Gender Studies

Dr. James Barry And Her Lifelong Secret

Dr. James Barry was an acclaimed surgeon in the British Army. Though she lived her life as a man, she was born a woman, and presumably presented as male in order to pursue a career in medicine. (It's not known whether Barry identified as transgender.) Her secret remained undiscovered until her death in July of 1865. During her life, she became Inspector General of military hospitals, performed one of the first successful Caesarian sections, and treated hundreds of soldiers who were injured in the Crimean War.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Margaret Ann Bulkley's mother enrolled her in medical school as James Barry, because women weren't permitted to study medicine at the time. 01:04

  2. Dr. James Barry had an infamous temper, and would often threaten to cut off an offender's ears. 02:36

  3. Dr. James Barry advocated for the reform of medical care for prisoners, and humanely treated patients affected by leprosy. 03:59

Written by Curiosity Staff July 23, 2015

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