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    AC Benus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Great Mirror of Same-Sex Love - Prose - 79. Tom Cook "A Trans Pioneer"

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Biography of a Transgender Pioneer

 

Doctor Alan Hart, public health physician and man of letters, [has] inspired scores of Transgender activists with his story of courage and adaptation in the face of adversity. Public attention was first brought to Hart’s extraordinary life with the 1976 publication of Jonathan Ned Katz’s Gay American History. Katz reprinted Hart’s autobiographical account, which had first been published in 1920 by Hart’s psychiatrist and professor, Dr. Joshua Allen Gilbert, as a case study of [then so-called] “female sexual inversion” [meaning ‘her’ Gayness]. In his second book, published in 1983, Katz revealed the later identity of Lucille Hart as Dr. Alan L. Hart, a successful physician, author of four novels, and married man. Years before Christine Jorgensen, Hart had used modern medical surgery to assist in his own gender transformation. Forced to hide this transformation during his own lifetime, Hart was retrospectively validated during the 1990s through a reinterpretation that shifted his identity from Lesbian […] to Transgender hero.

Hart was born Lucille Alberta Hart in Halls Summit, Kansas, the daughter of Alan L. Hart and Edna Bamford. In 1891 Hart’s father, a successful merchant in Halls Summit, died in a typhoid fever epidemic, forcing Hart’s mother to return to her native Oregon to raise her child. Mrs. Hart remarried, and the young Lucille spent the remainder of her childhood and teenage years in Albany, Oregon.

While a student at Albany College, Hart [had] a number of [relationships] with women; delighted in all masculine pursuits, including driving automobiles; and was an accomplished debater and writer for the school newspaper and yearbook. Hart attended Stanford University, and in 1917, graduated top in his class from the University of Oregon Medical College. The university yearbook is the first public document that reveals Hart’s use of the male persona “Alan Lucill Hart.” Around the summer of 1917, Hart underwent a hysterectomy and began a final transformation to manhood. A professor of Hart’s later wrote, “she entered a hospital at Berkeley, submitted to certain operational procedures, and emerged, an authentic male being: (Gilbert, p. 317). Upon returning to Albany, Hart paid a visit to the editor of the Albany Democrat-Herald and “announced that he was no longer Lucille, but Allan [sic], and was to be addressed and referred to with the proper designative ‘Mr.’” (William G. Thatcher, “Oregon Authors I Have Known,” 1953, p. 36).

In February 1918, Dr. Hart eloped with a Portland schoolteacher, Inez Stark, to Martinez, California, where he obtained a marriage license using a fictitious name. The couple moved to the tiny fishing village of Gardiner on the Oregon coast, where Hart intended to take over another man’s medical practice. Their residence was short-lived. While newspaper accounts indicate that Hart left due to influenza, there is ample evidence to suggest that he had been recognized by a former medical college acquaintance from Portland, and as Gilbert noted in his article, “the hounding process began, which our modern social organization can carry on to such perfection and refinement against her own members.” (p. 317).

Hart obtained a legal divorce from his wife in 1925 after she deserted him, and a few months later, on May 15, 1925, married Edna “Ruddy” Ruddick at the Episcopalian Church of the Transfiguration in New York City.

Over the next twenty years, Hart lived in twelve locations across the United States, from Huntley, Montana – where he engaged in a general medical practice – to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he found work in a tuberculosis sanitarium. In 1928, he obtained a master’s degree in radiology from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1948, he received a master’s of public health degree from Yale University. In the 1930s, Hart spoke frequently to community groups across Idaho, and helped coordinate that state’s antituberculosis campaign.

Hart’s literary career began with the submission of a manuscript based on his experiences as a doctor in Gardiner. W. W. Norton was impressed with the story and published Hart’s first novel, Dr. Mallory, in 1935 to some critical acclaim. Hart’s second novel, The Undaunted (1936), was the story of a physician working in a research institute to find a cure for pernicious anemia. In the second book, Hart presents a [Gay] character as a sympathetic figure – Sandy Farquhar is a radiologist trying to get by in a world that treats him as an outcast. Two more novels and a layman’s book about x-rays followed.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Hart promoted his books with speaking engagements at literary clubs and bookstores, and in 1935, made a radio appearance in Portland, Oregon. While such activities brought Hart public acclaim for his achievements, they also meant risking exposure of his gender transformation. Nonetheless, he largely kept his secret during his lifetime, though his transformation from Lucille to Alan was undoubtedly known to some friends and relatives. [His status] was common gossip in Hart’s hometown of Albany, Oregon.

Hart and his second wife settled in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1945 and joined the Unitarian church. Hart served as director of the State Health Department Office of Tuberculosis Control until his death at age seventy-one on July 1, 1962. His remains were cremated and the ashes spread in Olympic National Forest in Washington state.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Bates, Tom “Decades ago, an Oregon Doctor Tried to Redefine Gender” The Oregonian, 14 July 1996, Section B, ps. 1-5

Katz, Jonathan Ned Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (New York 1976)

[Katz, Jonathan Ned] Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (New York 1983)

Powers, Alfred History of Oregon Literature (Portland 1935)

—Tom Cook,

2005

 

 

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Dr. Alan Hart, circa 1921

 

 

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Copyright © 2021 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Another exceptional lesson in gay history.  You are an excellent teacher.  This one literally struck close to home, my homes in Oregon.  I also went to OSU in Albany where I got my MA in Science Education.  Yet all the time there, I had no knowledge of Dr. Alan Hart.  He is a remarkable, courageous man of many great accomplishments.  

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AC Benus

Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, raven1 said:

Another exceptional lesson in gay history.  You are an excellent teacher.  This one literally struck close to home, my homes in Oregon.  I also went to OSU in Albany where I got my MA in Science Education.  Yet all the time there, I had no knowledge of Dr. Alan Hart.  He is a remarkable, courageous man of many great accomplishments.  

Thanks, Terry. I'm struck too by how many Bay Area connections Alan had too. Taking classes at Stanford (and presumably at Berkeley too), having his transformation surgery at Berkley, and getting married in Martinez! 

I wonder though if he lived in so many places as an adult because he had to move due to his Trans status. Well, I hope not.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Edited by AC Benus
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And such is the kind of energetic, community-minded, caring individual that many states would be glad to see hounded out if not rounded up. 

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On 1/25/2023 at 7:32 PM, Parker Owens said:

And such is the kind of energetic, community-minded, caring individual that many states would be glad to see hounded out if not rounded up. 

It's true, Parker. What the Gops are allowed to get away with -- in terms of Trans discrimination -- is 100% un-American. Why do these so-called Americans hate our rights and freedoms so much? Cuz their bible-humping 'pastors' told 'em so...? If so, how more un-American can you get

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