A Change Of gender And Beyond
Chapter 11
by F.W. Hinton
          When Shaun awoke  after  the  operation  she  was so heavily
          bandaged she was  certain something awful must have happened
          in the theatre.  She  had read about women who had had their
          breasts removed because  of  cancer.  The hideous scars that
          went from their armpits right across their chests.

          " Please God don't let it happen to me," she whispered.

          She remembered someone  telling  her that breast cancer only
          affected women over  forty  five,  and  she was nowhere near
          that age. Laura she knew, would have nothing to do with her.
          The best she  could hope for was that she might treat her as
          a sister.

          She touched the  bandage  around  her  chest,  felt a sudden
          stinging pain, and knew the scars must be horrific.

          " Oh God  I  wish  I  hadn't  had  this operation." she said
          aloud, " everything  was  all  right before." Even as a man,
          she thought, who  would want to look at someone's bare chest
          covered in scars.  How could she go around bare to the waist
          like other men.   If  there  are  no complications, why am I
          bandaged  like this?"  she  asked  the  nurse  who  suddenly
          appeared and had come to tuck the covers around her.

          " Don't worry  dear,"  the  nurse  said  with a smile, " the
          surgeon will be  along  in  a moment.  Just about through Dr
          Cade?" the nurse  said  as  the  surgeon walked in, " I have
          someone in the  other ward that needs watching. All right if
          I look in  from time to time? Unless you think there is some
          respiratory risk."

          He shook his  head. " No risk, thank you nurse. I'm going to
          stay for a  few minutes. Just to make sure she doesn't start
          trying to move the dressing."

          The Surgeon felt  Shaun  needed reassuring, some one to calm
          her, settle her  down. When the nurse closed the door he sat
          by her bed.  He  thought  Shaun  looked more like a child in
          sleep than a  grown  woman. As a plastic surgeon he wondered
          why someone who  looked  so warm, kind and gentle would want
          to change their gender.

          The mastectomy was only the beginning.  Perhaps, he thought,
          even hoped that  someone,  or  some  thing  would eventually
          change her mind.

          It was Shaun's  first  day  out of bed. She had a feeling of
          well-being, happy with her progress and smiled as Laura came
          in to see her.

          " You're sitting  up,"  Laura  observed  taking  hold of her
          hands, " is  it  all  right?  Did  the  doctor  say  you are

          " For meals-and  a  little  while  after.  He told me not to
          touch the dressing. Wish I could they itch like crazy."

          " When does the dressing come off?"

          " In a  day  or  two.  I  think  I must be badly scarred. Oh
          Laura, I'm so  scared.  I don't want to see my chest. I know
          you won't want me near you. If only I had listened to you. I
          hate being bound up like this."

          Shaun started to  cry.  When  she laid down, Laura comforted

          " I'm so  sorry,"  Shaun  sobbed,  " I feel so mean. If only
          things were like they used to be. We were both happy then. I
          know we were."

          Dr Cade came into Shaun's room a few days later with a nurse
          wheeling a trolley.

          " This is the morning," he said with a grin.

          Shaun's eyes were  dark  and  wide.   " It - must it be now?

          " Don't tell  me you want to stay in this place? Your friend
          Laura is waiting  for  you.   Now  shall we see what's under
          this dressing? Scissors, .."

          " No! please.  I  know  what's  under  there I can't bear to

          " Be still  Shaun,"  the  nurse said sternly, " the scissors
          are very sharp, and you're being a silly girl."

          The adhesive tape  parted.  Dr Cade changed the scissors for
          forceps to remove  the containing crepe and stained wool. He
          began to tease  away  the  impregnated  gauze. Splits in the
          skin he knew were unpredictable. He worried about the one on
          the left, even though it had been lifted accurately with his
          diathermy knife. The  axilla had been drained, but he wished
          the  arm  had  been  kept  raised  longer.   He  lifted  the
          remainder of the gauze away, dropping it into the receptacle
          the nurse held  ready. He studied the area he had left bare,
          allowed his breath  to  sigh out in relief as he saw the new

          Shaun opened her  eyes,  their  troubled  glance questioning

          " Just fine  so  far,  looks like a cover," he smiled, " the
          scars are soft  and  pale-there is just one place, not quite
          clear," he frowned, " looks loose. Forceps please nurse."

