Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns loss of pioneering surgeon Dr. Stanley Biber

Date: 
January 19, 2006

This is certainly a profound change-moment in our modern transgender history, a moment separating the great struggles of the past and the possibilities of a future — a moment Dr. Biber helped make a reality. — Marsha Botzer, Task Force board co-chair

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force mourns the death of Dr. Stanley Biber, a small-town family doctor from mining and cattle country who became a pioneer in the area of sex-reassignment surgery, performing an estimated 5,000 of these life-changing operations over three decades. Dr. Biber died earlier this week at the age of 82.

Dr. Biber lived on his ranch in Trinidad, a small southern Colorado city along the Santa Fe Trail. In 1969, a female acquaintance of Dr. Biber's asked him whether he would perform her sex-reassignment surgery. It was an era when very few surgeons in North America were performing such operations. Dr. Biber agreed, marking the beginning of a legacy.

Statement by Marsha Botzer, Board Co-Chair
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The news of Dr. Biber's death is heartbreaking — I spent many months visiting and learning from Dr. Biber in the early 1980s, and have worked with and respected him ever since. He was a man who brought courage, intelligence and outstanding surgical skill together in a combination that allowed him to perform the most delicate surgery in the morning, face any and all questions in the afternoon, and smile joyfully over a convivial dinner party in the evening — a Renaissance man in the south of Colorado.

"This is certainly a profound change-moment in our modern transgender history, a moment separating the great struggles of the past and the possibilities of a future — a moment Dr. Biber helped make a reality.

"The Task Force is very proud to be part of both the powerful history and this exciting future, with our many years of support for the transgender community and our current Transgender Civil Rights Project.

"The Task Force honors Dr. Stanley H. Biber. He would certainly tell us to persevere, to mourn the dead and fight with all our strength for the living."

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.