Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Awesome Award: Margaret Ann Bulkley/James Barry

Dr. James Barry and 'his' servant of 50 years.

Dr. James Barry was either the first female surgeon, or the first transgender surgeon, in the world.

(If you ask me, I think the former is more likely: her transformation into manhood was timed out exactly with her enrolment in university to study medicine, something only allowed for men at the time. Smells like a Shakespearean case of cross-dressing to achieve greatness to me, but heck, maybe it served a dual purpose.)

Born Margaret Ann Bulkley, this young whippersnapper was smart and wanted to enrol in medical school. When her wealthy uncle, artist James Barry, died and left her family a load of cash, it was the perfect chance: she took his name, somehow passed the medical exam required to enter school, and enrolled.

From then on, nobody knew she was a woman until she died. Except, I bet, her servant, who stayed with her for 50 years and provided her with the towels she used to bind her woman-parts every day.

But that's not all! In her disguise, she performed the first-ever Caesarian section on a woman in labour, forever changing the landscape of women's lives and allowing more mothers and babies to survive childbirth!

For this most excellent trickery and outstanding medical accomplishment, I award Dr. Margaret Ann Bulkley/James Barry, The Receptionist's Awesome Award!

(via: The Irish Examiner)


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