The Recognized Leader in Gender Confirmation Surgery in Colorado

The Recognized Leader in Gender Confirmation Surgery in Colorado


June 12, 2019

Denver Health is proud to be the recognized leader in gender confirmation surgery (commonly known as gender reassignment surgery) in Colorado and the surrounding states. This year, Denver Health is doubling the number of gender confirmation surgeries to reduce wait times for patients, now offering both male-to-female and female-to-male surgeries.

See why Denver Health is leading the way in gender confirmation surgeries.

“We’ve worked hard to build a program that is competent and compassionate, and we’ll do everything we can to take good care of you and your family,” said gender confirmation surgeon and OB-GYN Jennifer Hyer, M.D.

Denver Health’s gender confirmation surgeons have trained under Dr. Marci Bowers, a world-renowned pioneer in the field of gender confirmation surgery.

“This is a huge surgery. It’s a huge surgery that changes a lot about your life, but it’s not the end all, be all to your transition,” Dr. Hyer pointed out.

The following gender confirmation surgeries and procedures are now offered at Denver Health:

• Bottom surgery including vaginoplasty, hysterectomy, orchiectomy
• Metoidioplasty (in development)
• Top surgery including breast augmentation and chest reconstruction
Facial feminization surgery or FFS
• Hormone replacement therapy or HRT
• Tracheal shave

Gender confirmation patient Camille Hansen explained her decision to come to Denver Health for the surgery: “For me, I wanted to go deeper with it, not just be a girl when I have women’s clothing on.”

When Hansen woke up from her surgery, one of the first things she said was, “I feel like I’m in the right body.”

Denver Health is the only hospital in Colorado that offers a continuum of health care before, during and after transgender surgeries. Care for the transgender community includes primary care (doctor’s visits), behavioral health (psychologists/psychiatrists) and follow-up health care plans.

“Denver Health is special for the LGBTQ community because we offer care throughout your lifetime,” Dr. Hyer said. “It’s a pretty special thing that I don’t think a lot of healthcare systems have.”

Hansen added, “I feel like I can help other girls go through this and be like, seriously, it’s amazing, it’s safe, you know, if you have an inkling that you want to do this, Denver Health is the place to do it.”

Gender confirmation patient Adr’yan Brown appreciated the special attention he received before and after his surgery. “The care team here is great,” he said.

For Dr. Hyer, it’s more than just another surgery. “This surgery is important to me because it really, truly changes people’s lives.”

Original Link accessed on 06/12/2019

Social Media Marketing for Transgender Fashion Models: Part Eight: Recommendations


        The future for Transgender models is beginning to look positive.  Within the past two years, a couple of Transgender modeling agencies are being created as a result of the lack of inclusion and the use of social media to create the demand. In a Vice article written in 2017 named “These Trans Modeling Agencies Pave the Runway for Transgender Acceptance,” founder of Apple Modeling explains her motivation for the creation of her modeling agency.  Peche Di explains, “She founded the agency when she was having difficulty finding work. For one modeling job, Di didn’t tell a client she was trans, and she was cut out of the campaign when the client found out. Di saw this kind of thing happening all the time outside of her own experience, which prompted the mission of the agency. She wanted not only to represent models for their personality and their looks but also take a stand against ongoing prejudice in the fashion industry” (Sayej 2017).  As a result, Apple Modeling Agency became a first of its kind to represent Transgender models.  Shane Henise, a Transgender model, explains “I am so happy and honored to be representing the community and bringing visibility where there hasn’t been before.” Henise told VICE Impact. “This is a significant step towards normalization and acceptance of trans people and trans love.  Henise is represented by Trans Models New York, New York City’s first transgender modeling agency. It’s part of a growing movement of trans models and modeling agencies making their mark on the fashion industry. But it seems to be more than just an agency; it’s also an advocacy group and community for trans people in fashion.  (Sayej 2017).

        The opening of the world’s first Transgender modeling agency inspired similar agencies to follow.  In the article written by Nadja Sayej, she cites, “Another trans modeling agency on the rise is Slay Models, which is run by Cecilio Asuncion, a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker who directed a documentary on trans women in 2012 called What’s the T” (Sayej 2017).  Slay Model Management is a California based modeling agency representing transgender fashion talent. In their mission statement Slay Modeling states, “We see trans individuals as beautiful. Our strong commitment to developing them as successful models is not about quantifying the model’s gender; it is about their passion and commitment to be the best possible models they can be. We’re here to Slay, and we’re here to stay” ( 2018).   Even with these success stories, Slay Modeling recognizes the discrimination still present in the fashion industry, especially for trans models,  “Trans models can and will fight discrimination in the industry by simply existing, no longer hiding their true selves,” said Asuncion. “From the get-go, it was never about selling a ‘trans thing.’ It’s about having an agency that has strong, employable models” (Sayej 2017). 

