November 19th, 2012

Transgender terminology and availability of medical treatment in the 1930s-40s

Hello! I have some questions relating to being FTM transgender in New York City in the 1930s-40s, in a world where I have some wiggle room with science/technology of the time, but should remain pretty close to the real world if possible. I'm trans myself and drawing on a lot of personal experiences for the character's mental health, dysphoria, and so on, but I know very little about what resources would have been available. I have been reading the Transgender portal on Wikipedia (particularly the Transgender American History article, which talked mostly about instances of it and specific people, but not so much about medical attitudes) and I have checked the ~transgender tag here and Googled various combinations of transgender, transsexuality, 1930s, 1940s, transgender history. This led me to some reading about Dr. Alan Hart and a handful more, but little that addresses my specific questions. Assume for the purpose of the following questions that the character has been able to locate physicians/etc with progressive enough attitudes that he hasn't had to undergo a lot of nastiness with regard to treatment specifically.

First set of questions: in the stated time frame, would a physician know of the effects of testosterone injections, and would this be something a doctor might suggest? Would the hormone even be available? What other treatments might be used to try and shape the body, the voice, et cetera? Would surgery be plausible (specifically top/mastectomy--it seems that a hysterectomy would be possible, but that's not what I'm looking for here), and would there be a lot of scarring, would the resulting chest structure look pretty natural? How costly might any of these treatments be?

Regarding medical attitudes/research, I did find this article, which was useful for when and how studies and procedures were taking place, but pertains mostly to Europe. It also doesn't cite sources, so I'm not sure how to verify its accuracy.

Second set of questions: what vocabulary was used for a transgendered person, or for being transgendered? What might medical professionals use to refer to someone who is FTM? How might he refer to himself? Were there any specific slurs for, for example, FTM crossdressers?

Finally, how would someone who identified as FTM go about finding other like-minded people, physicians who were safe to see, et cetera? Was there a trans*-friendly space in the existing gay culture?

Thank you very, very much in advance. I know this is a ton of questions, and I really appreciate any information or any new directions you can point me towards.