists of the following fonds: Rikki Swin Institute fonds, Ari Kane fonds, International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) fonds, and the Virginia Prince fonds. The IFGE fonds includes material from Betty Ann Lind and Merissa Sherrill Lynn.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by the Rikki Swin Institute in 2007. Precise dates of RSI’s acquisitions of Kane, IFGE, Lind and Prince material is unknown.


Beyond the file order in the shipping boxes, the material was received without a distinct arrangement from RSI. The various creators’ original order is not clear. Selection within the RSI Collection was based on relevance to transgender issues, and duplicates, publications unrelated to transgender issues, and non-record material were removed. Selections were made from RSI Library’s monographs and periodicals for inclusion in the UVic Library Main and Special Collections, these included books from Virginia Prince and the extensive IFGE newsletter collection. Some publications remain filed with the archival materials. There is overlap amongst IFGE, Betty Ann Lind and Merissa Sherrill Lynn material; as Lind and Lynn were key figures in the Foundation, these materials are described collectively as the IFGE fonds.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

Access to confidential personal information of identifiable individuals, other than above named creators and public figures, is subject to a research agreement to protect personal privacy. Confidential files include counseling case files, Fantasia Fair registration information, unsolicited correspondence to records creators, and RSI Transperson Surveys.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Complete file list available with folder-level description, and in many cases, item-level description, particularly for interfiled publications.

Associated materials

For more information on UVic Archives transgender-related holdings, please visit
In addition to published materials included in this archival collection, UVic Libraries holds over 1000 monographs and periodicals related to transgenderism, transsexualism, cross dressing, transvestism, gender identity and related subjects. These are available from Special Collections (non-circulating) and the Main Library, and include the major gift of published materials from Rikki Swin: search via UVic Libraries Catalogue at or view/download the July 2012 title list at

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Video and audio recordings selection is in progress

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Some counseling files and publications contain sexually explicit material

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Revised by the University Archivist, 24 August 2011

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