Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I visited Dr. Gray’s office this morning to talk further about body contouring. After visiting with the other two plastic surgeons, I thought he was going to tell me the same thing…but he didn’t. In fact, he said he’d performed body contouring on several transgender patients, especially around the waist. It’s wild that many professional people in the San Francisco area handle the whole T thing quite well. I guess they have just been exposed to it enough to know that we’re just like everyone else out there.

In describing his method, he said he uses ultrasonics to break down the fat and small cannulas to remove it thru three small incisions – one in the belly button, the other 100mm below the belly button, and the third one a little lower than the small of the back.

We talked about the usual possible side effects with liposuction, such as bruising, swelling, unevenness, rippling, etc. He said I didn’t have as much on the stomach as he usually sees, but he still had something to work with. The dressings would stay on for a couple of days, and the compression pad would stay on for a couple of weeks.

So, the bill:

Doctor Fees                   $4000
Garments                   $  250
Operating Room Fees       $1260
Anesthesia                     Free
Total                                  $5510

Youch!  Even with last week’s very nice raise and bonus, this is still not really affordable with SRS on the horizon. So, I continue on with my diet. I’m on Day 3, and it royally sucks. It’s been nothing but small bowls of bran cereal, salads, veggies, a banana, and one veggie burger so far. Yum….right?

As I was leaving Dr. Gray’s office, though, there was this incredibly beautiful woman sitting in the waiting room. In fact, there was a beautiful woman in the waiting room while I was waiting who obviously was already in the other exam room. The one sitting in the waiting room as I left was gorgeous…and of course, I was extremely jealous. I think I am just going to move to the island of ugly women and be a camp counselor…..”this one time, at ugly-woman camp......”

Sunday, August 29, 2004


Amber, Amy, and I went to the Vagina Monologues in Napa yesterday. It was a nice little theatre (the Napa Valley Opera House) that, from the program book, had been restored from once horrible conditions. I was really impressed with the nice facility. Unfortunately, I think I was less impressed with the Vagina Monologues, even though it does talk about how powerful a woman and her vagina can be. In February of this year, there was a special transgender version of the Vagina Monologues presented in LA by Andrea James and Calpernica Addams. Several of my friends attended said event, but I, however, was laid up in the Cocoon House recovering from FFS. So, this was my chance to catch a glimpse of what I missed…although I knew it wouldn’t come close to the presentation in LA. We missed about the first 10-15 minutes, and since I don’t have a vagina yet, I couldn’t quite relate on many of the topics. I was almost as clueless as the large older gentleman sitting in the seat next to me and hogging a portion of both my elbow and leg space. Luckily, Amber, who's smaller than me, was sitting to my left, which allowed me to lean a little to her side in order to escape the impending man and to see past the hairdo on the woman sitting in front of me. Don’t worry, I’m usually cursed with that…I’m used to it…especially since I’m short.

So, why were we late? Well, on the way there we had a hell of a time. First, we ran into a back up on the first bridge. In trying to go around it, we kinda got on to side streets that didn’t quite go where we were hoping to go, followed by street repairs and closures on streets we did want to take. We ran into more traffic before we picked up Amy and ate a fast lunch. On the bridge before the Napa exit, we ran into a 4 mile back up before the toll booths. It’s incredible…the traffic is worse on the weekends than it is on the weekdays. Even when we finally reached the street to turn on in Napa, we found the bridge was out forcing us to go another block north.

Anyway, that gave us a little extra time in the car. When it was just Amber and I, she asked me what my expectations are with SRS. Well, for me, I thought it was the last little link on the chain holding me back from the rest of my life, but I wanted to ponder a little more of this question. What ARE my expectations?

I expect…
…to have a vaginal cavity capable of having sex.
…to have pants and undies fit a lot better.
…to go swimming in a bathing suit.
…to ride my bike without Jr. in the way.
…to dilate for the rest of my life.
…to not worry about tucking anymore.
…to douche.
…to have complications of some sort.
…to still have people freaked out about who I used to be.
…to have people still use male pronouns.
…to stop taking spironolactone.
…to sit down to pee for the rest of my life.
…to laugh.
…to cry.
…to ponder.
…to move on with my life.
…to not be afraid of someone finding out I have a penis.
…to be over the vast majority of GID.
…to love.
…to have sex.
…to run and race again.
…to be basically the same person.
…to be me.
…to live.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Adolescence and Evanescence

I took a phone call on the hotline today from the mother of an FTM. She was looking for a particular therapist in the area. After talking to her for a while, she said that her transgender son was 13. Wow. Thirteen. That’s just incredible that there continue to be reports of transgender people that seem to be getting younger and younger. I’m sure they have always been there, but now parents are hopefully able to understand a little more of what is going on, and not boot them out into the street.