        Both Slay Modeling, and New York Transgender modeling agencies are using this as a platform to bring Transgender awareness and strive for equality in the fashion industry.  Kami Sid, who is an international Transgender model still struggles to find representation in her home country of Pakistan.  Kami Sid states, “Modeling is a duty and responsibility. It’s essential to raise awareness about the transgender community. But it remains a struggle. Currently, we are fighting for our equal rights opportunities” (Sayej 2017). With the rise of Transgender modeling agencies and the messages created by the Transgender community for their fight for equal rights, we may see a union between the Instagram modeling realm and the opportunity to sign with a Transgender modeling agency for future Transgender fashion models. Many of these models who have joined these Transgender modeling agencies have used Instagram and the hashtag #transgendermodel to direct potential clients and agents to their Instagram profile.



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Campos, Maria Consuelo Cunha. 1999. “Roberta Close and M. Butterfly: Transgender, Testimony and Fiction. Estudos Feministas 7: 37-52, Accsessed April 21,2018,

Carroll, Henry. 2017. “Read This If You Want to Be Instagram Famous.” Read This. London: Laurence King Publishing, Ltd.

Carlsbad. 2018. “Fashion Industry Still Lacks Inclusivity, Transgender Model Says”. (2018, Mar 13). University Wire Accessed April 20, 2018,

Charlesworth, Alan. 2014. “Digital Marketing: a Practical Approach.” second ed. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Cope, Jon, and Dennis Maloney. 2016. “Fashion Promotion in Practice.” Required Reading Range. London: Fairchild Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, PLC.

Council of Fashion Designers of America. 2015. “Designers on Instagram: #fashion.” New York: Abrams.

Entwistle, Joanne, and Ashley Mears. 2012. “Gender on Display: Performativity in Fashion Modelling.” Sage Journal (accessed May 4, 2018).

Harris, Clare. 2017. “The Fundamentals of Digital Fashion Marketing.” Fundamentals. London: Bloomsbury.

Holland, Gwyneth, and Rae Jones. 2017. “Fashion Trend Forecasting.” London: Laurence King Publishing.

Keegan, Cael M. 2016. “Revisitation: a Trans Phenomenology of the Media Image.”MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research 32, no. 61.

Krueger, Alyson. 2017. Transgender Models Find A Home. New York Times, March 3.

MacPherson, Marko, Shawn Dahl, and Nicole Phelps. 2017. Digit@l Girls: Fashion’s New Tribe : Risk Takers, Rule Breakers, and Disrupters.” New York: Rizzoli.

Peoples, Landon. 2018. For The Modeling Industry, The Future Is Transgender. Refinery 29, February 7.

PR Newswire. 2013. “Suddenly fem(TM) features new local rising M2F transgender model, mercedes demarko, in 2013 spring fashion launch catalog.” PR Newswire Accessed April 20, 2018,

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Sayej, Nadja. 2017. These Trans Modeling Agencies Pave the Runway for Transgender Acceptance They’re creating a more inclusive fashion industry. Vice Impact, July 18.

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Denver Health brings gender surgery back to Colorado

Interview with Denvers 9 New: Next With Kyle Clark 02/22/2019
Dr. Jennifer Hyer at Denver Health is one of the few physicians in the U.S. who performs vaginoplasty. “We’ve really underestimated what this surgery does for people,” she said.

DENVER — Denver Health has become a pioneering hospital in gender confirmation surgery.

Only an estimated 10 to 20 physicians in the United States perform vaginoplasty, or male to female reassignment surgery. Denver Health Medical Center now has three of those doctors.

One of their first vaginoplasty patients is a Denver native who says she felt out of place in her own body since childhood.

“I kinda forced my masculinity, and it ended up just being awkward,” Camille Hansen said. “Girls would be like, ‘What are you doing?’ And guys would be like, ‘What are you doing?’ Because I was terrible at it.”

Hansen had been on a five-year wait list for vaginoplasty at a medical facility in California. On the Denver Health wait list, she was number two.

“Everyone’s looked in the mirror and seen a reflection they don’t agree with at some time in their life,” Hansen said. “But, they’re able to correct it with like a haircut or exercise or something.  But, when you’re in the wrong body it just, it builds and it builds and it builds – and it never goes away.”

Since last year, San Francisco’s Dr. Marci Bowers has been traveling to Denver to train physicians to perform gender surgeries after her earlier work in Trinidad, where she learned from Dr. Stanley Biber, a pioneer in sex reassignment surgery.  Dr. Bowers is widely recognized for developing new techniques that have significantly improved outcomes for transgender patients.

