Sex Change Hospital

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Sex Change Hospital
Sex Change Hospital.png
GenreDocumentary-style reality television[1]
Directed byChris McKim[2]
StarringMarci Bowers
Theme music composerDavid Benjamin Stein
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Fenton Bailey
  • Randy Barbato
  • Jeremy Simmons[2]
Producer(s)Marci Bowers (consulting producer)
  • Damon Hennessey
  • Kenneth Wilson
  • Nathan Allen
  • Jonathon Anderson
  • Clay Foster
  • Chris Lovett
  • Michael McCauley
Camera setupMulti-camera
Production company(s)World of Wonder[3]
Original networkMore4
First shown inUnited Kingdom
Original release23 May (2007-05-23) –
27 June 2007 (2007-06-27)[4]
External links
Channel 4 web page
World of Wonder web page

Sex Change Hospital is a documentary-style reality television series[1] about 12 transgender people who have sex reassignment surgery at the Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, Colorado,[5] under the care of OB/GYN Marci Bowers.[6][7] The patients talk about their lives, and viewers follow them through their consultations with Dr. Bowers, the surgical procedures, and their post-surgical experience.

Sex Change Hospital was produced by World of Wonder, and premiered in the United Kingdom on More4 in May 2007. In June, a 47-minute excerpt screened at the 31st Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco. After the series aired on US specialty channel WE tv in 2008, it was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. (The award went to A Jihad for Love.) Discovery Health rebroadcast the series in the US in 2009, and again in 2011 when it relaunched as Discovery Fit & Health.

Dr. Bowers was the subject of the 2008 documentary Trinidad;[8] she and her practice also feature in the final episode of TransGeneration, a documentary-style reality series that aired in 2005.


Dr. Marci Bowers is a gynecologist and obstetrician at the Mt. San Rafael Hospital in Trinidad, Colorado. She is also a surgeon who specializes in gender confirmation surgeries, and she herself is transgender. Over the course of six episodes, 12 transgender people visit Dr. Bowers for surgery.

In each episode, two new patients of Dr. Bowers describe something of their family lives, their experiences as transgender people, and their feelings about the past and this new phase of their transition. When they arrive at the hospital, the doctor talks with them about the procedure and their needs. In the operating room, Dr. Bowers' explanations of different aspects of the procedure are interspersed with conversation amongst the surgical team. After surgery, once the patient is ready, Dr. Bowers visits them in their room, where they chat and talk about the surgical outcome and aftercare.


Title[9] Air date
UK (More4)[4] US (WE tv)[10][11]
1"Vicki and Jim"23 May 2007 (2007-05-23)14 October 2008

Vicki Estrada is a 54-year-old trans woman who has come to Mt. San Rafael for genital reassignment surgery. She is accompanied by her girlfriend Cristina and father Steven, both of whom are very supportive. Cristina describes how Vicki's transition has prompted her own introspection, and says that she has become a better person for it.

Jim Howley is a 33-year-old trans man from Hilliard, Ohio. After years of unhappiness, substance abuse, and suicide attempts, Jim has the full of support of his parents, who are relieved that Jim has a path toward wellness. He is at Mt. San Rafael for a hysterectomy. (World of Wonder later cast Jim in their reality dating series, Transamerican Love Story.)[12]
2"Stephanie and Ryan"30 May 2007 (2007-05-30)21 October 2008

Stephanie Battaglino (age 47) works as a marketing director. She has come to Dr. Bowers for genital reassignment surgery. With Stephanie is her best friend, Diana (74), whose presence is essential to her. They keep Stephanie's sister and son up-to-date on her progress.

Ryan Brown is a 40-year-old trans man from South Dakota. Last year he came to Mt. San Rafael for an hysterectomy, metoidioplasty, and testicular implants. One of the implants is causing him pain, and Dr. Bowers decides to replace it. For him and his wife, Kim, the surgeries are extremely important, but the expense is so great it has bankrupted them.
3"Malinda and Alaina"6 June 2007 (2007-06-06)28 October 2008

After Malinda Chadwick (54) started living as a woman, her wife of 28 years left, and their son cut Malinda out. Malinda was heartbroken. Gena, an online friend, gave her support, and their friendship developed into a relationship. They work together as bounty hunters. After surgery, bounty hunting seems too aggressive for Malinda, and the couple turns their attention to gold mining.

Alaina Hardy is a 35-year-old patient who is about to have genital reassignment surgery. She comes to Trinidad with her partner and her best friend Krista.
4"Lisa and Jackie"13 June 2007 (2007-06-13)4 November 2008

45-year-old Lisa Scott started transition one year ago, and has had little support. She is about to have genital reassignment surgery and breast augmentation.