          Shaun closed her  eyes.  She  felt  the cold steel touch the
          place where her  left  breast  used to be, the hesitation of
          the loosened, still clinging residue. Then it was gone.

          " Swab."

          The dampened swab  touched  her  chest,  cleansing  it  with
          gentle movements. It  stung,  felt cold. Instruments rattled
          as the doctor discarded them.

          " Now would be a good time to pray," she said to herself.

          " You can open your eyes now Shaun," the nurse told her.

          She found reassurance  in  the  calmness  of  her voice. She
          looked down at  her  chest  as Dr Cade stood back. The nurse
          held a mirror for her.

          " Thank God," Shaun whispered.  The skin on each side of her
          chest showed a fresh pink colouring. She knew that the scars
          were so thin  that  when  the  colour  evened out they would
          almost disappear.  She looked past the mirror at Dr Cade who
          was studying the skin texture through narrowed eyes.

          " Does it please you Shaun Maclaren?"

          Gingerly she touched her chest.

          " Very much. It makes me feel so much better."

          " You can  go  home in a day or two," he told her as he left
          the room.

          " Home," she  said  softly, " I thought today.  Someone said
          Laura was waiting."

          " Doctor wants  you  to  stay here for at least another day.
          You must lie  down now and rest," the nurse added giving her
          an injection.

          Laura will never  love me again," she said as she closed her

          This was the  first  time  Laura had lived without Shaun for
          three years. She threw herself into her work, and though her
          period of chronic  alcoholism  now seemed like an incredible
          nightmare she continued  to  attend  the monthly meetings of
          the A. A.  She  realized that if she wanted to avoid another
          mistake, they were going to be a part of her life forever.

          Shaun came home  from  the hospital spent the first few days
          crying, and the  nights  sobbing in her sleep.  Dr Cade told
          Laura it could  happen and referred to it as 'Post-operative
          Blues'. Laura moved  Shaun's  things  back  into  the  empty
          quarters and treated her like a troublesome sister. Not once
          inquiring as to how she was feeling or managing.

          Shaun dismissed her  disappointment at first, but slowly she
          became conscious of  Laura's  tight-lipped  indignation. She
          knew she must leave the apartment.

          The months she  had  spent at the University made Shaun feel
          she was capable  of  doing something more with her life than
          chauffeuring people around.  She  bought  a  flat  down  the
          coast, decided on the tourist industry and took an intensive
          six months course learning the language of the Japanese.

          In  the beginning  it  appeared  an  impossible  subject  to
          master.  But determined  to succeed she studied every night,
          until the small  hours.  Received professional tuition every
          day becoming, fluent,  quick  and accurate.  She accepted as
          many translation contracts  from tourist Agents as she could
          handle and tried to blot Laura out of her mind.

          Shaun quickly made  new  male friends within the industry, A
          world wide agency  asked  her  to  act  as a guide for their
          Japanese clients which  gave  her a continuity of work.  The
          first weeks of  tourist  guiding  was  a  delight  to  Shaun
          Maclaren. She relished the power the position gave her.  She
          was accepted as a man by everyone.  She liked the excitement
          of drawing the  coachload of tourists into an entity through
          the force of her own personality and enthusiasm.

          She was flattered  by their attention when she described the
          passing sights, and revelled in their laughter at her jokes.
          She felt all  important when she stepped down from the coach
          with all their  passports  in  her hand ready to give to the
          Hotel receptionist.

          A month after guiding by day and translating in the evenings
          she found herself  in  need  of some form of relaxation. She
          had become friendly with one of the male tour guides who was
          studying for his  degree.  He  was  reserved, tall, slim and
          considered by many  of  the  female  agency  staff as a real
          dish. Occasionally they  went  to  a hotel for a drink and a
          laugh, but he  had been given an address and did not want to
          go there alone.

          " It's quite safe," he told Shaun in confidence, " medically
          inspected, reasonable prices.  We could have the time of our

          Shaun made all  sorts  of  excuses, finding it impossible to
          refuse. She couldn't  tell him she was really a female who'd
          had a mastectomy to make her look like a man.

