Marci L. Bowers (b. Mark Bowers in 1958) is an American born gynecologist who currently operates a surgical practice in Trinidad, Colorado. Bowers is viewed as an innovator in the field of transgender surgery, as well as a pioneer, being the first transsexual woman to be performing the surgery. Bowers has been referred to as the "Rock Star" of transgender surgery.
Bowers graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1986, where she was president of both her class, and the entire student body. Bowers later went on to study under the late Dr. Stanley Biber, a surgeon who performed over 4,000 transgender surgeries, and is credited for giving Trinidad the title "Sex Change Capital of the World."
Before moving to Trinidad, Bowers had a successful practice at the PolyClinic in Seattle, and has delivered over 2000 babies. Bowers has also served as Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chairperson at Swedish (Providence) Medical Center, and was named the only physician member of the Washington State midwifery Board. She was named as one of "America's Best Physicians" for the 2002 to 2003 awards, and is a member-elect of the European Academy of Sciences.
When Biber retired in 2003 at the age of 80, Bowers took over his practice, and since then, has done over 300 sexual reassignment surgeries, performing about five operations per week at Mt. San Rafael hospital. Bowers says her surgeries bring an estimated $1.6 million (USD) per year to the hospital; she performs an average of 130 surgeries per year  and charges $18,500 (USD) per MTF genital reassignment surgery, a substantial portion of which covers hospital costs. This surgery is only one part of a complete gender transition, and the entire cost of transition, which may include various cosmetic surgeries, adds up to over $100,000 (USD) for some people.
Sex reassignment surgery generally is not performed on persons under the age of 18 in the United States. However, the issue of athletes who change sexes before puberty has been brought up to Bowers, in relation to a minor who had a sex change operation and wished to try out for a cheerleading team. Bowers was consulted about the issue, and said that most surgeons, including herself, would require patients to wait until they are over the age of 18.
In 2004, Bowers appeared in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation entitled "Ch-ch-changes", which focused on transsexuality, and served as a consultant for the episode.
Bowers has been a guest on the American talk shows The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and was the subject of a six-part BBC documentary series first shown on British television Channel 4. The documentary was titled "Sex Change Hospital" and featured her performing genital reassigments, as well as covering the back stories of the patients. The series was also shown on Channels 4's spin off channel, E4. Bowers has also been interviewed for a variety of magazines.
Not all of Trinidad's residents are happy with the town's title of "Sex Change Capital", Terry Keith, a pastor for the All Nations Fellowship church, commented: "Our reputation as sex-change capital of the world has brought shame and reproach on the community," in an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain in 2005. That same year, two pastors petitioned to have the clinic shut down, citing a study done by Johns Hopkins University that they claimed proved surgery was not successful in treating gender identity issues. The petition was rejected.
Bowers countered that the church misrepresented the study data, explaining "If you look at the actual study itself, the satisfaction rates and happiness rates after [surgeries] were overwhelmingly positive, their interpretation of the study was that the respondents—the patients themselves—couldn’t possibly be accurate about what they were feeling, because they were crazy in the first place. There’s been nothing like it since—and it’s very important to point out that it’s from 1972."
At the age of 19, Bowers first attempted the transition from man to woman, but with a lack of family support and funds, was unsuccessful. Twenty years later, she successfully completed the procedure. Bowers married eleven years prior to her surgery, and remains married to her spouse. They have three children, and while they no longer have an intimate relationship, Bowers says they are "closer than sisters." During her spare time, Bowers likes to play golf, read, cook and travel to Seattle to visit her children. She was also shown on a Discovery Health Channel one-hour LGBT-themed special about two trannsexual women transitioning and their stories, "Switching Sexes: The Aftermath".
|“||"Transitioning is like walking on lily pads: You have to be careful with each step, or you're going to sink. It takes as lot of money, courage and a certain amount of planning, I'm just glad I can help." - Marci Bowers||”|
- Jacob Anderson-Minshall (2006). Trans Surgeon Keeps Small Town On Map (English). San Francisco Bay Times. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- L.A. Johnson (2006). Transgender woman followed long road to feel at home with herself (English). Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- The Seattle Times (2006). Few private policies cover sex changes (English). The Seattle Times. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Faye Flam (2006). Transsexual describes female-to-male transformation (English). The Seattle Times. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Colorado State University (2005). Trinidad Gender Reassignment Surgeon to speak at Colorado State University - Pueblo (English). Colorado State University. Retrieved on October 12, 2007.
- Marc Gunther (2006). How Corporate America fell in love with gays and lesbians. It's a movement (English). CNN Money. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Margalit Fox (2006). Obituaries: Stanley H. Biber, 82, Surgeon Among First to Do Sex Changes (English). The New York Times. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Douglas Brown (2007). Trinidad's transgender rock star (English). The Denver Post. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- California Dreamin Organization (April 15, 2007). Dr. Marci Bowers. California Dreamin Organization. Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
- Laura-Claire Corson (2007). Country's most popular gender-reassignment surgeon has been through it (English). The Associated Press / The Times. Retrieved on October 18, 2007.
- Associated Press/CBS (2006). Sex Change Doctor Dead At 82 (English). CBS News. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Deborah Frazier (2006). Sex-change pioneer a beloved friend, mentor (English). Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Laura Onstot (2007). Shoulder Pads, Pom-Poms, and the Angry Inch (English). Seattle Weekly. Retrieved on October 20, 2007.
- Harpo Productions, Inc. (2006). Gender Identity (English). Harpo Productions, Inc.. Retrieved on October 10, 2007.
- Channel4 (2007). Sex Change Hospital (English). Channel4. Retrieved on October 12, 2007.
- Alan Prendergast (2004). The Doctor is Out. Denver Westword News. Retrieved on November 8, 2007.
- Jacob Anderson-Minshall (2006). Trans Surgeon Keeps Small Town Top Destination. EXP Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-11-08.
- Marci Bowers at the Internet Movie Database
- Media appearances at Marcibowers.com
- National Public Radio story about Trinidad and sex change.
- Marci Bowers at Albino Crow Photography
- Dr Marci Bowers image gallery