Caitlyn Jenner has helped jumpstart a long-delayed conversation about the lives of trans people, but she has also fundamentally changed an American economy. The town of Trinidad, Colorado (pop. 9,000), once the world’s sex-change capital, is adjusting to a post-Jenner world.
Doctor Stanley Bieber, who died in 2006, performed his first sex change in 1969. By the time he retired, he conducted the procedure over 6,000 times and the town of Trinidad had an industry around it as post-op individuals often stuck around to get acclimated in peace.
Doctor Marcy Bowers a trans person and Bieber’s successor, garnered attention for filming a reality show about her job — much like Jenner’s show I Am Cait. But the hospital she worked at was not pleased and she decamped to the Bay Area.
Now that the spotlight on the issue shines on Caitlyn Jenner (and LA), Trinidad, which no longer boasts a doctor largely devoted to transitioning individuals, is losing its significance in the trans community.
“The reason the media is important is the media tells the story, paints the picture for the world to understand the transgender process,” Bowers told Westword. “The media helps people understand what it’s all about. It’s important for the world to understand, because this is a global phenomenon, and Trinidad had center stage.”
Now, Trinidad doesn’t. But it still has a very pleasant historic district.