          Later that week,  when her charges had been settled in their
          hotel, her friend  knocked on her door demanding she go with
          him. They went  to  a  cafe  that  somehow suggested a cross
          between a shop  and  a  private residence. Her mind raced as
          the Madame showed them to a table and gave them a drink.

          Minutes later they  were shown into a windowless room on the
          left of the  hallway.   In  a  corner, at the far end of the
          room was a  stage.  Madame  clapped her hands. A door opened
          and onto the  stage trooped four women. All dressed alike in
          clinging blue gowns  that were split on one side up to their
          thighs.  They  smiled   and   arranged   themselves   in   a
          semi-circle.  Shaun's friend  found  it  difficult to chose.
          Eventually he picked  a  girl  with  long black hair, a lean
          nondescript  woman  whose   friendly  smile  was  marred  by
          irregular teeth. As they left the room Shaun breathed a sigh
          of relief.

          " Well! Which one?" Madame asked turning to Shaun.

          Shaun gasped in amazement.

          " Well!" Madame asked again, minutes later.

          " Eh-the- -the blonde," she spluttered at last.

          She followed the  girl into a deep-piled carpeted room. with
          mythological obscenities painted on a dark wallpaper.  There
          was a wash-basin,  a  divan with a mauve cover and tasselled

          As soon as  the  door  was closed the girl took off the gown
          which was her  sole garment. For a brief moment Shaun's mind
          faltered, she thought  she  was looking at a little girl who
          had opened her dressing gown.

          " Look," Shaun  said,  " I have a problem. Here's fifty, for
          your time."

          " Wait Mr,"  the girl said, " use the fire escape, go out of
          the window."

          Shaun felt that  part  of her had been cut off since leaving
          Laura and the  city,  and  longed  to tell someone about her
          guiding experiences. She had made a few friends, all of them
          male. When, under  protest  they  persuaded her to visit the
          local hotel as one of the boys, she became concerned in case
          she drunk too much and revealed her true identity.

          Laura, feeling lonely,  needing love and a friend to confide
          in,  invited  Shaun  to  dinner.   Delighted  she  accepted,
          ignoring the premonition  that  this  was  probably the last
          time she would ever see Laura Finch.

          It was obvious that very little cooking had been done in the
          apartment,  and  Shaun  suggested  that  it  might  be  more
          convenient if they  dined  at  their  favourite  restaurant.
          Laura became incensed,  demanding  they  eat  in  her  home,
          having bought veal  chops,  salad  and fresh cheddar cheese.
          From the cupboard  she  brought  two  bottles  of  red wine,
          neglecting to tell  Shaun that she had bought a large bottle
          of gin.

          Careful not to  drink  too  much by filling her glass only a
          quarter  full  then  waiting  for  Shaun  to  finish  before
          refilling her own.  Laura  thought  she could prove to Shaun
          she could now handle her drinking and was in full control.

          Shaun spoke about Uncle John, who she thought had now become
          Aunt Nicole, asked  Laura  what  she looked like and whether
          she still attended the Community Church Fellowship.

          Indignant, Laura got  up  from  the  table.   "  All  you're
          interested in Shaun  Maclaren is Aunt Nicole. You don't want
          to listen to  any  of  my problems," she told her angrily, "
          you are becoming  a typical male.  I hate men. Those who try
          to be like them are obviously no different."

          Shaun, not wanting  to  argue  with Laura left the apartment

          Left on her own Laura burst into tears, vowed never to touch
          another drop of  gin and smashed the bottle in the sink. She
          sat in the chair and drank the second bottle of wine. In the
          morning she suffered not only a headache but self-accusation
          and swore she  would  never  have  anything to do with Shaun
          Maclaren again.

          Worried  about  Laura,  Shaun  telephoned  Dr  Mitchell  the
          following day asking for an appointment.

          " Come round this evening for a chat," the doctor suggested,
          " we can talk about Laura, Nicole and your problems."

          Shaun accepted the  invitation,  and eager for company Kerry
          Michell made her welcome.  Over coffee, Shaun told her about
          Laura and asked  about  Aunt  Nicole.  The doctor burst into
          peels of laughter  when  Shaun told her about her experience
          at the brothel.

          Eventually the conversation came around to Shaun's problems.

