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100 years ago in San Francisco: Dr. Alan Hart, doctor who interned in Lewiston, outed as transgender

Dr. Alan Hart was a brilliant and successful doctor, working as an intern at a San Francisco Hospital when he was outed as transgender, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 6, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Dr. Alan Hart was a brilliant and successful doctor, working as an intern at a San Francisco Hospital when he was outed as transgender, The Spokesman-Review reported on Feb. 6, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Dr. Alan Hart was a brilliant and successful doctor, working as an intern at a San Francisco Hospital.

Then a former university classmate recognized him – as Dr. Lucille Hart.

That’s how Dr. Lucille Hart’s “adventure in man’s attire” was discovered.

Hart went to the medical school at the University of Oregon where Hart was the only female medical student.

“She was a pretty blonde, and was noted among those who knew her as an extremist in some things,” said a member of her class. “She dressed often in a very mannish style, wearing particularly masculine hats and shoes and frequently tight skirts. She walked with a noticeable mannish stride.”

When starting working in the field, Hart apparently “feared she could not make a success as a woman physician and decided it would be easier to make her mark in the medical world in masculine attire.”

Hart applied for an internship in Lewiston, dressed as a man, and got the position.

Then Hart landed an internship at a San Francisco hospital. All went well until another doctor recognized Hart from medical school.

“The masculine interns at the hospital are quite upset over the discovery, and declared she successfully and completely deceived them for months.”

That’s how the newspaper story ends, but Dr. Hart’s story continued. The doctor opened a practice in Montana under the now-legal name of Dr. Alan Hart. Hart became one of the first to undergo sex reassignment. He went on to have an acclaimed career as a radiologist, tuberculosis researcher and professor.

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