What if we were able to start treatment before puberty hit us? Would that eliminate so much of the GID? Would our bodies be allowed to develop along the lines of our minds before having to experience the horrible aspects of the wrong puberty? I’m sure that would be ideal for a lot of us, but the hard part is getting past what society thinks of us. High school is already hard enough without even going through transition. And the pinnacle action belongs to the parents on whether or not to support their child. Without their support, transition becomes almost impossible at that age.

Back now to the mid-thirties, I was at Dr. Brownstein’s office today to talk about body contouring. He basically said the same as the first plastic surgeon – that I didn’t have much to work with. He said that he could get me about 20% of what I was probably looking for, and asked me if that would be enough. I don’t think it would be, especially for the cost, pain, recovery time, and possible complications.

So, with that, along with having too much muscle, I’ve decided to do the veggie diet for a while and see what effects that will have on what I am looking for. I’m basically finishing off what food I do have in the house, but then I’ll be cutting it down to veggies and salads, with perhaps some fruit for breakfast. Diet’s suck. To really lose weight, one has to change their habits. I’ve changed over the years – quitting caffeine and most sodas, drinking more water, removing chips from my diet, and eating more vegetables. I’ve still been eating way too much sugar, though, which mainly goes to feeding the muscles and my chocolate craving.

With this second puberty, though, I’ve noticed a lot of fat move to the ass and thighs. I’ve also noticed that I run a lot slower than what I used to run. Here’s the thing, though. When I ran in high school, I noticed that the freshman girls were usually the faster runners. Once the girls started developing, most of them slowed down…not all, but most. We also had a girl in college who came in a little chubby as a freshman but really leaned out over the next couple of years. She became an excellent runner. So, I’m going through what a lot of girls go through in high school….development. I believe that once I move past SRS and a few more years of solid hormones, I can drop down to a lower dosage…at which time, I hope I will be able to thin out a bit…although I’m not really that fat-chubby now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Adolescence of life

I’ve met a lot of different people along my transition. I’ve met cross dressers who look better than most TS starting out, yet they like being men. I’ve met T’s who don’t take hormones but have orchiectomies and breast implants, T’s who take hormones yet prefer to live with a penis, T’s who battle their own sexual orientation while self administering hormones off and on over years, T’s who get thru transition but seem a little out of it once through to the other side, T’s who have transitioned over a few years and done fairly well with life, young T’s who look incredible with their bodies only partially tainted by the evil testosterone, older T’s who fight the public’s stereotype of being a man in a dress, older T’s that transitioned and had SRS 20 years ago...paving the way for many of us, and everything in between. Hell, I’ve even met a transsexual porn star who looks totally incredible, but she keeps her penis for her job…and because it makes her special.

I’ve lived 32 years as a shell of a man, over a year part time as a person figuring out their essence, and as a woman for 6 months. I’ve lived in a town with only 2000 people all the way up to the metro Bay Area.

The thing is, though, I am just a child in terms of experience. We all are. There are so many things for us to learn in life, that if we give up the pursuit of knowledge...well...we’re just giving up. I’m not an expert. The only things I can share are the things that I have experienced first hand. Although I may see one formula to success, there are, indeed, other formulas that can get you to relatively the same place. Anyway, I guess I am just writing this to say that if you are still searching for your road to success, figure out where you are, where you want to be, and how you can get there….and plan what you will do if you run into lions and tigers and bears.

