Queer Heroes NW: Dr. Alan L. Hart and Dr. Marie Equi

By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

Today, June 10, Queer Heroes NW honors pioneering physicians Dr. Alan L. Hart and Dr. Marie Equi. The Queer Heroes NW project, which honors a new hero every day in June, is a collaboration between Q Center and the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific NW (GLAPN).

Here’s more from Q Center:

LEFT: Alberta Lucille Hart grew up in Albany, Oregon, and graduated from University of Oregon Medical School in 1917. After graduation, Hart underwent a hysterectomy and lived the rest of her life as a man, one of the first female-to-male transsexuals known to undergo surgery in transition.

Dr. Alan L. Hart practiced medicine in several locations across the west, sometimes forced to abandon his practice and move on when his gender was called into question. His 1918 marriage to Inez Stark ended in divorce in 1923; in 1925 he married Edna Ruddick.

Alan Hart died of heart failure in 1962. When Edna died 20 years later, she left most of her estate to the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon in memory of her husband.

RIGHT: In 1903, Mari Equi graduated from the University of Oregon, one of a very few women physicians in the state. She was a fearless advocate for woman’s suffrage, labor rights, free speech, an eight-hour workday, and prison reform.

She gained a reputation as one of the most outspoken agitators in town. Never content with protest alone, Equi obtained food and shelter for the unemployed, distributed birth control information, and provided abortions to both poor and upper-class women.

With courage unusual for her time, Equi openly enjoyed associations with other women. She and her companion adopted an infant girl whom the two women raised. Equi opposed American preparations for World War I, and in 1918, the federal government charged her with sedition for her anti-war speeches. She was convicted and served for ten months in San Quentin Prison. She died in Portland in 1952.

Every day in June, the Queer Heroes NW project will reveal another hero. We’ll be posting them daily here. Information on each of the honorees is also featured on the walls of the Aaron Hall Gallery at Q Center and will be displayed at Q Center’s booth at the Portland Pride festival June 15-17.