“Gender identity is being more studied nowadays – more accepted as a medical condition,” Denver Health gender surgeon Dr. Rodrigo Da Silva said. “It’s pretty much giving them the identity that they always had, but it was hidden in a body that they didn’t belong to.”

Hansen’s vaginoplasty was performed last July.

“These patients are the happiest patients in the hospital,” Denver Health gender surgeon Dr. Jennifer Hyer said.  “After having this huge surgery they have these halos of happiness around them – almost like they’re glowing.”

Dr. Hyer says for some transgender people, the genitalia they’re born with causes extreme discomfort, and this surgery is life-changing.

“It means everything,” Dr. Hyer said.  “It’s huge, and I think we’ve really underestimated what this surgery does for people.”

Six months after her surgery, Hansen says everything is better – from work to relationships to just being with herself.

“Every morning, it’s like a brand new lease on life,” she said. “It makes you want to come out of your cocoon and engage in life.”

Denver Health is currently the only hospital in Colorado that offers this surgery.

The hospital’s gender surgery team started their work last May and performed 30 vaginoplasty surgeries in 2018.  With a long and growing wait list, they expect to do more than 80 this year.

*Copied from the original article:

“I am in the Right Body”: Gender Confirmation Surgery at Denver Health

Camille Hansen was one of the first patients to go through mtf gender confirmation surgery at Denver Health in 2018. In this video, she talks about her long journey and why Denver Health’s LGBT Center of Excellence is the place to go for her care.

Find out more about Hansen’s story and Denver Health’s LGBT services:

Original Article Link:
Camille Hansen grew up as Marc Hansen

Camille Hansen grew up as Marc Hansen before having her gender confirmation surgery at Denver Health.

What Is Transgender? Part 1: Gender Dysphoria: My Journey

What Is Gender Dysphoria: My Journey

As I begun my journey, I wanted to help fill the void on what exactly is Transgender.  This subject could be an entire lifetime study, and I have a ton to learn.

I wanted to start with my first struggle, Gender Dysphoria. Although, Gender Dysphoria isn’t a struggle for all Transgender women, it was very present in my life and can be a shared experience amongst other Transgender women.  

gen·der dys·pho·ri·a

noun: gender dysphoria

    The condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.

Gender Dysphoria is not very common so information on this subject was hard to find.

In fact, most people have never even heard of it.  Individuals with this condition identify or framed their gender identity with those of the opposite sex. For me, I never knew the term existed until my adult years.  When looking back on my teenage years, I would try anything and everything to help relieve the feelings of gender dysphoria.  This feminization included nail polish, make-up, cross-dressing, and grooming.  I carried these habits into my adult years until the anxiety of the dysphoria just got too difficult for me to handle.  These shortcuts only made my desire greater to transition.  At the time, I just chalked it under a generalized anxiety disorder, not knowing that gender dysphoria was a diagnosis of its own.  The disconnect between my gender identity and gender presentation continued until I raised the white flag and called it was: Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria.

By understanding the depths of this disorder and knowing that feminization wasn’t enough, I began to research Transgender and Transsexual to help bring language to what I was experiencing.  Starting with the idea of gender dysphoria helped me get proper perspective the on the subject and direct me to the help I needed to transition.  

I struggled with feelings of:

Consistent feeling of being in the wrong body

Wanting to dress and act like those of the opposite sex

A sense of anxiety with your body not feeling or looking right

A preoccupation of wanting to get rid of primary and secondary sex characteristics. 

Since my dysphoria remained untreated for so long, secondary issues were rising, such as:

Severe Anxiety

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide Attempts


Substance Abuse

Eating Disorders

Low Self Esteem

Poor body Image.

I felt it was a crucial step to understand the first step of my transgender journey was to be professionally diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and begin Counseling with a gender therapist.  Reaching out to trained counselors was a must for me. My counselor saved my life by saying that I wasn’t alone, and there was a cause for my anxiety. Getting language and a diagnosis was my first step of a very long and beautiful journey.  I believe that having language for what you’re going through helps you understand it better and able to communicate the help you need.

Stay Beautiful




Here is a great resource if you want to learn more:
Gender Dysphoria: Understanding the Symptoms and Treating Gender Dysphoria Kindle Edition
by Michelle Serena (Author)

Gender Dysphoria Understanding Symptoms

Mini Photoshoot at Sanja Hodzic Hair Services August 26th 2016

A mini photoshoot by my amazing hair stylist Sanja Hodzic from , Denver Colorado



Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 7.31.47 PM.png

Hair And Make-Up: Sanja Hodzic

Recommended Reading: Transgender: The Transgender Mirror Effect by: Jessica Hamilton


Every now and then I like to recommend books and audio books I found helpful in my transition.  I recently listened to Transgender: The Transgender Mirror Effect by Jessica Hamilton (on Audible) and loved it.  It’s a great overview of being transgender and gives valuable insight for those who need an introduction to this world.  If your transgender, you know how many times you need to educate and inform people of this entire lifestyle and choice.  This is a great resource to have ready for those “interview” questions from friends, family and co-workers. I also loved the theory of the Mirroring Effect, I know in my 20’s I tried my best to mirror masculine behavior, but fell short due to my unconscious feminine identity.  Looking into the psychological, social, and biological to create a theory based on the all of their influences helps pull together all aspects and attributes of transgender and transgender development.  The Mirror Effect is a new theory and some people in our community will find it controversal and stiffling.  All in all this is still defiantly a theory worth looking into.