Monday, August 23, 2004


The door handle on my car broke again this past week. A friend was able to repair it when it broke the first time a coupe of months ago, but I don’t think I can continually try to fix it. I need a new handle. My car is now 9 years old, and although it is that old, it’s still in fairly decent shape. However, it is also trying to fall apart. Right now, it’s all about the little things…the door handle, the visor anchor clip, the sun roof, the windshield wiper fluid tank sensor, and a few paint issues here and there. I don’t gun my engine too bad, so it seems to be running ok, except for a few squeaks here and there…but some of my friends tend to push it when I lend them my car. They don’t seem to realize that my car needs to last another 60,000 miles – in healthy condition.

So, not only has my car been getting older, but so have I. Time takes its toll. I try to fight back. I try to eat healthy – for both the body and the mind – which is my excuse for eating chocolate and ice cream on occasion.

Being T, though, does suck on some fronts…especially the aging one. I never had my youth as a girl, and so, I have definitely tried to hang on to what I have. I had FFS 6 months ago and filler injected into my nasolabial folds three months ago…in order to look female…and younger. The initial filler was only supposed to last a few months, and I could see it starting to decrease as the laugh lines became prominent again. So, I was off to the plastic surgeon again to have one of the wizards fill them in again…but this time with a different substance called Radiance. It’s supposed to last a bit longer…perhaps from 2-5 years. After lidocaine injections thru my mouth, he injected the Radiance in to the folds area between my mid-nose down to the lines even with the top of my mouth. He says they can’t go all the way down along the lines because the muscles used for smiling would interfere with the product working properly. I felt the filler being injected into my skin, but only slight pressure in the areas. As the lidocaine started wearing off, though, I noticed a slight soreness. It was also quite puffy and definitely red, with a slight bruise in one area where he injected.

The swelling has subsided tonight, but it’s still a touch sore. They said that it would feel weird for a few days, and that it would reduce slightly inside the first 2-4 months, but would remain there for a number of years.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Believe it or not, I was back in dance class this week. Yes, the same one I attended last year…but as a guy then. The instructor is fine with it, as well as a few students that were in last year’s class. How do I know? Well, I stopped by to see them a few months ago…just to see how things were. The instructor looked at me a few seconds, asked if I was waiting on someone, then smiled and said she recognized me. She was so cool.

Anyway, you’d think that with the pain I feel when someone uses “he” or “him”, that I wouldn’t step foot in a place where they knew me as a guy. Well, I like the class. I learned a little finesse and grace last year, as well as how to let the female vibe mature. It takes time to loosen up the muscles and areas that you need to move in order to express the feminine essence.

So, one of the good and bad points to the class though, is that there are a lot of really attractive young women in the class. They drive me wild with their incredibly feminine bodies, yet they are a great teaching tool for me. The most advantageous one for me, though, is definitely the grace part of it. Sure, you can stick books on your head and walk down the hall like a girl, but that doesn’t actually teach you about real life situations (such as a dance floor :) ). Learning the moves is another part, but it takes that release from the male inhibitions that makes the difference.

Seeing some of the incredible bodies, though, made me realize something from earlier this week. In a magazine, I saw the picture of this ultra-feminine woman. She had a tiny little waist, a great body, small thin arms, a pretty face, and awesome hair. She just oozed “female.” I want that, as do a lot of women…well, let me rephrase….perhaps some women do. The thing is, I also like to participate in sports and exercise. By doing that, though, my muscles seem to stay intact at their current size. It’s a no win situation. The best I can hope for, which my therapist actually recommended, was to continue to exercise because it was healthy, and let the hormones do their thing over time. Basically, keep things in moderation like the rest of life, and things will turn out OK.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Twice, reminiscence

Six months ago, I spent a large portion of the day having Dr. O reshape my face. The time really seems to have flown by. Since I am at 6 months, I guess I should provide a little update…starting from the top, and working down.

The top of my head is still a bit tingly. The portion of my scalp nearest the hairline is probably around 95%, while I have a very small circle on the very top of my head that I can’t really feel anything. Between the front and that spot, it ranges in sensation. When I touch the top of my head, it still has that sorta sparkly sensation. It’s still similar to the feeling when the lidocaine is wearing off after a trip to the dentist. The scar along the hairline is basically this thin white line. I’m definitely going to need another hairline revision to bring the sides further forward, though. I asked Dr. O about the nerve loss with the revision at my three month checkup, and he said it was hit or miss. I’ll talk to him a little more next month during my visit. The hairline advancement gets a B+.