          " I really  think  I need a tonic," Shaun told her, " I feel
          so tired. It's  causing my work to suffer. My periods are my
          main problem."

          " Is the flow extensive?" Kerry Mitchell asked.

          " Yes!" Shaun admitted, " I don't like talking about it, but
          it is making life difficult."

          " Are you constipated?"

          "  Most of  the  time.   I've  been  having  some  real  bad
          migraine. Sometimes it affects my sight."

          Dr Mitchell thought  for  a  moment.  " You know Shaun, it's
          probably  the  testosterone   therapy  fighting  the  bodies
          natural hormones. I  think  it's  time  for  the  next  step
          towards your sex-reassignment."

          " What would that be?"

          " A hysterectomy.  I'll  have  a chat to Dr O'Donnell. If he
          can get his team to agree I'll get things moving."

          Delighted with her  suggestion, Shaun thanked her and got up
          to leave.

          " It's a  long drive to the coast," Kerry Mitchell observed,
          " perhaps you should stay the night."

          Listening to the  rain,  thinking  about  the wet roads, her
          flat, where she  knew  she  would  worry  about Laura Finch,
          Shaun accepted.

          " Nightie-or pyjamas?"  Kerry asked as she took Shaun by the
          hand and led  her  upstairs,  "  and  when you're ready I'll
          check that mastectomy-make  sure there's no problem with the

          During the past  months  Shaun  had  managed  to control the
          inner feelings that  the  testosterone therapy was creating.
          Now laying on  the bed and being examined by Kerry Mitchell,
          who wore only  a  short  dressing gown they began to surface
          more strongly than ever before.

          Encouraged by Kerry  Mitchell,  she  gave  full  vent to her
          feelings as they  made love, a new kind of love. A love that
          was different, lasting  longer,  more  fulfilling than Shaun
          had ever experienced  before.   During the night Shaun awoke
          with bad cramping  pains. She rolled from side to side.  Her
          knees drawn up  and down in spasm. She clutched Kerry's hand
          as the spiral  of  pain  increased. The pain, trapped inside
          her, struggling to  escape,  swelling  and  tearing it's way
          across her body.   Shaun  felt  as if she were going to die.
          Kerry gave her  a  pain-killing injection and drew a blanket
          close around Shaun's shivering body.

          " Has this  happened before?" Kerry Mitchell asked after she
          had phoned for  an ambulance.  " Only when I get my periods.
          Usually I get  lucky  and  pass out. When I wake up the pain
          has gone."

          Shaun woke up  in St James's Central Hospital. For hours she
          lay weak and  speechless, aware only of the drip in her arm.
          A nurse came in, smiled straightened the bed.

          " Doctor will  be  along in a moment," she told Shaun as she
          left the ward.

          Dr Mitchell sat  by her bed, comforted her, spoke soft words
          and stroked her forehead. She felt her examine her legs. The
          left one was painful, and heavy.

          When she awoke  again someone was telling her to draw up her
          knees. To Shaun  Maclaren  it  all seemed to be some sort of
          terrible dream. Then  she  heard Kerry, telling her that the
          hysterectomy had been successful.

          A week later  she  obtained  her  discharge  from St James's
          Hospital on the  condition that she remain in the care of Dr
          Mitchell.  Shaun felt  exhausted,  unutterably  sad and at a
          loss to understand  her  reactions, when she knew she should
          be happy taking the next step towards her gender change.

          She  stayed  with   Kerry  Mitchell  for  a  few  days,  but
          desperately wanted to  be  on  her  own  in  her flat at the
          coast. Eventually Dr  Mitchell  agreed  telling her she must
          write, and telephone her at least once a week.

          On her own  Shaun  stayed  in  bed,  unwilling to answer the
          telephone or open  the door, and when anyone knocked or rang
          she burst into a fit of crying. After a few days she decided
          to go to the shops. Unable to be amongst people she returned
          to the flat  as  quickly  as she could.  Shaun Maclaren knew
          perfectly well that  she  was very lucky, with absolutely no
          reason to feel sorry for herself. She felt anxious about the
          melancholia that was  overtaking her, locked her self in the
          flat, hoping that with large doses of pain-killers and sleep
          the mood would pass.

