Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Scope and Content
Title: Lynn Edward Harris papers
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2012.137
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Language of Material:
7.3 linear feet.
3 archive boxes + 2 archive binder boxes + 2 archive cartons + 2 archive shoeboxes + 1 oversize flat box.
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1965-2000
Date (inclusive): 1917-2009
Photographs, legal documents, manuscripts, personal and business correspondence, lecture notes, videotapes, audiotapes, clippings,
scrapbooks, floppy disks, memorabilia and other material from actor, lecturer and intersex person, Lynn Edward Harris (1950-
). Born intersexed, Harris was raised female despite being born with ambiguous genitalia. The collection documents Harris
throughout his life, including his transition to living publicly as male, and the subsequent public speaking engagements and
legal challenge to the California Court's refusal to allow him to legally change gender.
Harris, Lynn Edward, 1950-
Lynn Elizabeth Harris was born in the City of Orange, California on September 13, 1950. Harris was born with ambiguous genitalia
and is what is today referred to as intersex, or in more dated terms, "hermaphrodite." Harris was identified as female in
a birth certificate, and was subsequently raised female without medical intervention. Through puberty, Harris did not menstruate,
grew facial hair and had an altered voice; but continued to present as female. Harris wore women's clothing and a padded bra
to appear more feminine, and went on to compete in and win local beauty pageants, including Costa Mesa Junior Miss in 1968.
Upon graduation, Harris left to be an actress and model in Los Angeles. Harris also worked in retail beauty sales, office
work, and later occasionally with prostitution.
In 1973, Harris began undergoing tests and exploratory surgeries. A team of doctors diagnosed Harris with Stein-Leventhal
Syndrome or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Although doctors informed Harris that physical features would further masculinize
over time, Harris reacted by increasing efforts at feminization.
Six years after the diagnosis, and after counseling, Harris decided to begin living as a male. He bought male clothes, let
facial hair grow, and changed his middle name from Elizabeth to Edward. Four years later, he applied to have his birth certificate
re-issued after having difficulty using his female California-issued identification card. The petition was initially rejected
because of a lack of supporting medical evidence. However Harris persisted and eventually the court allowed him to have his
birth certificate re-issued and to have his name legally changed. As such, Harris' case is a legal precedent for those wanting
to change their legal sex without surgery. After his legal battle Harris became a spokesperson for intersex rights, gave lectures,
and appeared frequently on national television and radio programs.
By 2008, Harris was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Box 2, Folder 7, Lynn Edward Harris Papers, Coll2012-137, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of
"Interview With the Hermaphrodite: The many faces of Lynn Harris,"
, October 7, 1999,
"Born True Hermaphrodite - Pictorial Profile," Angelfire,
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical
items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
A portion of the collection was donated directly by Harris, 2008. The remainder of the collection was forwarded from the West
Hollywood Library, where Harris had sent it in 2008.
[Box/folder #, or item name] Lynn Edward Harris Papers, Coll2012-137, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries,
University of Southern California
Collection processed by Joseph R. Hawkins, December 2012.
Scope and Content
This collection comprises photographs, legal documents, manuscripts, personal and business correspondence, lecture notes,
videotapes, audiotapes, clippings, scrapbooks, floppy disks, memorabilia and other materials from actor, lecturer, and intersex
person Lynn Edward Harris (1950- ). The bulk of this collection is related to Harris' personal life and the complications
related to his intersex status, as well as his career as an actor, talk show spokesperson, and amateur writer.
The Personal Materials Series consists of Harris' resumes and work portfolios, vital records and legal documents, scrapbooks,
school report cards and yearbooks, personal correspondence, clippings, medical records and other personal material. The Writings
series consists of Harris' manuscripts and related material--including, notably, multiple versions of Harris' autobiographies
such as "I, the Hermaphrodite," and "More Lives Than One." The Lectures, Articles and Research on Intersex Issues Series consists
of materials related to Harris' public speaking engagements and lecture "A Path of Androgyny," as well as many journal articles
and books of which Harris was the co-writer or subject of research. The Photographs Series consists of hundreds of photographs
of Harris throughout his life, from his childhood years raised as female, through his later years when he began living publicly
as male. The Audiocassettes and Videocassettes Series contains VHS tapes of Harris' various talk show appearances and audiocassettes
of Harris' interviews and lectures. The Trophies and Memorabilia Series comprises awards Harris received in speech contests
and pageants such as Costa Mesa Junior Miss Pageant; as well as other memorabilia, including buttons, ribbons, a sash, and
an inscribed silver cup.
This collection is arranged in the following series:
Series 1. Personal material
Series 2. Writings
Series 3. Lectures, articles and research material on intersex and transgender issues
Series 4. Photographs
Series 5. Audiocassettes and videocassettes
Series 6. Trophies and memorabilia
The following periodicals have been separated from the collection and placed in the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives' Periodicals
Boy's Own, 1998-2003 (6 issues)
GenderFlex, Vol. IV, Issue 23 (1994)
"Guidelines for Transsexuals," Erickson Educational Foundation, September 1976
Hermaphrodites with Attitude, Intersex Society of North America newsletters, 1994-1999
The ICTLEP Reporter, the newsletter of the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy, Inc., November 1995-January 1996
ONE Magazine, March 1959
Our Sorority, An Outreach Publication, Issue 16 (September 1987)
Outreach Beacon, Spring 1987 and Spring-Summer 1988
Renaissance, Volume IV, No. 3 (October 1979)
Subjects and Indexing Terms