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The Tijuana Experience (1992)

The Tijuana Experience (1992)

©1992, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (1992). The Tijuana experience. Alicia’s TV Girl Talk, 4(9), 18. 






John Ronald Brown was one of America’s worst plastic surgeons—so said Viva Magazine back in 1977. Brown operated—badly—on thousands of male-to-female transsexuals, and as the 1990s dawned he was still at it. For years I issued advisories about him, and for years he botched operations, putting his clients—I hesitate to call them patients, since by then he had lost his medical license at risk of their lives through infection. His results were horrible. This is one of my attempts to warn others about him. When I wrote it he was opearing out of Tijuana, using an alias.


Alicia’s TV Girl Talk Pages (PDF)

The Tijuana Experience

By Dallas Denny


 “Somebody, please. Please, come here.” I cried and reached for the button, keeping it in my hand. A peculiar wet feeling was gathering around my legs. At first I was too frightened to peer under the sheets, but as the chill increased, I reached for the chain over my head. With the light on, I lifted the sheets. Then I panicked. The sheet under me was a pool of blood, and more was flowing from between my legs. I pressed the button again and again and began to scream for help. Thinking about detaching myself from the bed, I propped myself on one arm, but then fainted and fell back. When I woke up, some ten or fifteen minutes later, the blood had made its way down one side of the bed to the floor. I was weaker, now, and the pain didn’t matter. I was bleeding to death… Sobbing, I began to pray aloud, then I screamed again and again until my voice faded into hoarseness. Grabbing a book from the table, I tried to throw it through the window, but it fell from my fingers into the pool of blood. The chills had changed to small convulsions as I tried to calm myself… Bending my head, I looked once more at the side of the bed, half-covered with my life’s liquid. It looked pretty somehow, red on white. I couldn’t help thinking how ironic it was that I had worked and saved all this time to pay for my own death. I would be my own executioner.

The above paragraphs are from pp. 274-275 of Canary, the autobiography of Canary Conn, describing part of her ordeal after gender-reassignment surgery in Tijuana, Mexico, some time in the early seventies. Her experience reinforces the idea that while TJ may be an OK town to take your car for new seat covers, it’s not the sort of place where you would want to gamble with your life and genitalia.

TJ is famous for the girl and the donkey—not for quality medical care. Many of the transsexual people who went to Mexico for gender reassignment surgery in the seventies and eighties wound up mutilated, with genitalia looking like they belonged to one of the creatures in the bar scene in Star Wars, and not like something likely to be found on a human being of either gender. Some of these people, expecting vaginoplasties, received simple penectomies, leaving them looking somewhat like a Barbie doll. Others ended up with something which looked like a penis which had been split and sewn to their groin—which is essentially what had been done. Some ended up with vaginas which were lined with hair-bearing scrotal skin; these vaginas quickly filled up with pubic hair, becoming inflamed and infected. Some ended up with peritonitis, some with permanent colostomies. Some ran out of money and were dumped in back alleys and parking lots to live or die. Some died in those parking lots or back in the States, of complications from the surgery.

The man responsible for all of this misery was one John Ronald Brown, a physician who lost his license to practice medicine in California and retreated to Mexico. His “practice” was interrupted by a visit to the crossbar hotel (he was put in prison for his illicit medical activities), but word is out that he is out and back in Tijuana and once more wielding his rusty scalpel.

At the time of the previous Tijuana debacle, quality surgery was available in the U.S. and Europe, and many transsexual people availed themselves of it with generally good, or at least adequate results. They were exhilarated, having found congruity at last. The ones who went to Tijuana got cheated. The ones who will go there this year and next, and every year until “Dr.” Brown is permanently put out of business will also get cheated, for it is possible to get much better surgery at a cheaper price than Brown could possibly deliver. TJ is one of the least likely places on earth to find quality reassignment surgery, but it’s one of the easiest places to find someone who will do something to you down there, for money talks; anyone with the green can get it cut off, no matter how much like a man they may look and act. “I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK, I got a v-a-g-i-n-a, Got it down in Old TJ, Who needs HBIGDA?”

If you’re considering gender reassignment surgery, be smart. Avoid Mexico.


Read My 1999 Article, Tabletop John Brown Gets His