The forehead looks pretty decent…in fact, it looks great. There might be a very small ridge/bump/depression just over the right part of my nose, but it’s barely noticeable. Last week, though, I did see a lot of little tiny bumps directly over where Dr. O worked on my sinus cavity, but they’ve subsided this week. Perhaps it was just my skin reacting to something in that area, who knows. My eyebrows are fairly even and in the spot they should be in. So, the forehead gets an A.

The nose. Awww…the nose. Well, it’s still fairly stiff, especially at the lower end and tip area. The small bumps on the sides of the top portion are still there, and about the only thing they really affect is the way glasses sit on my nose. My nose still points slightly to my left. It also seems to drip, especially when I’m exposed to colder temperatures, although sometimes it just spontaneously starts dripping for no reason. The scars at the base of my nose are visible only upon close inspection. The upper lip looks great – it’s very full and feminine, much as it was before, but slightly fuller. The upper lip lift scar, though, is still fairly tight combined with the nose job. As for the shape of the nose itself, it has gotten better with time, but I still do not like the ski-jump profile shape. I wanted straight. I wanted just a regular transition of the nose into the forehead. I still have at least another 6 months to let the swelling go down before I pass my final judgment, but I’ll live with it for now. I’ll give the nose a C+ and hope it improves with time. The upper lip lift gets an A-, simply because it’s still tight (and has the slight scar).

One thing that I noticed between months 3-6 is that my bottom front teeth are actually numb. I really didn’t notice this until I started flossing around month 3-4 (it was just too hard to get the floss in my mouth before that). When I went between the bottom teeth with the floss, I found that I couldn’t really feel anything. I thought they might have been a little tingly, but they are basically still numb….well, the gum line is numb with very slight sensation.

The incision for the chin modifications is still tight as well, and, well….just plain annoying. My chin is also sore in some spots when I press down slightly. The soreness is particularly noticeable after electrolysis. The bumps on the sides of the jaw are still there, but have reduced a little with time. I haven’t really had any troubles with the jaw modification further back along the jaw line. So, the bumps and soreness are going to bring this down to a B.

The trachea shave scar is still visible, and kinda creates this line-dimple when I tilt my head down. There is still some scar tissue beneath the incision and the area down to the trachea. It has become a lot looser in time, but so has the skin under the jaw, it seems. I don’t know if it will recover and pull back up or not. Most likely, it won’t. Grade: B-, but I knew going in that this might happen, so the grade doesn’t really surprise me. It too, though, can get better with time.

This is also right at 2 years of Hormone Replacement Therapy for me. Two years. Wow. The hormones haven’t done as much as I was hoping for, but they have at least tried...and since I am 34 now, I guess they've done OK. The breasts are right at an A cup. My hips and ass are a lot spongier than before and have really filled out. Most portions of my body have definitely softened up. My body hair has gotten a little finer, but it’s still persistently there, unfortunately. My skin is softer, but I don’t think it has reacted quite as well as I was hoping for or have seen with others. Unfortunately, my waist and most of my muscle haven’t really done much in the way of feminizing. My muscles have gotten a little smaller, but they are still fairly big…to me. I do feel a general peace within myself, though, which has made the GID, although still present, much more tolerable.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


I was out to dinner with Amber and Susan last night. Amber’s recovery is coming along pretty nicely, and she’s been back to her normal happy-cheerful self lately…like she ever wasn’t, huh?

It’s kinda weird, in the few times we’ve hung out since she got back, I kinda see her in this new light now. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but it’s this sort of glow…shine…vibe – something. It’s probably just me, but she does seem different. She’s…..herself now. She’s still the same person, but the GID seems lifted, as though it was never there to begin with. I’m happy for her. I hope I have the same sort of experience in finding me.

Sometimes, I find this journey just totally mind blowing. I think about SRS and the future life that opens up after it – and yet, I’m also slightly scared of the whole surgery. It is that last step – basically no turning back. And yet, I welcome it with open arms. I’m ready. Yeah, maintenance aside, I think and hope that I’ll be one helluva happy person.


Yesterday, I had another laser session on my legs and arms. The technician seemed harmless enough and I thought there might be something in my file indicating my T status, but apparently not…or at least, perhaps she didn’t read it.

