#WOTW: Dr. James Miranda Barry

Dr. James Miranda Steuart Barry was a military surgeon in the British Army. Barry was actually born as Margaret Ann Bulky in Ireland. Barry’s true biological gender was only revealed after his/her death, and was known as a female in childhood. Since, women were not permitted to receive an education Bulky had to become Barry. He/she lived as man publicly and privately while he/she was a student and doctor, however his/her gender was only revealed to his/her colleagues after his/her death. Barry attended the University of Edinburgh Medical School, and then became a hospital assistant in Cape Town, South Africa. Barry had risen to the position of Inspector General, which were individuals who would be in charge of military hospitals, the second highest medical office in the British Army. Barry did not limit his/her medical treatment just for British soldiers, but also treated the rich and poor, and performed the first caesarean section in Africa by an Irish surgeon. The operation made history, since it was the first operation in which both the mother and child survived the operation. Barry also made contributions as a humanitarian. He/she dedicated himself/herself to social reform, and would speak out against the conditions and mismanagement of barracks, prisons and asylums. He/she also arranged a better water system for Cape Town. Overall, Barry represents how destructive gender roles and oppression can be, however did not stop him/her becoming a celebrated and highly talented surgeon. Barry made history in the world of healthcare and science, and will forever be remembered for his/her contributions.

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