“TRINIDAD”— The Sex Change Capital of the World


 The Sex Change Capital of the World

 Amos Lassen

 One of the best things about being alive is that everyday presents a chance to learn something new. I had never heard of Trinidad, Colorado or that it is the sex change capital of the world. Then I had a chance to see the documentary,” Trinidad” and I was enlightened. In its brief history, Trinidad has been an oasis for 6500 transsexuals. It all began in the 1960’s when Dr. Biber agreed to perform a sex change operation even though he had no experience with the procedure. When he succeeded, word traveled and those that felt they wanted to live the lives as the sex they felt they were went to see him and the more he worked at it the better he became and up until now he has performed almost 6000 gender reassignment surgeries. When Biber retired, Dr. Marci Bowers, a transsexual woman moved to Trinidad to take over his practice and she brought fresh talent, her own personal experience and great passion with her. Now she continues to make Trinidad thrive and grow as a Mecca for transsexuals.

       Sabrine Marcus is one of Dr. Bower’s patients. She was fired from her job with NASA when she began to transition from male to female. Another patient is Dr. Laura Ellis who forsook her Florida practice so people would not be confused when she began to transition. In Trinidad she practices as a woman and she, like Sabrine, tells her story with great detail. Sabrine and Dr. Ellis are building a recovery center for post-operative transsexuals and are awaiting Dr. Bowers’s approval.

       The film begins with testimonials about the town from three women who look like women but sound like men and we hear of the town’s draw for those who want gender reassignment surgery. We learn of the experiences of trans people who live in a place where they are basically accepted. The place, however, is no Garden of Eden but it is a safe place. Some of the citizens of Trinidad look at the trans people as freaks and are a bit ashamed about the notoriety of the town but the Catholic Church shockingly accepts those who have undergone the surgery as well as those who are pre-op. The movie also shows us how to better understand transsexuals. It is a well constructed film that is moving at times. It is very simply about people who are trying to live their lives in the best possible way for them to do so. It is both a humorous and intelligent as it looks at what trans people go through. There were times that I felt the pain that the people we meet in the film feel and we do get a balanced picture about Trinidad. Moreover we learn about living life on our own terms.

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