So, I have my shirt off, a small sports bra on, and I start explaining to her where the hair is located on my arms. Somehow, in the course of our conversation about my hair, I mention to her that that’s what happens when you’re on testosterone for most of your life. At that point she looks puzzled.

“Why did you take testosterone?” she asks. “Were you a body builder, cuz they take testosterone?”

“Uhhh…no, I’m transgender. I was born a guy,” I respond with.

If you have never seen a deer caught in the headlights, this was probably as close as you could come. It took her a few seconds to process what I was saying, but she seemed OK with all of it.

Unfortunately, and I don’t know if this was due to my disclosure or not, but she launches into at least an hour and a half of religious stuff. I find out she is a born-again Christian, used to smoke and drink all of the time, found God, blah blah blah. She said she’d had a lot of people treat her bad in her life and that they were going to get what they had coming to them, because God worked that way. She said her Dad had cancer and that he wasn’t with God like she was, and this was a way that God worked.

Oh man! I would never wish that on anyone. Why would anyone think, if there was a God, that God would strike others down just because someone did something bad. Whoa. Talk about needing a wake up call.

OK, I think I have mentioned my stance on religion before, but here’s a refresher. I think religion is good for a lot of people. It gives them hope and morality in this sick world we live in. However, I don’t think it should be crammed down people’s throats. In this country, we have freedom of religion, or in my case, freedom from religion. I choose not to practice anything. It just doesn’t benefit me. Plus, as I told my tech, too many people within all of the religions and churches hate me. That’s another bad thing, is that all of these religions/churches say one thing about loving all, but then they find a way to hand out a lot of hate, especially against anyone different…such as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. They also seem to wage a lot of wars…even now, many countries are plagued by internal religious conflicts. Now, not all churches are bad, but the ones that basically brainwash you into their ideals…well, let’s just say that they aren’t all that good.

As we were finishing up yesterday, and she continued to pester me with the God stuff, I almost thought about freaking her out by talking in the male voice. I could have said stuff like, “I’m the Devil” or “I’m Jesus and I’ve come back to tell you that you’re all going to Hell,” but I figured that might seriously freak her out.

So, I was back at the laser place again today to finish up a little that they weren’t able to get yesterday. This time, I had a different tech, and since we were going to be hitting the upper thigh, I thought it was better to disclose to her before we got too far into things. I, again, said I was transgender only to get more of the deer in the headlights look again. So, I blatantly stated, “I used to be a guy.”

Her reaction time was much better, as was her response. She complimented that she never would have guessed and that I looked pretty decent. She was also more open-minded than yesterday’s tech, even asking me how the previous tech responded. The one today said that she ran into a lot of persecution when she was a child, with her non-Catholic family growing up in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood.

Anyway, enough about religion. Let’s all just get along, OK?

Thursday, August 12, 2004


It hurts. But I recover. It feels like a sharp pain as the knife slowly enters the wound, twists, then pulls out. The wound remains, but it slowly heals leaving its mark.

What am I talking about? It’s being called “him”, or “he”, or my old boy name. People don’t mean to do it, but nevertheless, it does happen...and it does hurt. I try not to let them see the pain as I turn my head and pretend like I didn’t hear them, but sometimes I have to correct them…grabbing their hand as the knife is within me, and pull it out letting them know that it’s not nice to stab a girl in the gut.

Most of the time, though, I know they don’t mean any harm. I try to let them slide by, especially when they know that they made a mistake. It makes me feel slightly better, though, to know that they are at least trying to correct their error.

I also have a T friend who, after going from her boy name to a girl’s name, decided to change from one female name to another, so now I am finding the hard part of calling her by her new name. I try. Every time I slip up, I try to correct myself right off the bat. I know it is hard calling people by new names, but as long as people are making a solid attempt, that’s all that one can ask for. The hard part for me with her name change is that she did not accompany it with any other changes. That was one reason I went from full on boy mode to full on girl mode, so people would see the change a little better and recognize the new name.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


OK, OK, I suck at writing lately. So, I have a little to catch up on.


