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AEGIS News Issues (1994-1998)

AEGIS News Issues (1994-1998)

©2013 bv Dallas Denny

AEGIS News was the newsletter of the nonprofit American Educational Gender Information Service, which I founded in 1990. I designed, wrote, edited, laid out, and published some 13 issues, all of which were distributed internationally. Below, you can read more about AEGIS News, read the issues in PDF format, and read my editorials.


About AEGIS News

AEGIS News was published from 1994 through 1998. It served as a conduit for AEGIS to communicate with its members. It contained news about AEGIS and national and international news about trans issues, editorials, letters to the editor, and feature articles—and my multi-part analysis of the state of the transgender community and concerns for its future.

Select the AEGIS tab at the top of the screen to view AEGIS’ many other publications. Click below to read AEGIS News issues or click the bottommost button to view articles that appeared in its pages. Editorial content is at the bottom of this page.



AEGIS News No. 1, May 1994 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 2, September 1994 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 3, March 1995 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 4, June 1995 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 5, November 1995 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 6, January 1996 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 7, April 1996 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 8, September 1996 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 9, December 1996 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 10, May 1997 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 11, August1997 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 12, October 1997 (PDF)

AEGIS News No. 13, April1998 (PDF)


AEGIS News Articles


Editorial Material

A Word from the Editor, No. 1 (Text)

Copyright 1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

 Source: Dallas Denny. (1994, September). A word from the editor. AEGIS News, No. 2, p. 8.


A Word From the Editor

By Dallas Denny


You’re holding the second issue of AEGIS News, our newsletter. We hope you like it.

We’ve been producing the prestigious Chrysalis Quarterly for four years, but CQ’s theme-oriented approach has not given us a forum to tell the community about our many accomplishments. And so, AEGIS News.

We’ll be using AEGIS News to tell you about what we’re doing and what we will be doing in the future. Once we’re caught up on all the things we’ve been wanting to tell you, we’ll be including more news about other transgender organizations and open­ing discussion on topics that we feel need to be brought to the community’s atten­tion. The issue of inclusion, for instance, is a critical one, and one not often dis­cussed.

Remarkable things are happening in the work! of gender. Old notions of transgen­dered persons as “sick” and transsexual­ism and crossdressing as disorders are falling by the wayside. Post-operative transsexual people and crossdressers are questioning the tidy little boxes in which they have been placed by the medical pro­fession (and in which we persuaded them to place us), and dichotomous notions of male and female anatomy and behavior are giving way to new conceptions which allow transgendered persons to just be them­selves rather than forcing themselves into boxes in which they do not comfortably fit.

For many years transgendered persons were invisible in society and invisible to each other. In the second half of the twentieth century, we have been growing increasingly visible, both to nontransgen­dered persons, and to each other. With this familiarity has come understanding. To many, we may be freaks and curiosities, but to each other, and to those who have taken the time and trouble to know us, we have become people not unlike others.In many ways, this has been the decade of the transgendered. Out of isolation, a community has been born. For the first time in history (so far as we know), large numbers of transgendered persons are able to share information and emotions and offer support to each other.

But how tenuous is this web! It is threat­ened by the forces of the inappropriately named religious right, by separatist femi­nists, by government intrusion in our lives, by sadly out-of-touch physicians and thera­pists who would cure us of what most of us consider to be a blessing, by our own guilt and shame, and perhaps most of all by our apathy, our unwillingness to help our brothers and sisters byourgood words and our good deeds and with our money.

Our community did not come about because of magic. It did not sponta­neously happen. It arose because of acts of incredible self-sacrifice and caring by pioneers like Virginia Prince, Christine Jorgensen, Ariadne Kane, Merissa Sheriill Lynn, and Sister Mary Elizabeth. Most became leaders by default— because someone had to. They were thrust into positions of responsibility, and were honor­able enough, and conscientious enough, to work long hours for many years bringing others along. If you are reading this, then you are a child, a grandchild, or perhaps a great-grandchild of Virginia, or Christine, or Ari, or Sister Mary, or Merissa, or one of the other pioneers of our community.