          Dr Michell unable  to  contact  her  by  phone or letter was
          worried. at a  Community  Church  Fellowship meeting she saw
          Nicole.  Her gender  change had been an outstanding success.
          Kerry Mitchell spoke  to  her  about  Shaun and asked her to

          With a friend  from  the  church,  Nicole arrived at Shaun's
          flat the next day. They rang the bell and banged on the door
          without result. Nicole thought she heard a moaning sound and
          forced open the door.

          The flat smelt  of  stale  air.  The sink in the kitchen was
          full of dirty  crockery,  including pots and pans. There was
          litter and newspapers  everywhere,  and in one corner of the
          lounge room a pile of unwashed clothing.

          A moaning sound  came  from the bedroom and they found Shaun
          laying naked on  her bed as if in some sort of coma.  Nicole
          was amazed to  see how strangely Shaun Maclaren had changed,
          and stood staring  at her, remembering how she had looked at
          the Holy Union.  Gone was her hard pronounced shapliness. In
          place of the firm arrogant breasts were two very small, very
          flat nipples with  a  thin,  almost  invisible scar close to
          them.  Instead  of   her   curved  well-fed  belly,  a  flat
          depression stretched down  between  the two protruding bones
          of her pelvis. Two ungainly looking sticks replaced her once
          fine muscular legs.

          The biggest change,  Nicole  thought was in her face. It was
          white, emaciated, dominated  by  eyes that her thinness made
          enormous.  Beneath them  etched  furrows  of  fatigue.   Her
          mouth, as Nicole  remembered, once a natural, never needing,
          make-up pink was  now  an enlarged dark mass with fine hairs
          on her top lip. Her whole body gave off a strange impression
          of liquefaction, like  a  candle consumed by it's own flame.
          Nicole remarked to her friend that Shaun Maclaren, hadn't so
          much slimmed as  melted.  They  stayed the night. Cleaned up
          the flat. Bathed Shaun, and forced her to eat some cereals.

          The following morning  they  fed  Shaun  again while she sat
          limply in a  chair.  Forced  her to drink black coffee, then
          dressed her in slacks and the only clean shirt that could be
          found.  They took  her  to Dr Mitchell, who, after examining
          her, made arrangements  for  her  to  go  into the Community
          Church Nursing Home.

          Olive Cotton was  a  dark,  plump widow with the shadow of a
          moustache and trotting  feet in small shoes.  She was Matron
          of the nursing  home  with  a  special  interest in diet and

          From the start  Matron  Cotton  was  the one who focused for
          Shaun Maclaren the  complicated  nursing home scene when she
          arrived stiff and  speechless. She helped Shaun put away her
          things. Showed her  the  island of her property, bed, chair,
          rug, and locker  in  the  long  dormitory  that  immediately
          reminded her of  the  Convent,  causing her to scream out in
          terror.  Shaun suffered  badly from nightmares.  She knew so
          clearly what was  happening  to  her.   Understood  her  own
          gradation from the  first  numbness  of the realization that
          she had had  an  hysterectomy,  to  a  most  awful  pity and
          self-accusation.  ( If  I  had  not  run  across the road at
          Westhill Casey Ann would not have died ).

          Through sleeplessness, and  then sleeping to escape. Through
          all these, in  a  long,  long  slide to a dark sombre place,
          where at last  depression  closed around her like a curtain.
          She had dreams  of  falling, of crashing down cellar stairs.
          She remembered her  mother  talking  about  her Grandfather,
          John Carlyle. She  could  still  see  his  photograph in her
          mother's locket.

          She opened a door, stepped into an elevator shaft. She could
          hear her own  screams  borne away on the wind of a fall. She
          had nightmares of  stairs,  interminable  stairs.  This time
          going up. Coming  out  on  top  to  stand on a narrow ledge,
          trying to reach  a  light  that  flickered, a light that was
          impossible to reach.   Waking  up in a cold sweat of terror.
          Breaking out into  a bout of hypoglycaemia, where she became
          dizzy. She twitched and began to itch all over. She felt the
          prick of a syringe as sleep overcame her.

          Under  Matron  Cotton's   supervision  Shaun  slowly  gained
          weight. Although the  nightmares  had  disappeared she still
          dreamt of Laura.  Of  herself  as  a complete, whole, useful
          man. She dreamt  of  beautiful women who would fight for her
          company.  After six  weeks  she was allowed to return to her
          flat providing she attend Dr O'Donnell's rooms once a week.

