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International Foundation for Gender Education

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International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) is an American non-profit transgender advocacy organization. The foundation is devoted to "overcoming the intolerance of transvestitism and transsexualism brought about by widespread ignorance."[1]

Founder Merissa Sherrill Lynn states, "The crossdressing and transsexual phenomena have been an integral part of human experience as long as there has been a human experience. These phenomena have manifested themselves in every society and in every walk of life throughout history, and continue to affect the lives of vast numbers of people. Yet, as common as they are, ignorance of them, and the resulting intolerance and fear, continues to cost good people their happiness, their jobs, their families, and their lives. It costs society its neighbors, its friends, and its productive citizens."[2]



The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) was first known as the Tiffany Club in 1978. It eventually became the IFGE when founded by Merissa Sherrill Lynn in 1986. Lynn held the organization’s first convention in 1977.[3] As of 1996, IFGE was one of three national transgender organizations in the United States to have an actual office, and the only transgender organization in the country to have paid staff.[4]

In 1998, the organization almost closed its doors due to financial difficulties.[4] Eventually, the organization would experience major difficulties in the late 2000s which have resulted in the presumed closure of the organization. Disagreement within management and improper restructuring appear to be the causes of said issues. This information comes from the blog of the former editor Dallas Denny.[5]



According to former editor Dallas Denny, IFGE provided the following services:

  1. Annual conferences which allowed transgender individuals to commune and network to build community in-person.
  2. Transgender Tapestry
  3. A phone line and physical center were located in Massachusetts.
  4. A bookstore which provided materials for the community.
  5. The Winslow Street Fund created by Joni Chrissman[5]

Notable Persons


Dallas Denny


Denny was editor for Transgender Tapestry, later leaving the organization to write for Chrysalis Quarterly.[5]

Merissa Sherrill Lynn


Merissa Sherrill Lynn is the founder of IFGE. She was born in 1942 in New Hampshire and grew up there, later receiving her BA in Philosophy from her state's university in 1971 after military service in the early 1960s. IFGE was conceived when she opened her home to the transgender and cross dressing community. She also originated the organization's major publication. Her networking allowed for global education on gender variance. Lynn stepped down from director of the organization after a stroke in 1998. She died in 2017.[6]

Major Publications


Transgender Tapestry


Transgender Tapestry "is a magazine by, for, and about all things trans, including crossdressing, transsexualism, intersexuality, FTM, MTF, butch, femme, drag kings and drag queens, androgyny, female and male impersonation, and more."[7] It ran from 1979-2008, and offered up-to-date media on LGBTQ+ pop culture, specializing in transgender media. Transgender tapestry began as a newsletter called The TV-TS Tapestry by the Tiffany Club. After multiple name and publisher changes was finally called Transgender Tapestry. [7]

Web site


IFGE has offered a Web site containing information for transgender people since 1998. The site was very heavily used by transgender people seeking information on the Internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with respondents to a 2002 survey identifying the site as the "best source on the internet," preferring the site to Google and Yahoo[8] for trans-related information seeking.[7]


  1. ^ Allen, Mariette Pathy (2007-12-01). "Momentum: A photo essay of the transgender community in the United States over 30 years, 1978–2007". Sexuality Research & Social Policy. 4 (4): 92–105. doi:10.1525/srsp.2007.4.4.92. ISSN 1553-6610. S2CID 189931365.
  2. ^ "Site of the month for September" (PDF). Gifts of Speech News. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 February 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  3. ^ "International Foundation for Gender Education - University of Victoria". www.uvic.ca. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  4. ^ a b Denny, Dallas (1996). "Vision 2001: Part 1". AEGIS News. 1 (6): 1–11.
  5. ^ a b c Denny, Dallas (2011). "Dallas Denny's Front Page". Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Merissa Sherrill Lynn, 1942-2017". Transgender Forum. 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  7. ^ a b c "LGBTQ Publications". oac.cdlib.org. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  8. ^ Taylor, Jami (2002). "Targeting the information needs of transgender individuals". Current Studies in Librarianship. 26 (1/2): 85–109 [102].