I saw Shrek 2 this past weekend. It was pretty cute. There were also a number of gender jokes mixed within the story. As I told a friend of mine, it’s OK to laugh at these things because you can’t take all of it serious all of the time. I’ll try not to ruin the movie for people that haven’t seen it, but part of it is CD based with someone wearing women’s underwear, and let’s just say that one of the characters is definitely T-something.


So, last week, my old home state, Missouri, decided to ban gay marriages. What a bunch of boneheads. I mean, I have talked with plenty of straight people here, and most of them don’t really care. And like I mentioned before, what harm will come if gay people do get married? Straight people have already screwed up marriage, gay people won’t do any worse. So, I think a lot of people in Missouri just voted for the ban because they seem to think that if they don’t, then they’ll be labeled a fag or something. They are so homophobic that I think a lot of them just go along with what they think is the bandwagon, but they don’t realize how damaging it is. It’s almost like living back in the days before Equal Rights, which now, is worth less than the paper it was written on.

What’s really bad, though, is that there are a ton of gay people who are still living within a closet, and this decision by the public just forces them further into it. I know straight people don’t get this that well, but trust me, hiding further in the closet on who you are really blows. It just makes things worse.


A couple of weeks ago, a female coworker invited me to sit with her and a few of her friends, whom I’d never met, for lunch. I’m not sure if the conversation turned to kids or not, but they never asked me anything more than what department I worked in.

Anyway, after the other two left, my friend asked me about my transition, how things were going, how things were before, etc. She said she almost started to cry when she realized what I was going through before going full time. Then she asked me something I really haven’t been asked before. She wanted to know about the male side of things, and how things were different now. You see, she is single and has a son. She wants to know what to expect.

So, I tell her that testosterone can basically be wrapped up as being “in your face.” It’s always there yelling SEX, SEX, SEX in your head. It makes you feel powerful, and want sex, anxious, and want sex, strong, and it makes you do about anything to have sex. It makes you feel aggressive, and did I mention the sex part?

That is one kinda cool part about transition – I’ve seen both sides. Well, I haven’t fully seen the new side, but I’ve felt my share of this side so far…with a lot more still to explore. It definitely gives me an insight into a lot of different aspects of life.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


