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18 April 2009

Elmer Belt (1893 – 1980) sex-change doctor

Belt did a masters and M.D. degrees at University of California, San Francisco, postgraduate study in Boston and then lived in Los Angeles until his death. He rose to be associate professor of urology and clinical professor of surgery and urology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine.

He was the first surgeon in the US to do sex change operations, many on patients referred by Harry Benjamin. He preserved the testicles, pushing them into the abdomen, to preserve the hormones that they produced and to avoid charges of mayhem.

He ceased the operations at the end of 1954 when a committee of doctors at UCLA decided against the practice, however he restarted quietly a few years later.

He discontinued finally in 1962 under family pressure, and because of complaints about the way that he treated some patients, after he heard about the growing practice of Georges Burou.

He was a collector of artefacts by or about Leonardo de Vinci for over 60 years. He gave the collection to the UCLA in 1966.

Patients included: Aleshia Brevard, Barbara Wilcox. Patricia Morgan, Agnes, Mario Martino.
  • Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Cambridge, Ma, London: Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 146, 147-8, 160,162-3,164,192, 242.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Elmer Belt badly mutilated alot of people. He was the first surgeon in the U.S. to perform SRS but he hurt alot of people. Harry Benjamin and Belt would refer to transpeople as 'faggots' and 'queers' to each other and in correspondance. Many of the doctors in the transsexual surgery and psychology fields can treat people like crap.