Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Trinidad": small town in Colorado, is a hidden medical ashram for transgendered


Trinidad” (2008), directed by Jay Hodges and P.J. Raval, is named after the town just east of the Rockies, at 6000 feet, in extreme southern Colorado, traces the social climate of the town since 1969, when Dr. Stanley Biber began performing sexual reassignment surgery in the town. Gradually, the town developed a reputation as a place to go for such surgery (although I never really heard that even when living in Dallas in the 1980s).

Much of the documentary deals with a modern day surgeon, Laura, herself having changed after having a daughter and son, both teenagers, in a conventional marriage.  She loses her malpractice insurance when her company is sold to a faith-based carrier.  (She gets another policy but will eventually have to move.) She does face the resentment of some people in the heavily Catholic town over “religious morality” (who try to form an organization called “Coalition of the Willing”).  She says she did what she did for herself, even though she understood it could hurt her family through the opinions of others, so she emerges almost like an Ayn Rand hero. Toward the end, the film quotes a Rush Limbaugh broadcast where Rush claims that gays want a fight, and a religious mogul says that the country could fail to survive if it becomes “sissified”.

Laura helps renovate a house, called Morning Glow, to be used as a rehab center for patients. She also says that the surgery accomplishes “genital reassignment” (or reconstruction, and a few graphic anatomical  stills are shown), and that gender, in contrast, is already established in the mind (hence the word transgender).

A case is presented where a woman, after the surgery, was ordered by a court to leave her home (wife and kids) in a divorce case (and even stay 500 feet away from the house), but she eventually did win visitation rights. 

I recall passing through the town once in May 1984, while on the way back (to Dallas) from a trip where I had visited the Lama Foundation in New Mexico, and then gone out to the Four Corners area and then visited Mesa Verde.

The official site (Surly Puppy, Cinema Guild and Showtime) is here.


Wikipedia attribution link for image of Trinidad locomotive. 

The film is shot in full screen, 4:3 aspect ratio. I watched it in Netflix Instant play. 

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