For forty years, Trinidad, Colorado was known amongst locals, and those in the transgender community, as the “sex-change capital of the world.” An estimated 6,000 gender reassignment surgeries took place in this remote ranch town between 1969 and 2010.
Veteran journalist and award-winning author Martin J. Smith joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest, Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads. He discusses finding the subjects of the book, and their willingness to open the most private aspects of their lives to him. He talks about researching Trinidad and Dr. Stanley Biber, a larger-than-life figure who perfected the surgery after serving as a trauma medic during the Korean War. And he discusses writing about this most vulnerable and misunderstood population from an outsider’s perspective, the challenges he faced, and how he overcame them. Smith also talks about how his own mindset shifted as a result of this project.
Throughout the conversation, there’s wonderful advice for aspiring journalists, nonfiction writers, and those committed to the art of storytelling.
(Broadcast date: April 14, 2021)