Dr. Marci Bowers, Jazz Jennings surgeon, is featured heavily on the newest season of I Am Jazz, as the first episode is centered around Jazz’s gender reassignment operation. Bowers’ practice is the San Mateo Surgery Center in Burlingame, California.
In a previous episode of I Am Jazz, the transgender teen met with Dr. Bowers to make plans to undergo the surgery, but the medical expert gave her some bad news: “Your surgery will be very difficult in terms of what even the most experienced surgeons have encountered,” Dr. Bowers explained.
The doctor mentioned that Jazz’s weight may play a significant factor in whether or not she will be able to go through with the surgery.
“If we’re going to get a hospital to say, ‘We’re going to allow a surgery at age 17,’ you’re going to have to be at a lower BMI [body mass index]. Literally, they won’t approve it if your BMI is one dot over. When it translates to pounds, it’s about 30 pounds,” she said.
Dr. Bowers continued: “If there’s more weight, it makes the surgery longer and it makes it more difficult.”
Jazz was understandably heartbroken, but TLC’s sneak peek at the new season is looking like Jazz may get her dream surgery after all. With snippets of Jazz being wheeled into surgery and under anesthesia, and short clips of her mother’s anxiety while she is with the doctors, the newest season may finally see Jazz’s transition completed. Check out the sneak peek below:
So who is Dr. Marci Bowers, the surgeon helping Jazz’s dreams come true? According to her website, Dr. Bowers is a “pioneer in the field of genital reassignment surgery,” and has spent her life helping transgender individuals complete their transitions.
“Dr. Bowers is the first woman worldwide to hold a personal transgender history while performing transgender surgery,” her bio reads. “She is also the first US surgeon to learn the technique of functional clitoral restoration after Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).”
Dr. Bowers has 28 years’ worth of experience in her field. A graduate of University of Minnesota Medical School and former class and student body president, Dr. Bowers is an international authority on clitoral reconstruction for women who have suffered from FGM. She is one of the few surgeons who can successfully perform a functional FGM reversal and is a regional expert in aesthetic vulvar surgery, according to her bio.
Dr. Bowers’ website tagline reads “Serve Patients, Have Fun, Change the World,” and lists many of her accomplishments, including being named one of the 100 most influential LGBT people on the Guardian’s World Pride Power List. She is a highly esteemed public speaker, and travels the world to educate the public on transgender issues and reassignment surgery.
She has been featured in numerous documentaries and medical features, including the Guardian, BBC, Times of London, Esquire, and many others. Dr. Bowers is a member of WPATH, and serves on the board of directors for both GLAAD and the Transgender Law Center, according to her bio. You can read more about Dr. Bower by checking out her website here.
Tune in tonight to catch more of Dr. Bowers on Season 5 of I am Jazz. The season premieres at 10 p.m. ET/PT.