By Eric Campos | June 23, 2008

I’m going to admit ignorance here. I had no idea that Trinidad, Colorado was the unofficial “sex change capital of the world.” I’m rather stunned that this information hadn’t been run by me earlier.

Thanks, everyone. Good job.

However, thanks to filmmakers PJ Raval and Jay Hodges, I now know where to go when I’ve made the decision to step-up my ladylike game.

Assuming that many other people will, like myself, be unaware of this small town’s notoriety, this documentary takes us through a brief history of how Trinidad has become a haven for over 6,500 transexuals. Basically, a young Dr. Biber living in Trinidad in the 60s agreed to perform a sex change operation despite his inexperience with the procedure. The operation was a success and word began to spread, drawing those who wished to live their lives as the sex they felt they truly were inside to the good doctor who honed his new skill to perfection throughout his performance of over 5,800 gender reassignment surgeries.

With a little history lesson under our belts, we then jump into the lives of the film’s main subjects: Dr. Marci Bowers is a transsexual woman who moved to Trinidad to take over Dr. Biber’s sexual reassignment practice upon his retirement. Bringing fresh talent, personal experience and the passion of an artist to the practice, Dr. Bowers will make sure that Trinidad continues to thrive as a transsexual mecca. We also meet a couple of Dr. Bowers’ patients – Sabrina Marcus, who was fired from NASA when she began transitioning from male to female, and Dr. Laura Ellis, a family practitioner who left her practice in Florida so as to not create confusion when she began transitioning. Dr. Ellis has always practiced medicine in Trinidad as a woman. Each of these subjects comes with their own tales of woe as they transitioned into womanhood and they are presented here in great detail. We also take a look at their current lives in Trinidad as Sabrina and Dr. Ellis work on building a recovery center for post-op sexual reassignment patients, which needs to be fully approved by Dr. Bowers before she admits any of her patients.

Far from a rip-roaring “dude looks like a lady” adventure in trans wonderland, “Trinidad” offers an eye-opening, down to earth look at what life is like for transsexuals, even though they are living in a town where trans people are more accepted…well, tolerated is a better word…the film’s subjects definitely have a leg up on others out there living in a world not ready to accept them. And while Trinidad is referred to as the “sex change capital of the world,” it’s still no Shangri-La. Yes, it is a safe place to have a sex change operation thanks to the work of doctors Biber and Bowers and the operations and lifestyle are even shockingly accepted by the Catholic Church, but many of the townsfolk still look upon the trans citizens as freaks and are even ashamed of their home’s notoriety.

“Trinidad” succeeds in presenting the materials for a better understanding of transsexual people and stands to be very instrumental in making the world outside of Trinidad, Colorado a safer place for them to live.

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