Vaginoplasty with Stanley Biber (deceased)

Former contact information: (revised October 2009)

Former address: 406 First National Bank Building Trinidad, Colorado 81082
Former phone: (719) 846-3301

Website: see http://www.marcibowers.com


Memorials and tributes

There was a memorial service for Stanley Biber, M.D. in Trinidad, Colorado, on Monday February 6, 2006 at 7 p.m. at the "Sebastiani Gym" on Animas Street.

Yasmene from the-sisterhood.net [defunct as of 2009] wrote to say that plans are underway for a Biber Girls Reuinion on 10 October 2006 in Trinidad, in honor of Stanley Biber Day. To be a part of the event or for more information please join the Biber Girls Club House at http://groups.msn.com/TheBiberGirls [defunct as of 2009]


Stanley Biber (1923–2006) was a pioneer in vaginoplasty for trans women, having performed thousands of procedures since 1969. Dr. Biber also performed hundreds of procedures for transmen over his long career. In 2003, Dr. Biber's practice was taken over by Marci Bowers, who wrote this beautiful tribute the day after he died:

Wow, the word spreads so quickly.

I found out about Dr. Biber's passing this morning, moments before entering surgery.

We had known of his ill health since he had arrived home from a cattle drive to Texas in December. Not surprisingly, at age 82, Dr. Biber insisited upon leading the cattle drive, culminating work from his 2000-head ranch . I think all of us had expected him to live on given his vitality and energy. A former pre-olympic weight-lifter, Stanley would leave his family practice each afternoon at 3 PM to lift weights and work out until the pneumonia slowed him in late December. He appeared to improve on antibiotics until declining once again just prior to New Year's Day. Dr. Biber then called his wife to say he was "not feeling too well" and asked her to bring him to the hospital.

I am devastated personally as Dr. Biber has meant so much to me personally...and has meant even more to the transgender community. Fitting irony has it that on the nite of Dr. Biber's passing Desperate Housewives' Felicity Huffman was awarded the Golden Globes Award for Best Actress for her role as a transgender woman in Transamerica. It occurred to me how that honor might not have been possible had Dr. Biber not courageously altered his practice in 1969 when a local social worker here in Trinidad asked Dr. Biber, a General Surgeon and true family physician, to perform her surgery. When asked 'what surgery?', Dr. Biber's surprise was calmly muted when the young woman told him that she was biologically male but felt herself to be female. Dr. Biber, always non-judgmental and unconditional in his love for patients and other human beings, simply sent for drawings describing Dr. Georges Burou's technique for male-to-female genital conversion. The surgery was successful and his legacy was borne.

Word of Dr. Biber as 'Sex Change Surgeon' quickly spread as his reputation for precision, reliability, safety and functionality of the surgery. Over 35 years Dr. Biber performed more than 5000 of these life-changing procedures, ending his surgery career in 2003 at age 80, tho he continued to serve our local community as a general practitioner over these past 3 years. He had a swagger, a grace and a calming influence that I'll never forget. He was an anchor in this small community and will be dearly missed.

I spent 7 amazing months learning this man's trade, having myself practiced gynecologic surgery and obstetrics over the preceeding 16 years. Although it seems that the baton was passed in 2003 when I took over the surgery duties in this 'Sex Change Capital of the World', it will be many years and many surgeries before I fill his shoes in any meaningful way. Dr. Biber had a resoluteness and fairness about him that transcended this small town's objections to his controversial practice. He had a way of convincing the undecided and calming the fearful among Trinidad's residents. He blazed the way through the 70's and 80's when University-based programs were restricting access to their gender programs or closing altogether. Dr. Biber not only welcomed these patients but embraced their struggle, eventually helping found the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association. The Benjamin organization (HBIGDA) gave legitimacy to the concept of gender dysphoria and set in place criteria by which an individual could objectively climb through the maze of decision points inherent in a 'sex change'.

Above all, Dr. Biber will be remembered as a simple townsperson and an overachieving rancher but someone you could sit down with and share a cup of coffee. His legacy as one of the pioneering surgeons of the 20th century will remain only a footnote to Trinidad's recollection of him simply as 'Doc'.

General pages:

LINK: Sex Machine by Harrison Fletcher, Denver Westword August 27, 1998

LINK: Sex-Change Industry a Boon to Small City by James Brooke, New York Times, November 8, 1998

LINK: Old mining town now 'sex-change' capital by Pauline Arrilaga The Associated Press May 22, 1999

LINK: Dr. Compassion by Lisa Neff, The Advocate, May 25, 1999

LINK: Georgie Girl: Trinidad, Colorado via PBS (2003)

LINK: The Biber Girls

LINK: Dr. Stanley Biber (Jen Burke's comment on a 2004 piece in Rocky Mountain News)

LINK: The Doctor is Out Alan Prendergast, Denver Westword, July 22, 2004

Related pages:

LINK: Crossing: A Memoir by Dierdre McCloskey (surgery in 1996)

LINK: Review of Biber on Geraldo by Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times Dec. 1, 1993

Usenet refers to articles by Michael Haederle Los Angeles Times January 23, 1995 and Sue Anne Pressley, Washington Post, May 13, 1998.

IFGE also lists a video called An Evening with Dr. Stanley Biber about his MTF Technique. Also through CDS

LINK: Doctor Biber's Letter by Melanie Anne Phillips (1991)

LINK: Post-op Care by Stanley Biber (1991) via Melanie Anne Phillips

Consumer experiences (most recent first)

LINK: Passage through Trinidad: journal of a surgical sex change, Claudine Griggs (1996)

LINK: My Sex Reassignment Surgery: A Biber Girl, Class of '93, Tells All by Jessy X (1993) via Susans.org

LINK: Chapter 24: Closure by Melanie Anne Phillips (1992) [for extended account, start at Chapter 20 in Diaries]

LINK: The Trinidad Experience by Jennifer York (undated), via Ingersoll Gender Center