A reader writes: “I am a single, black middle-aged (if you plan to live to 102) FTM. I presently live in New York. I will be retiring in the next five years and have considered relocating to Trinidad for many reasons. Health is paramount – I would need a doctor for “T”, blood work and everything else. I want to live in an area that has less than 2 million, yet affordable.
“My relocation concerns are not only about my trans status but also being African-American. Does Trinidad have any black residents? Is it a calm, tranquil place where, even if there are not many, it’s a non-issue? Granted, I would need to take a trip out there – I just need the facts – yours and anyone else’s.”
I definitely hope readers will help me out on this one. But here’s what I know:
Trinidad, Colorado, has gotten quite a reputation for itself as the “sex change capital of the world,” thanks to Dr. Stanley Biber, who, for decades, performed surgery for countless people who were transitioning – primarily from male to female. After Biber retired, Dr. Marci Bowers took over his practice and continued Trinidad’s legacy – although my understanding is that she will soon be relocating her practice to San Francisco.
The reality is that Trinidad is a small, rural Colorado town with a population of slightly over 9,000 residents, and fewer than 1 percent of those residents are black, according to census figures.
Several of Dr. Biber’s and Dr. Bowers’ patients have relocated to Trinidad, giving the town a higher percentage of trans residents than most towns of its size and nature. Most of those trans people who have relocated to Trinidad are trans women.
Non-trans people in the town also tend to have a higher level of acceptance of trans people than you would likely find in other rural Colorado towns, simply because they have had exposure over time. Research says that if people who know a member of a particular marginalized group, they are more likely to accept that group.
However, other than Marci Bowers’ surgical practice, I am not aware that Trinidad offers any particular specialized trans services that you would not be able to get elsewhere. The general physicians in Trinidad are probably more used to working with trans people – particularly trans women – so you might have a slightly easier time finding a physician who would understand your needs or be open to learning them, but there are many places that would offer you the same options.
Trinidad is a beautiful little town – there’s no doubt about that. Colorado is a beautiful state. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado itself has 4.4 percent black residents, compared to the U.S. average of 12.9 percent – so black people are underrepresented in the entire state itself.
However, Colorado has trans-friendly laws for the entire state, including an inclusive ENDA and public accommodations laws. The city of Denver, which is getting more expensive to live in and might be a little bigger than what you are looking for, has a larger black population and a very large Latino population, and it offers many multicultural events and activities. But I live here, and I think it’s a good city. Others might have a different view.
So this is where I turn it over to my readers. Those who are more familiar with Trinidad – what do you think? And what other suggestions can readers offer for great smaller cities and town, in Colorado and elsewhere, for this reader?