Thursday, May 30, 2013

Trinidad, CO: Sex Change Capital of the World

main street tap house trinidad colorado
The first time Sash and I visited Trinidad, CO was a couple of years ago when we pulled into town for lunch.  We were only passing through on our way to Santa Fe.

She loved its downtown, full of shops and cafes built inside of old red brick buildings from the early 1900s.  "I want to come back here some day", she said.

But that was during the afternoon.

So here we are, on this 6-month motorcycle road trip, and we find ourselves headed back to Trinidad.

"Oh, you mean the sex change capital of the world?", someone mentioned to us, when they asked us where we were going.  I think we were in Albuquerque at the time.  I thought they were just kidding.  But when we were in Los Alamos, at another cafe, I swore I overhead another person mention, "The sex change capital of the world, Trinidad".

Now, my head was filled with visions of tall women with hairy arms and guys with smooth faces and boobs.  I was certain I hadn't seen any such people the first time we were there, but then again, I wasn't paying attention.

So, I had to do some research on this via Google.  Sure enough, at one time in the 1960s, there was a surgeon there named Dr. Stanley Biber, who at one time boasted that he was responsible for 50% of the world's gender reassignments.  At his peak, he was sewing penises on chicks and labia on guys four times a day.  The term, "going to Trinidad" became a popular euphemism.  Biber died in 2006, leaving the practice to his associate, Dr. Marci Bowers, who had been previously known as "Mark Bowers".

Um, yeah.

But just as Trinidad came and went with the coal mines and the railroad, times seem to have come full circle yet again when Dr. Bowers moved his her practice to San Francisco.

Oh sure, during the day, Trinidad is brimming with families and kids going about their business.  But we're travelers, who work on our laptops during the day and venture out at night for fun.  Or so we thought.

Sash and I spent the first night in downtown Trinidad looking for a good bar to hang out at.  We found Main St. Tap House.  With "tap house" in the name, it sounded like a place with good beer.  But as it turned out, it only had four taps, and one of them was domestic.  They had food too, but a very short menu, and all the hot food they were out of, aside from melted cheese sticks.

But their bartender Jill was cute, and very friendly (I'm assuming she's a real woman).

However, Main St. Tap House was pretty much dead.  We were the only customers.  And poor Jill, she'd just have to entertain herself once we left.  As it turned out, the entire downtown was dead, not just the Tap House.  About half of the storefronts were boarded up.

"We used to have a lot customers here", Jill said.  "But in the past three months, it has really tailed off.  I don't know why."

We were going to leave in the morning, but we were still too tired from the previous two days of riding twisties and getting bombarded by hail, that we opted to stay another night.

But the next night we hung out at Brix, a new night club in town.  As it turned out, this place was rocking.  Everybody in town was here.  There was a line at the door to get in.  Sash and I took seats at the bar.  This place had a special lounge room with curtains draping the front so you couldn't see the 20-somethings rubbing against each other.  They had dancing and a rooftop bar.

I asked the bartender how long Brix had been open.

"Three months", he said.

Well, that explains why Main St. Tap House ain't doing so good.

But that's not to say that the Tap House can't compete.  Much of the town's businesses had already long died.  I guess when Dr. Bowers left for San Francisco, she took much of Trinidad's tourism industry with her.

trinidad colorado downtown
Trinidad,CO seems alive during the day, but at night the same street looks dead.
main street tap house trinidad colorado
Main St. Tap House seemed like a promising place, but no customers and very little beer and food available.
main street tap house trinidad colorado
Main St Tap House looks cozy and cool inside, but not much going on.
brix trinidad colorado
Apparently, Brix Night Club is where everybody hangs out.
brix night club trinidad colorado
Sash is having more fun at Brix Night Club


  1. Another biggotted "author."

  2. Steve:

    I had to get my map out to see where this was. Looks like a nice town, and probably safe too. You are finding the neatest places

    ride safely

    Riding the Wet Coast

  3. Interesting story guys, never heard that. Good shot of Main St. it looks like a cool little town.

  4. I knew Dr. B personally since I was a little kid. He was a great guy and would give the shirt off his back for anybody. I used to hunt on his land North East of Trinidad, or as us locals call it sometimes "Tranny-dad" and when I was butchering meat at the local meat shop and I almost chopped my finger off. I went right out to his house and he fixed me up in his kitchen. Not only did he do sex changes, but he was one of the best surgeons around and did more than JUST sex changes. Dr. B was a pretty good guy. He might have had a weird reputation but if you really knew the guy you would have nothing but nice things to say about him. Trinidad is a great place with great people. It's big enough that for the most part theres always something to do but small enough that pretty much everybody knows who you are.


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