During the early 20th century, licensed physicians in Oregon had little training or exposure to new theories of sexual and gender identity. But they found themselves thrust into a world of sexual diversity by disclosures about their colleagues and by a flood of public sexual controversies.
In just two decades doctors in the state confronted public reports or scandals about a homosexual doctor, a lesbian colleague, and a practitioner who performed an early form of gender confirmation surgery for another doctor patient. In the public realm they dealt with moral and political clashes over regulation of venereal disease and prostitution, birth control, mandatory eugenic sterilization, and, most explosively, abortion.
I addressed these issues in a lecture sponsored by the History of Medicine Society of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland on November 11, 2016. The talk was coordinated by the OHSU Historical Collections and Archives staff. The lecture with slides, titled “To Engage or Avoid: Matters of Sex for Oregon Physicians, 1900-1925,” is now available for online viewing.
Marie Equi: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions from Oregon State University Press, 2015
Available from the publisher, in bookstores, and online (Amazon et al.)