Because there was no payoff— no money, no glory, just lots of hard, thankless work— some of our pioneers have given and given until they have been very nearly used up. Others have taken their place, but it is inevitable that they, too, will eventually burn out.

Every movement needs pioneers, and perhaps even martyrs, but from those pio­neers and martyrs organizations must grow. it is time for us to blend our voices in a common song so that we will be heard; it is time that we formally band together not just for mutual support, but to fight for our rights, to combat defamation, to reach out to those still drowning in fear and guilt, and to compile and disseminate quality information so that we can make our true nature known to ourselves and others. It is time that we show an organized and pro­fessional face, to let the world know we are a serious people with a serious purpose.

We at AEGIS have been constructing a framework which can allow that to happen. But before it does, we must have a com­munity which can work together for our common good. So long as we remain dependent upon individuals rather than organizations, we are only one car wreck, one illness, one burnout away from disas­ter.

Whether you chose to support AEGIS, IF GE, Tri-Ess, or another organization, please give your time and money. Remember the confusion you once felt, and multiply it by the tens of thousands that we are not reaching because of lack of funds for advertising, for postage, for equipment, for telephones.

Consider this: For every $1500 AEGIS receives, we will be able to do something which will provide concrete benefits for our community— hold a conference, pub­lish a book, establish a permanent address on the Internet, mail 1500+ packages of information, fund a research project, pro­vide legal aid to someone who is fighting injustice, buy a much-needed photocopier or other piece of equipment We pay no salaries, pay no rent, have no overhead or hidden expenses. Every dollar goes for something concrete, something real. But we do not have enough dollars to fully fund our existing projects or begin new pro­jects. It’s very frustrating to be so very close to making things happen and yet having to postpone plans because we need money for postage and printing fees.

Please help us help others. Find it in your heart to make a contribution today, and remember us in the future. Your money will be well spent.

Letter to the Editor, No. 3 (Text)

AEGIS News, March, 1995, No. 3, p. 5


Dear Editor:

In issue No. 2 of AEGIS News there is an advertisement for a publication published by Riki Anne Wilchins called In Your Face! which falsely accuses me of “banning” it in Kansas City. I consider your acceptance of advertising for this publication to be highly irresponsible not only because it contains deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, but also because it is clearly intended to malign me and the magazine which I publish and edit, TransSisters: The Journal of Transsexual Feminism.

The word “ban” means to prevent from being distributed. Clearly, I am in no position to “ban” this publication or any other; I have no way to prevent anyone from publishing or distributing whatever material they wish to publish or distribute. This is not merely a matter of interpretation; this is an instance of deliberate misstatement of the facts, To refuse to accept advertisement for something is not the same as “banning” it. This is a distinction that I would expect you as a fellow publisher and editor to understand. I have noticed that the writers’ guidelines for Chrysalis Quarterly state that “the editors reserve the right to refuse submissions which do not meet our editorial or aesthetic standards” I don’t think you would appreciate it very much if someone were to take out an ad in another publication claiming that you had “banned” her because you decided not to publish something by her that did not meet those standards.

By making the claim that In Your Face! is now so politically incorrect we’re banned in Kansas City,” its publisher, Riki Anne Wilchins, is trying to portray this situation as an attempt on my part to suppress opinions which I do not agree with. An objective examination of the facts proves that is not the case at all. My publication, TransSisters, has published a very great number of opinions that I am in absolute disagreement with, including many expressed by Ms. Wilchins herself.

TransSisters states very clearly in every issue that it reserve the right to refuse advertisement which is deceptive, is in poor taste, or which is contrary to its goals and purposes. I decided to exercise my prerogative as editor and publisher of TransSisters to refuse to accept advertisement for In Your Face! because Ms. Wilchins has shown a demonstrated track record of engaging in distortion of the facts as well as of falsely impugning the motives and character of other individuals, both within and outside of our community. Ms. Wilchins’ claim that I have somehow “banned” her is but another example of the kind of factual distortion and impugning of the character and motives of others that she has demonstrated a propensity for engaging in.

