Dr. Bowers knows firsthand what it's like to transition. Just 10 years ago, she was Dr. Mark Bowers, a successful doctor, husband and father of three. "From my own personal experience, the transition from male to female is difficult enough," Dr. Bowers says. "It's not easy to keep your family together and happy and adjusted."
Dr. Bowers says she questioned her gender at a young age. "I've had my first question or feelings at 4 or 5, but felt very ashamed of that and did my best throughout life to hide that inside." At age 19, Dr. Bowers says she ran away from college and tried to transition. "In 1978, there was no Internet. There were barely any newspaper articles," she says. "[There were] very few resources, clinics, doctors that knew about this kind of thing, and so I just tried to put it aside."
In medical school, Dr. Bowers says she decided to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology so that she could be a part of women's lives. "I thought that, that would satisfy the feelings that I had."
As years passed, the feelings only grew stronger. Dr. Bowers says she lived in denial for 40 years until she could no longer look in the mirror. Eleven years into his marriage, Dr. Mark Bowers told his wife he wanted to begin living as a woman. So why did Dr. Bowers get married in the first place? "You play the cards you're dealt," she says. "I thought that I could put it off and do other things, raise a family, get married, and that would be enough for me."
Eleven years after her admission, Dr. Bowers and her wife are still married.