On, Wednesday, May 24, 2000, I read the following article by Pauline Arrillage in USA Today:
    Sex-Change nickname makes Colo. town cringe: 'Nobody Cares’ 
    Transformation via surgery has become common in community 
    TRINIDAD, Colo. - The young waitress examined her customers as she refilled their coffee and haltingly asked whether anyone wanted more tea. There was Elise, a buxom brunette in a crop top and hip-huggers. Kate, a Harvard graduate writer in khakis, hand-knit sweater and pearl earrings. Thea, a graphics designer sporting chic suede boots. And Jackie, a towering figure in trousers and blazer. In the lunchtime crowd of merchants, housewives and farmers at the Main Street Bakery and Cafe, the four stuck out like fashion models on a pig farm. Retreating to the kitchen, the waitress pulled her boss aside and stammered, "Those women I'm waiting on? They're men!" Hardly anyone else gave the foursome a second glance. Not in the so-called "Sex-Change Capital of the World." 
    Repeat that phrase to almost any of the town's 9,500 people and one would likely get a lecture on what the southern Colorado hamlet should be known for - its idyllic scenery, comfortable climate and friendly people. Most don't mind that more sex-change operations have been done in their town than anywhere else (about 4,500 to date); they just hate that nickname. 
    "Nobody cares," says Monica Violante, owner of the Main Street Bakery. "It's just a part of Trinidad.” 
    Town in transition 
    Although no formal statistics are kept on the number of sex reassignment surgeries, experts in the field agree that Trinidad’s Stanley Biber – because of the year he began and his age – has performed more than anyone. The International Foundation for Gender Education lists 14 surgeons in the USA and Canada that do the procedure, and, as spokeswoman Sara Herwig points out, “Biber’s been doing it longer than most.” 
    What makes Trinidad unique is not that it’s the sex-change capital of the world, but the fact that this former mining town has come to accept its destiny, depend on it and even embrace it. In 1969, Trinidad was a town in transition. Coal had been king in these parts since the turn of the century, but after World War II, the mines began closing. By the late ‘60’s, only a few remained. Families left, and Main Street, once a bustling collection of department stores, car dealerships and restaurants, became a lifeless shell of shuttered storefronts. Yet, Biber was thriving from his fourth-floor office inside the First National Bank building. 
    As Trinidad’s only general surgeon, Biber did it all – from delivering babies and removing appendixes to reconstructing the cleft palates of poor children. Biber moved here in 1954 after serving as a MASH surgeon in Korea and finishing a stint at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs. In those first 15 years, Biber built a comfortable life around a practice he loved and a town he adored. In 1969, he encountered the patient who would forever change both. A social worker Biber had met asked him to perform her surgery. “Well, of course,” he told her. “What do you want done?” 
    I’m a transsexual,” she replied. And Biber asked, “What is that?” 
    After consulting a New York physician who had done sex reassignment operations and obtaining hand-drawn sketches from Johns Hopkins University, Biber agreed to do the surgery. “She was very happy,” he recalls. “And then it started spreading all over.” 
    With less than a handful of doctors performing the procedure, Trinidad became THE place to come for a sex-change operation, and Biber was THE man to do it. 
    The town’s sole hospital, Mt. San Rafael, was run by Catholic nuns, and Biber hid the charts of his first transsexual patients. But he knew he’d eventually need the approval of the hospital board and his neighbors. Biber explained his work to the sisters and local ministers. 
    “I went through the psychology of it all. They decided as long as we were doing a service and it was a good service, that there was no reason we couldn’t continue doing them,” he says. Soon, Biber was lecturing to the hospital staff and the public. 
    “We figured that’s his way of making a living; more power to him,” says Linda Martinez, 54, a lifelong patient of Biber’s. 
    Lucrative operations 
    Not all agree. The Rev. Verlyn Hanson, pastor of the First Baptist Church for the past three years says the town turned a blind eye to Biber’s work because of the economic boost it provided. “The love of money is the root of all evil, and people will overlook a lot of evil to have a stronger economy,” he says. 
    At one point, Biber’s operations brought about $1 million a year to the hospital, according to his estimates. The basic procedure costs about $11,000, with the hospital taking in a little more than half. 
    At the height of his practice, Biber performed about 150 transsexual operations a year. His patients brought families and friends who remained in town during their loved ones eight-day hospital stay. 
    Whether or not people liked what Biber did, they liked the squat, balding doctor who wore jeans and flannel shirts to work and always said hello. 
    At 77, Biber has scaled back his transsexual business to about 100 surgeries a year. The majority of his practice remains tending to the ills of Trinidad’s citizens. He knows retirement may not be far off, and he’s in search of a surgeon who will continue his work. “It started here, and I want the hospital to continue with it,” he says.

I read this article over 4 years ago, right before seeing my first transsexual, turning 30, and experiencing the first of my anxiety attacks. I’m kinda lucky that all of these events fell into place in order for me to figure out what I needed to do in life. Tonight, 4+ years later, the article might have read:

Oakland, Cali. - The mature gentleman at the counter examined his customers as he prepared their coffee and hot chocolates, teasing one that she had to pay more for his excellent brews. One of them teased back, asking him how fast he could run. There was Claire, supermodelescent in a crop top and hip-huggers. Amy, a science major feeling relaxed in her hoodie and jeans. Amber, a computer programmer sporting her own chic hoodie alongside a cute skirt. And Kara, a curly haired figure straight from the office wearing her slacks and slightly open blouse.
In the evening crowd of students, lovers, and friends at the College Street Cafe, the four stuck out like fashion models at a Miss America pageant. Closing up shop, the gentleman thought to himself, "Those women I flirted with earlier? They're really hot, especially that tall one!" Hardly anyone else gave the foursome a second glance. Not in the so-called "City next to the Transsexual Capital of the World."

It’s kinda funny that the article above talks about the right and wrong of Trinidad living off the income of sex-change surgeries. Tonight, the four of us actually talked a lot about how capitalism and greed have shaped our country. Money rules. Greed destroys. Cars suck. Should gas be a lot higher – perhaps finally bringing about needed change in the States?

Because I ate way too much at dinner, I wasn’t the most alert person during the conversation, but I found it amazing that we talked only briefly about anything T-related. We did, however, wish Claire good luck on her future travels as her current path takes her away from us in the San Francisco Bay Area. Good luck Claire!