August 10 2010, 1:27 PM
The small town of Trinidad, near Colorado's border with New Mexico, has long been known as the sex-change capital of the world. And thanks to Dr. Marci Bowers, whose famous mentor was the late Dr. Stanley Biber, the town is now gaining a new reputation as a place of hope for the victims of female genital mutilation (or female circumcision), according to The Associated Press. Bowers has performed about two dozen reconstructive surgeries on women---mostly women born in Africa and victimized as children---making her one of the few U.S. doctors to offer the operation. Bowers, who received a gender-reassignment operation in the 1990s, began offering the surgeries last year after learning techniques from Dr. Pierre Foldes, who performs the procedure in France. Bowers donates her surgical services; patients pay only uninsured hospital fees and travel and lodging expenses. Bowers, who will move to California this fall, leaving Mt. San Rafael Hospital with no immediate plans for another gender-reassignment surgeon, wants to create a program to help other doctors learn the procedure. "Somewhere, at some point, women have got to hold hands and say, 'No, no more. We're not going to do this anymore,'" she says. Meanwhile, federal legislation has been proposed that aims to help immigrant women in the United States win asylum for themselves and their daughters on the grounds that they face female circumcision in their homelands, writes Voice of America.