My decision to refuse to allow TransSisters to he used as a platform to promote publications which engage in this kind of activity was a RESPONSIBLE decision. Unfortunately, AEGIS News has decided not to exercise the same degree of responsibility. Your decision to accept advertising for this publication is especially irresponsible considering that it was pointed out to you before it was published that it contains deliberately misleading information as well as expresses malicious intent toward me.

The fact that this accusation was included in an advertisement in no way absolves you of responsibility. The publication of information which is presented as a factual statement, rather than as an opinion, and which is known to be false or even misleading and which clearly expresses malicious intent not only constitutes libel, but is also a violation of existing truth in advertising laws. Since it was pointed out to you that this information is false and that it clearly does express malicious intent, I can see no way that the publication of this advertisement can be considered responsible in any way. I am sorely disappointed in AEGIS for accepting this ad; I had come to expect greater integrity from AEGIS than this.


Davina Anne Gabriel, Publisher/Editor

TransSisters: The Journal of Transsexual Feminism

We’ve reprinted the advertisement in question on the outside back cover of this issue.

The opinions and political views of Riki Anne Wilchins are highly controversial, and that is well and good What concerns us is that many people in the community, Davina included, are attacking her personally for her views. The fact is; Davina did ban In Your Face!, not because she has any official authority to do so, but because she refused to run the ad and attempted to influence others— AEGIS included— to not run it either.

Davina has accused AEGIS of being irresponsible for running Riki Anne’s ad. In fact, it was because we were responsible that we ran it. We were concerned that because of Davina’s actions the ad wouldn’t appear elsewhere (so far, to our knowledge, it hasn’t). After considerable soul-searching, we decided to run the ad in the interest of free speech.

We’d like to point out that to this date there have been no issues of In Your Face! Davina’s actions against this magazine, sight unseen, are clear indication of her antagonism towards Riki Anne.

There have been other instances of anti-Riki sentiment, as well. Riki’s presence at the Southern Comfort conference last fall was highly controversial— not because she had made threats to disrupt the conference, but because she is Riki Anne Wilchins.

To those who position themselves as opponents of Riki Anne, we would like to say that if you oppose her because she has done something outrageous, then we will stand with you. But we will support her right to be outrageous. — AEGIS News

Letters to the Editor, No. 4 (Text)

AEGIS News, June, 1995, No. 4, p. 8


The editorial “Vaginal Politics” in the last issue of AEGIS News has so far resulted in a much-needed $500 donation, on the condition that we distribute the article as widely as possible—and two negative letters. We are printing one, but not the second, which comes from one of the “genetic women friends” to which Cynthia showed the article, and is primarily a personal attack on the author.

I would like to note at this time that the author of the unattributed quotations in “Vaginal Politics” was Linda Phillips, Cynthia’s partner. I had hoped to avoid naming her, but that is no longer possible. For those who might not know, Cynthia and Linda Phillips are the driving force behind the Texas “T” Party and San Antonio’s Boulton & Park Society.


Dear Dallas:

I read your article “Vaginal Politics” in the AEGIS News. I want you to know that I was deeply offended by this. The first part of your article is nothing a woman would write. I consider this pure fantasy, which feeds the fires of the wannabees. I have shown this article to a number of my genetic women friends, and they also were deeply offended.

If you want to attack Linda for trying to keep fantasy about this wonderful operation (it takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to tell people what they don’t want to hear), so be it. But please cut out the disrespect for womanhood.

If you want to attack someone, go after some of the professional care-givers. I could give you first-hand accounts would make your hair curl.

Women such as myself and Linda have spent many hours, days, months, and years LISTENING to these people. We DO CARE.