Jackie Feakins, age 53, postponed transition until after her children graduated high school and she retired from her job as an air traffic controller. She has come to the hospital for male-to-female genital reassignment; two of her sons are with her.
5"Bree and Charlie"20 June 2007 (2007-06-20)11 November 2008

Bree Miller, age 40, was born in a small town in Tennessee. She has tried to begin transition more than once, but stopped because of the hostility she encountered. She started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in 2006, and is now preparing for genital reassignment surgery. Her therapist (Saroj Chand, LPC-MHSP) arrives separately to observe the surgery in a professional capacity.

Charlie Snook is a trans man who started HRT about five years ago, at age 46. He is in Trinidad for a vaginectomy, metoidioplasty, and testicular implants. He is accompanied by a friend who is eager to meet Dr. Bowers.
6"Emeri and Donna"27 June 2007 (2007-06-27)18 November 2008

Emeri Burks is a 20-year-old university student. If she does not have genital reassignment surgery before she graduates, it will not be covered by her mother's health insurer. However, because of a risk factor, the surgery must be postponed. (Emeri finally did have surgery in the summer of 2007.)[13]

Donna Richards is a 52-year-old trans woman who is preparing for genital reassignment surgery. With her is Dave, her partner of five years. She came out at work in 2002, and began to transition soon after.

Production and broadcast[edit]

Sex Change Hospital was produced by World of Wonder, a company that had previously produced the 2005 docusoap TransGeneration (in which Dr. Bowers briefly appears). After Sex Change Hospital, World of Wonder produced a reality dating game show called Transamerican Love Story (2008). One of Dr. Bowers' patients, Jim Howley, was cast a contestant in the show.

Although World of Wonder is an American production company, the television premiere of Sex Change Hospital was on a British digital television channel, More4, where it aired from May to June 2007.[4] Stateside, a 47-minute excerpt screened at the 31st Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco on 14 June.[14][15][16] The television premiere in the US was on WE tv (a specialty channel marketed to women) where it aired from October to November 2008. Another speciality channel, Discovery Health, rebroadcast the series in the US from February to March 2009,[6] and again in 2011 when it relaunched as Discovery Fit & Health.[17][18]


"While it's great that such documentaries… are making it easier to understand people who might have led completely tormented secret lives in previous generations," wrote Andrea Mullaney of The Scotsman, "focusing purely on personal stories doesn't really open up the issues behind this extraordinary development in modern times.… while their stories evoked sympathy, I wonder why no one ever asks why our gender roles have become so codified that their only option was such drastic surgery."[19]

David Hinckley of the New York Daily News expected that the show would present some viewers with "high hurdles": transgender themes and graphic footage of surgery. "On the other hand", he adds, "the human part of the story—the things that patients and the people in their lives go through—provides familiar dramas about conflict, doubt and reconciliation. Often touching, those stories can resonate with everyone."[1]

After the series aired in the US in 2008, it was nominated for the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary.[20][21] The award went to Parvez Sharma's A Jihad for Love,[22] a feature-length documentary about LGBT Muslims living in different countries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hinckley, David (13 October 2008). "A Surgeon Who Operates Across the Gender Gap in Sex Change Hospital". New York Daily News. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Sex Change Hospital [23/08/2007]". BFI Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Update on 'Female or She-male' sketch and RuPaul's Drag Race". GLAAD. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Sex Change Hospital: Image Gallery". Channel 4. 2007. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  5. ^ DiNunno, Gina (11 November 2008). "Transgender Doctor Talks Sex Change Hospital". TV Guide. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b "An Intimate Portrait of a Transgender Doctor's Life". On Top. On Top Media. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  7. ^ Roberts, Michael (14 October 2008). "Trinidad Gets Its Closeup Tonight in Sex Change Hospital". Westword. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  8. ^ "LAFF '08 Interview: Trinidad Co-directors Jay Hodges and PJ Raval". IndieWire. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Sex Change Hospital: Episodes". WE: Women's Entertainment. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Sex Change Hospital". WE: Women's Entertainment. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Sex Change Hospital". WE: Women's Entertainment. Archived from the original on 16 October 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Girls Who Are Boys, Who Like Boys to Be Girls". The WOW Report. 13 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  13. ^ Berghaus, Robin; Waltz, Vicky (20 March 2008). "'I Like That About Me.'". BU Today. Boston University. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  14. ^ "Sex Change Hospital". Frameline. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  15. ^ Films That Sizzle: Frameline 31. Frameline. 2007. p. 54. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  16. ^ "We Wuz Framelined!". The WOW Report. 24 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  17. ^ Peterson, Price (5 August 2011). "What to Watch This Weekend: Torchwood, Michael Ian Black's Standup Special, and Breaking Bad". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Sex Change Hospital (2007)". IMDb. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  19. ^ Mullaney, Andrea (24 August 2007). "Television Review: Jazz funk, the bane of the roadie's world". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. p. 48. Retrieved 30 March 2017 – via InfoTrac Newsstand.
  20. ^ "20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards — Nominees". GLAAD. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  21. ^ "And Speaking of the GLAAD Media Awards…". The WOW Report. World of Wonder. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  22. ^ "A Jihad for Love Wins at GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]