Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sex Change Capitol Of The World

How many of you remember that name given to Trinidad Colorado?

The LA Time just had an article about Dr. Biber, the Sisters of Charity, and Mt. San Rafael Hospital.
How Stanley Biber, a pioneer in gender confirmation surgery, won over the Sisters of Charity
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  In 1969, when Dr. Stanley Biber first performed gender confirmation surgery on an acquaintance who’d sought his help, he created a whole new set of challenges for himself in Trinidad: How was he going to explain all this to the Sisters of Charity who were still helping run the small, rural hospital where he worked, and to the mostly Roman Catholic community that eventually would be hosting about three or four transgender medical pilgrims a week?

The original Mt. San Rafael Hospital was built by the Catholic order in 1889 and was run by those nuns for the next 79 years. The Sisters of Charity turned control of the hospital over to the Trinidad Area Health Assn. in December 1968, just before Biber began specializing in gender surgery but continued working as patient advocates and in other roles with the hospital for decades afterward.
At first, Biber kept the charts of his early transgender patients in the hospital administrator’s safe. Claudine Griggs, at the time a law-office secretary and part-time graduate student in Rancho Cucamonga who went to Biber for surgery in 1991, says she heard the surgeon concocted a cover story about his first patient being “an accident victim” to avoid raising questions.

Secrets don’t stay secret for long in a town that size, especially with so many strangers wandering around. “Obviously when they started having a lot of ‘accidents,’ they knew something was going on,” Griggs says.
A conservative town opens their doors to us…
By the time Griggs went to Trinidad for her surgery, she says Biber and the Mt. San Rafael staff were welcoming transgender patients in a way that affirmed their dignity and reassured the patients about the professionalism of the surgeon and the hospital.
In another article in the LA Times...
He made this town the world’s ‘sex-change capital,’ but he’s not honored here
By Martin J. Smith
September 12, 2019

TRINIDAD, Colo. —  If you’re looking for evidence that this little-known Western outpost was, for 41 years, known as the world’s “sex-change capital,” be prepared to look a long time.

Dr. Stanley Biber, the colorful country surgeon whose pioneering work made “going to Trinidad” a euphemism for gender confirmation surgery, has been dead since 2006. His decades of work, which brought medical pilgrims from around the world to this heavily Catholic former coal-mining town, is not commemorated in any way at Mt. San Rafael Hospital, where Biber and his protege, Dr. Marci Bowers, performed an estimated 6,000 gender surgeries between 1969 and 2010.
Then the news media picked up on what was going on in the sleepy town.
His work made headlines — and occasionally drew the attention of self-righteous outsiders. In 1999, for example, members of the staunchly anti-LGBTQ Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church arrived to picket what its news release for the event described as “Satan’s physician” and the town it called the “anteroom to Hell.” Feature stories about Biber appeared in this newspaper and other national media, and TV show host Geraldo Rivera and his camera crew documented a surgery.
You may have concluded that Biber’s obscurity suggests a certain discomfort among locals with his chosen area of specialty, or a continuing marginalization of that important history for transgender Americans. Most locals will tell you that you’re wrong, including one you might expect to take Biber’s exclusion as a personal slight.

Trinidad City Councilwoman Michelle Miles came to Trinidad for gender confirmation surgery in 2005 and later made it her home — one of the few medical pilgrims to have done so. She says Trinidad is just not the kind of place that goes around putting up statues and plaques.
CBS Sunday Morning did this video about him and the town...

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