—Cynthia Phillips

First, there is nothing whatsoever of fantasy in the opening paragraphs of “Vaginal Politics.” It is my personal experience with having a vagina, a part of my body that gives me great delight.

In the interest of accuracy, “genetic” women like Anais Nin have certainly celebrated their own body parts in writings similar to my opening paragraphs. I don’t find it disrespectful of womanhood to write in praise of sensations from one’s own body.

Second, I cannot be insulted, shamed, or silenced by comparing me to “real” women. I am proud of my transsexual origins and do not aspire to “genetic” status. Addressing ideological differences by implying that I should pattern myself by what “real” women say and think is a cheap trick, and one which will not work on a woman who is unashamed of her transsexualism.

What is at stake here, however, is not whether transsexual women and men are “real” or not. The issue at hand is whether we as a community wish to educate people so they can make up their own minds about changing their bodies, or whether we wish to promote our own particular solutions to dealing with gender issues. I wrote “Vaginal Politics” because some in the community have taken it as their mission to “save” as many people as possible from genital surgery, and have been very vocal about it. This proselytizing is almost invariably accompanied by insulting depictions of transsexual people as being stubborn, selfish, and less than rational, and a skewed picture of what life is like after surgery. It’s a defamation of an entire class of people and it is entirely unwarranted. And it was to point out that this is being done that I wrote “Vaginal Politics.” The first couple of paragraphs were meant to get everyone’s attention—which they certainly seem to have succeeded in doing. But perhaps you and your “genetic” friends should re-read the article, this time concentrating on the message and not the messenger.

When you accuse me of attacking Linda for trying to keep fantasy out of this “wonderful operation,” you are not only revealing your true feelings about SRS by your use of quotation marks around the words wonderful, but accusing me of something I did not do and would not wish to do—attack either you or Linda. Like both of you, and alongside you, I have long labored to make sure that those considering sex reassignment know the risks and have a realistic expectation of what they can and cannot expect from surgery. However, I am not interested in concentrating entirely on the negatives, or of dissuading anyone from having surgery, and I do not intend to sit idly by when others do it.

I certainly don’t wish to discredit you and Linda for worrying about people who are unrealistic in their beliefs and approaches to SRS. I share your concerns, as you well know. However, when Linda consistently writes that one cannot be well-adjusted or happy if one has surgery, or be in full possession of one’s faculties if one ever wants it is bound to cause commentary.

And finally, while there have certainly been instances of caregivers being less than helpful, or even harmful, to those in our community, it has rarely been because of bad intentions. Once again, the answer is education, and not slamming people – Ed.

Executive Director's Page, No. 7 (Text)

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1996, April). Executive Director’s Page, AEGIS News, V. 1, No. 7, p. 10.


Executive Director’s Page

The proof pages of this issue of AEGIS News will chase the pages for Chrysalis to our printer in Mississippi. That means that in about ten days UPS will deliver eight or nine big boxes of folded pages which must be collated, placed inside the covers which will be shipped to us from somewhere in Pennsylvania, and stapled. Eleven hun­dred copies of the assembled magazine must then be loaded into a car or truck and taken to a local printer for trim­ming, and then picked up and brought back to the office so they can be stuffed into envelopes which will be bundled for bulk mail. The big stack of bags which results will then be driven to the post office, from where they will start their journey to you, our gentle reader, and hopefully, our member.

The printer would happily collate the pages of Chrysalis, but the cost is high—almost a dollar an issue. Collating AEGIS News would be less expensive, but still expensive enough. And so, a total of six times a year, twice for Chrysalis, and four times for AEGIS News, we call upon the local transgender community, including our members who live in the Atlanta area, to help us with this large but necessary task. Usually, vol­unteers come through, but occasionally everyone seems to have other commitments and the bulk of the work falls to two or three people, and sometimes to myself alone. Many has been the time when I sat far into the night, collating pages, watch­ing television, and taking help line calls.

