WONDROUS TRANSFORMATIONS: Dr. Harry Benjamin & Transgender Medicine

January 16, 2024 | 6:30 PM - 8 PM

Zoom (virtual)

Wondrous Transformations event

With an introduction on transgender history and medical care by scholar Susan Stryker, this book talk and conversation features Alison Li, author of the newly-published biography, Wondrous Transformations: A Maverick Physician, the Science of Hormones, and the Birth of the Transgender Revolution.

Through the late 1940s, the use of hormone therapy and surgery as medical treatment options for trans individuals was not widely studied, available, or legal in the U.S. This approach changed through the work of Dr. Harry Benjamin, who in 1948, became one of the first physicians in the U.S. to work with transgender individuals, first providing treatment and care from his office at 728 Park Avenue until c. 1956 and, then, other locations. When he retired in 1976, Dr. Benjamin was recognized as the world’s preeminent expert on the subject and had seen upwards of 1,500 trans patients. This book talk will bring Dr. Benjamin’s influential work into focus.

The event will be hosted by Ken Lustbader, co-director of the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, who will highlight historic places in New York City connected to trans history.


Photo: Harry Benjamin, on his arrival in New York, February 1913. Credit: Bain News Service photograph collection/Library of Congress.

About the Speakers

ALISON LI is an historian of science and medicine based in Toronto. She is author of Wondrous Transformations: A Maverick Physician, the Science of Hormones, and the Birth of the Transgender Revolution. Alison’s work focusses on the history of hormone science and the culture in which it was shaped.

SUSAN STRYKER’s historical research, theoretical writings, media-making, activism, and academic field-building activities have helped shape the conversation on trans issues since the early 1990s. Learn more about her work.

About the NYC LGBT Historic Site Project
The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project is a nonprofit cultural initiative and educational resource that is making an invisible history visible by documenting extant historic and cultural sites associated with the LGBT community throughout New York City. For more, visit, or follow on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter.

This event is funded, in part, by grants from Consolidated Edison, New York Community Trust, and the New York City Tourism Foundation.