Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oral history program update: Upcoming interview with Dr. Ira Pauly

The OHSU Oral History Program has been humming along under the management of consulting historian Morgen Young of Alder LLC. For our next interview, Morgen and I are traveling to Phoenix for the honor of interviewing Dr. Ira Pauly, a pioneer in transgender health care.

Dr. Pauly served on the faculty of University of Oregon Medical School's Department of Psychiatry from 1962-1974. In the early 1960s, through what he described as a "soul-searching" process, he joined a handful of psychiatrists who supported sex reassignment surgery for transsexuals. In the 1960s-1970s, he collaborated with noted endocrinologist and sexologist Harry Benjamin, and published influential studies on human sexuality, particularly on transgender men and sex reassignment surgery. Dr. Pauly is now Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Nevada's School of Medicine, and a supporter of LGBT community.

Dr. Pauly came to my attention through George Nicola of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest. We will be working George and his colleagues to craft questions for the interview. Though Dr. Pauly's contributions are celebrated within the transgender community, they are less well known at OHSU. The university's current leadership in LGBT healthcare equality make this interview particularly timely.

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