All of this is very far from what I thought publishing a magazine would be like, but I’ve come to love being involved in the physical production of the materi­als, even as I am frustrated because of the delay lost to assembling them. There’s something magical in seeing the loose pages turn into a polished, finished prod­uct.

I continue, after eight years, to work cheerfully (usually), with no signs of burnout (although I have been fantasiz­ing quite a bit about a year in the National Parks, away from ringing phones), but the burden has grown too much for one human being to do alone—and especially for someone who has a full-time job. There are simply not enough hours in the day to do everything which must be done to run this organiza­tion.

We’ve been slowly adding person­nel, and that makes me very happy. The last thing I want is to be one of those founding directors who tries to do every­thing herself. My proudest day will come when I know AEGIS can survive without me. My goal, strange as it may seem, is to become nonessential.

AEGIS has slowly grown into an organization. We’ve had a regular Tuesday night crew of late, which fills orders, answers the telephone, and does other jobs which would otherwise fall to AEGIS’ unpaid Executive Director—namely, me. It’s been gratifying to see others become involved. We have an active Board which was until recently headed most ably by JoAnn Roberts, and is now chaired by Marisa Richmond, founder of the wonderful Tennessee Vals support group. We have a Chief Financial Officer (Dr. Erin Swenson), office volunteers (Donna Johnston, Carl Tripp, and Franki and Reba Bernardo), and, in the person of Paulette Stevens, a Head Librarian for the National Transgender Library & Archive.

We are moving toward the land­mark day when we can open our own office. We’ve been looking at space, but with the Olympics only three months away, rents are at a premium. We need to find a space large enough to house our operations, including the rapidly grow­ing National Transgender Library & Archive, at a price we can afford. And, however inexpensive the rent is, we need to be able to pay it on time— finances are difficult for nonprofits, as anyone who has worked for one knows.

AEGIS does important work. We provide people all over the world with top quality information and referrals and publish the best journal and newslet­ter we possibly can, without a “you must have surgery” or “you mustn’t have surgery” agenda. I hope the organization can survive in the long run, which means without me. I know many of our mem­bers are ready and willing to help, but, since we as yet have no conference of our own, getting everyone together poses a bit of a problem. But the day will come when the members, and not myself, must be the strength of this organization.

That doesn’t hold true only for AEGIS, of course. The other national transgender organizations are struggling as well, facing the same money and labor problems as AEGIS. Perhaps the day will come when one or more of the nationals will merge. That would require a mas­sive setting-aside of egos, of course, some­thing which is relatively rare in the course of human events. A merger would be advantageous, for even if there is not enough transgender money to support sev­en organizations, there certainly is enough to support one or two. I would like to see such a merger. I only hope that any new organization which rises, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of its prede­cessors, will be lean and efficient, and dedicated to serving everyone in the transgender community without forcing any particular ideological perspective down their throats, and without becoming a black hole into which the community pours its money.

Considering our coverage of late of the newly risen transgender political movement, I expect some readers of this newsletter think that AEGIS has taken a political bent. That’s not strictly true. The political awakening of this commu­nity is not unlike the Stonewall riots of the late ’60s, which saw the birth of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement. It is a happening of great importance, and we would be remiss not to cover it as we have done.

AEGIS remains primarily interest­ed in the welfare of our members, and of transgendered and transsexual persons who are not our members. That means fighting not only for our right to medi­cal treatment, but our right to have jobs, to be free from persecution, and to partic­ipate as full members of society. The transgender political movement gives us exciting new tools to add to our arma­mentum.

Vision 2001, our look at the gender community and tranhgender and transsexual phenomena, continues with this issue of AEGIS News. In our lead story, Jessica Xavier takes an honest look at political issues by examining the finances of the organizations of the gay and lesbian community. In the next issue, we will look at the amazingly good work being done by local support groups and individuas across the U.S. and throughout the world. Future issues will address the state of the helping professions, literature, and the media. The series will conclude with an overview and the opinions of our readers about where we are in these closing years of the XXth century.