"The Sex Change Capital of the World ..."
Trinidad Colorado is a typical Colorado 'Wild West' pivot point and welcoming spot for tourists entering the Wild West from the Mexican styled Southwest. Trinidad was at the heart of the Santa Fe Trail between St. Joseph Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico which was used heavily by travellers on foot, horses, wagons, and then the railroad. Now along the pass is Interstate 25 continuing the history of being one of the most travelled routes between Colorado and New Mexico to this day. The state border crossing of Colorado and New Mexico lies just a few miles south of the city over the scenic beautiful Raton pass. Trinidad in 2005 had a population of approximately 9,077 citizens and is the most populated city for Las Animas County Colorado. The city encompasses approximately 6.3 square miles and lies in the Purgatoire River Valley at an elevation of 6,025 feet above sea level. On the Northern end of town is a prominant bluff named "Simpson's Rest" for 'George Simpson' - one of the founding residents of Trinidad who is buried atop the bluff. Trinidad historically was a miner town for the coal mines located at Raton basin South and West of town. Now closed, the town went through some economic depression, until the 1980's when they began drilling gas wells to extract coalbed methane from the leftover coal seams. Trinidad's other major industry is "Sex Change Operations" and thereby has given Trinidad the label of the "Sex Change Capital of the World". This came about when Dr. Stanley Biber, veteran surgeon returning from Korea, became the local doctor who was reknown world-wide for sex re-assignment surgery. He got that reputation from a 1969 operation on a local social worker who asked if he would perform surgery for her, and he did at a time when very few doctors would venture into that type of operation. At his peak he performed four sex change operations a day. The practice was taken over by Marci Bowers in 2003. As Trinidad is a conservative small Western town ... his practice of sex-change operations made some of the local residents uncomfortable, but the revenue that the industry has brought to the town, including a high-tech hospital, pacificied many complaints. In addition, Biber was a very respected community leader in the area who was even featured in an episode of South Park where the elementary school teacher Mr. Garrison undergoes a sex change operation. For local Coloradoans, there is a humored joke that when someone says they are "Taking a trip to Trinidad" it is jested that it means they are going in for a sex change operation.
Another famous resident of Trinidad was "Bat Masterson" the famed Old West gunman who was Trinidad's town Marshal in the mid-1880's. His brother 'Jim Masterson' was also a famed gunman. Erick Hawkins, one of America's leading modern-dance choreographers also came from Trinidad. Rock musician 'Ronnie Lane' spent the last of his years in Trinidad. Lawrence Welk Show's dancer 'Cissy King' spent the formative years in Trinidad, and football coach 'John Gagliardi' also came from Trinidad. Scotland's famous composer 'Thomas Wilson' was also Trinidad born and raised before relocating to Glasgow. Sihk music star 'Snatam Kaur' was also Trinidad born. For a town of 9,000 people ... Trinidad has alot to boast.