Here is a link to her book and audio book on Amazon

Transgender: The Transgender Mirror Effect by: Jessica Hamilton


Happy Reading Darlings

💋 Camille

1:1 with Camille: Real Talk about being Transgender. By Robin Wallace



Camille, formerly Marc, was born with male reproductive organs.  However, she had a sense as early as age four that her body did not match her gender identity.  Throughout life, she has struggled to define her desire to be female.  In Camille’s mind, the term “transgender” always represented flamboyant drag queens.  She didn’t understand the full spectrum of the transgender community, and quickly dismissed any notion that she might belong.  However, quite recently, she became aware that there were other individuals, apparently much more modest, who also suffered from a conflict between sex and gender identity.  I Am Jazz, a television show about a transgender teenage girl, hit the air, and Camille discovered a whole new definition of the word.  She gained inspiration and courage from those who went before, and decided to undergo a transition of her own.

A year ago this August, Camille began taking testosterone blockers as well as feminizing hormones.  She is in her 40s.  At first, Camille was concerned that, having already gone through puberty, her masculine physical features would be too far solidified, and that the process of transitioning to a more feminine appearance would be too much of an undertaking.  However, she accepted the challenge.  She consulted with a doctor who now
her transition process, and educated herself on changes she could expect to experience.  The chart below outlines some of these changes.


Thus far, Camille has experienced increased breast growth to a full A cup, and expects to eventually reach a B cup with ongoing hormone treatment.  Some individuals desire more growth and therefore elect to have breast augmentation.  She will likely undergo this surgery.  She has also experienced softening of the skin, some body fat redistribution (to chest and hips), thinning of body hair, and some decrease in male sexual function.  Perhaps surprisingly, testosterone blockers will not reduce facial hair, so she has begun laser hair removal as part of her feminization process.  The blockers and feminizing hormones also do not change the voice quality (unlike testosterone which lowers the voice of those hoping to masculinize).  There are, however, exercises one can do to strengthen the upper range for a more feminine quality to the voice.  The following website is useful and provides a link to an app offering additional information:

EVA: MtF Voice Training App.

While Camille is excited to see changes (albeit slowly), there are substantial risks to taking hormones.  She is at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and has personally experienced an increase in migraines.  Camille has also encountered difficulties interpersonally.  She was married to a heterosexual woman before coming out as transgender, and although her wife was aware of her desire to experience womanhood, the decision to undergo a transition brought up many fears and questions.  The biggest question for her wife…could she be attracted to a female?  Camille’s wife admittedly went through a grieving process, and refers to that time as the most difficult part of their marriage.  They even separated for a time.  She ultimately realized, however, that (in her words) “It was the person I married, not the body.”  Camille’s wife underwent a shift of her own, from identifying as heterosexual to pansexual, a term used by individuals for whom sex and gender are insignificant or irrelevant in determining sexual attraction.

Camille realizes there is still some distance to go, but she is encouraged by the overwhelming support she has received from friends, family, colleagues, her employer, and even strangers she encounters on the street.  Even with the purchase of her first skirt, she began to hold her head higher and greet strangers with a smile – a stark difference from the closed off and often angry version of herself she’d known for so long.  Her operations and procedures are largely covered by insurance, as they are now defined as “correctional” rather than “cosmetic,” further reaffirming her decision.

While there has been an increase in awareness and support for individuals undergoing changes in gender identification and sexual reassignment, there are still several kinks in the healthcare system that need to be addressed.  Intake forms are often binary, only offering options to select “male” or “female,” not accounting for individuals who find themselves somewhere in-between.  For this dilemma, Camille suggests healthcare providers offer a third option for “other.”  However, perhaps more concerning than binary medical forms is the availability of medical records which are often lost once a person changes gender, sex, or officially changes his/her name.  No longer does the personal information on previous records match the current ones, and matching social security numbers only send off a red flag for identity theft.

Hopefully, with further education for healthcare providers and openness from transgender individuals like Camille, we can find more ways to provide an emotionally and physically safe environment for these important members of our community.  With knowledge comes understanding, and with understanding comes unity.


Written By: Robin Wallace