Dr. Marcie Bowers gave birth to more than 2,000 babies during her time at Seattle Polyclinic in Swedish, many before she became a transgender woman during her own rebirth.
“I was out of sight,” Bowers said recently. “It was surreal.”
In 1998, Bowers left Seattle to start a new life in the world. She practiced as a doctor specializing in sex reassignment surgery in Trinidad, a former mining town in Colorado.
Colorado journalist Martin Smith. In the new center of Smith’s book “Going to Trinidad” are the practice, the city աշխատանքը Bauers work. The book, to be published Thursday, features two Seattle women offering a look at a community problem that has been a constant part of the news cycle in recent weeks.
On March 31, President Biden issued the first Presidential Declaration on Transgender Visibility Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of discrimination against transgender people and their contribution to society.
The same day, the Pentagon announced new regulations that changed the rules set by the Trump administration, which effectively banned transgender people from serving in the military.
And on March 24, Dr. Rachel Levine became the most openly transgender official in US history when she was appointed Assistant Secretary of Health.
“I think it’s a nice sound to say that all this progress has been made,” Bowers said of his office in Burlingham, California, where he moved his OB-GYN practice from Trinidad in 2010. There is still a long way to go.
“It’s great if you’re a left-wing, progressive person,” he continued, “but in terms of accepting it as a major part of diversity, it’s still at the end of the rainbow.”
Trinidad seems to have been just that, for people who wanted sex reassignment surgery 40 years ago. The medical practice, the first such private practice in the country, was started by Dr. Stanley Bieber in 1969.
In 2003, after operating on hundreds of patients, he handed over the practice to Bowers.
They were introduced in 2000 by Marsha Botzer, founder of the Ingersoll Gender Center, which she started in Seattle in 1977 as a resource for transgender, non-gender reformers.
Transgender Botzer still lives in Seattle. In the book, he told Smith about pasting business cards bearing the Ingersoll Center phone number in several library books on gender issues.
“There was no internet at the time, there was no way to reach out,” he told Smith. “So that’s how people would find us.”
Smith wrote that Botzer made more than 100 trips to Trinidad, accompanying patients he met in Colorado through Ingersol for surgery. In the process, he became close to Bieber, who performed more than 2,300 surgeries on male and female genital mutilation, and 1,000 male-female surgeries.
“I deeply appreciated his good work,” Botzer says in the book. “I saw his skill and passion in the operating room. He was wonderful. “
When he learned that Bieber was looking for a defender, Botzer brought Bowers to Trinidad to meet him. While Bowers was watching the surgery, Bieber handed him the clove to test the skill.
Bowers eventually moved to Trinidad, where he practiced Biber and innovated his technique.
But it seemed like a good time for Bowers to leave Seattle, where she was head of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the Swedish Medical Center and OB-GYN at the Polyclinic.
He moved in 1998, and “it was shocking,” Bower said.
“There were a lot of people who really supported me when I came out, hoping I would do well,” he said, adding that most of his patients stayed with him as he passed. He recalled the wife of Brigham Young University’s starting guard կնոջ, who forced Bowers to give Bowsers two of their four children as men and two as women.
He said. “A true, ideal kind of Christianity.”
It helped her switch from male to female և serving female clients.
But there were many people, patients and colleagues, who “went the other way,” Bowers said.
“I ran to the dark side,” he said. “This conservative dark side that did not know what I was talking about. They were looking for me to climb. ”
About the same time he learned of Bieber.
“I just read the tea’s and said, ‘Well, this is my destiny,'” Bowers said in an interview. “I did not really have a choice. I just had to go. ”
Smith made history after moving to Colorado in 2016. He had a cousin who made the transition, always fascinated by what transgender people went through, becoming their true selves. Trinidad gave him space by finding answers by telling the stories of Bieber և Bauers, as well as the stories of some of their patients.
“I wanted to make those stories very human,” Smith said. “It makes it difficult to caricature transgender men and women, as boys in women’s clothing try to enter girls’ locker rooms.
“All the choices they had to make, all the torment they went through, coming to this place asking for peace. No one does that so they can join the girls’ team and beat them all. ”
According to him, the book lesson can be described in one word. Acceptance: It spread quickly and forever in Trinidad, after the well-respected Bieber gathered citizens, clergy, and city officials to tell them that people coming to their city needed help.
He said to them: “I can relieve their pain, that’s the right thing to do,” they said.
Patients came with their families էր it turned out that they were good for business, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants. Some moved there and joined the community.
“For the most part, Trinidad accepted them as they are,” Smith said. “And that’s a lesson.”
Bowers, whose family still lives in Seattle, is now president of the World Association of Transgender Health Professionals and a strong advocate for transgender rights.
He said Seattle could be progressive, but the rest of the country was lagging behind. It is difficult for transgender people to find a job. About 230 transgender women are killed each year, most of them women of color.
“People need to hire trans people. They need to understand that the only thing we measure in two ways in nature is gender,” Bowers said. “It simply came to our notice then.
“We will never reach that place of peace or harmony on Earth without realizing that everything is represented in diversity, including gender and gender identity.
“There is nothing to be afraid of.”