          The time spent  with the Psychiatrist went easily, with none
          of the raw  moments  the  doctor  had  expected.  He thought
          Shaun had become  a  somewhat religious hysteric who did not
          appear to be  harmful  to  herself  or  others.  He  was not
          cynical  about  what  he  had  always  recognized  in  Shaun
          Maclaren as a pilgrimage away from an unsatisfactory life.

          After  lengthy consultations  with  his  colleagues  and  Dr
          Mitchell.   Dr O'Donnell  made  arrangements  for  Shaun  to
          complete her sex-reassignment  assessment.  The  Psychiatric
          unit at the  Community  Church  Hospital, was he decided the
          best place for  her  to  stay,  for  the two week assessment

          Shaun  remembered the  hospital,  which  she  still  thought
          looked like a  mad  giant's  castle  outside,  and  a  giant
          anthill within. The  psychiatric  ward was no different from
          any other ward. The same kind of furniture. The same kind of
          people, sitting, staring, shuffling about, or lying on their
          beds with their  toes  turned  up  in  little  rooms off the
          corridor. The meals were the same. The orderly brought round
          the medicine on  the  same  kind  of  tray. The same kind of
          music came out of the headphones.

          During tea on  the  second  day a woman doctor came into her
          room and told  her  she  would  be  examined in the morning,
          after rounds and medication. That there would be an aptitude
          test.  The clock in the corridor struck eleven when she went
          to the Psychiatrist's office and opened the door.

          The doctor looked up from her desk and motioned Shaun to sit
          opposite her.

          She felt suddenly  tense, not at all relaxed the way she did
          with Dr O'Donnell.   This  doctor she thought would give her
          no reassurance as  she  clenched  her  teeth making her jaws

          " What are  your  thoughts?"  the doctor asked, taken by the
          intensity of Shaun's stare out the window.

          " Of Westhill.  The  cottage  opposite,  the  beach where we
          stayed, and I  would  become  the  Captain of a huge sailing
          ship. Then Casey  Ann  went away and everyone said it was my
          fault.  But why am I telling you all this? Is it the tablets
          the  orderly  forced   me   to   take  this  morning  before

          " Do you  still  enjoy  the  fantasies  about being a ship's
          captain?" The psychiatrist  wanted to continue this train of
          thought, even though Shaun had made a long pause.

          " No I  don't  think  about that any more. I don't have that
          much imagination. Sometimes  I think about Casey Ann. Mostly
          I think about  being  a  man.  That's  because  I  am a man,
          trapped in this  body,  which  through  the  fault  of  your
          doctors is neither male or female."

          " You give me the impression of being- -perhaps haunted. Are
          you? By your-twin sister?" " Perhaps I am." There was a long
          pause.  " Tell me about it," the psychiatrist asked. " Oh, I
          don't really know. I don't think I should."

          " Why won't you tell me about it Shaun?"

          " I will  if  you  tell me about the medication your orderly
          forced me to  take  this  morning, after I told him I didn't
          need it."

          " You were  not  forced  Shaun. You were given a relaxant. I
          thought it would  help you to talk about things more easily.
          It was a  short acting hypnotic drug. Mogodon ( Nitrazepam )
          which I doubt would mean anything to you."

          There was another  long  pause.  Shaun found it difficult to

          " Can't you  be  haunted  by  what  you've  not done?" Shaun
          asked, " can you lie and dream of what you are fated to do?"
          she continued without waiting for an answer, " then wake and
          find yourself not strong enough to do it? Don't you know the
          nightmare of feeling  there  is something you have to do-you
          can't tell what.

          It  may  be  to  get  somewhere,  find  something,  or  warn
          someone-all the time  knowing  that  you  can't get it done.
          Your feet are  clogged.  Something  with a smiling, sinister
          face is catching you up, at the end-"

          " You wake up, sobbing, and it isn't done," the Psychiatrist

          " Always," returned  Shaun.  " I am a man. I was born a man.
          Now I am  trapped.  Sometimes I dream a dream through to the

          " It is  difficult  for one to accept.  Can you help me as a
          doctor to understand?"

          "  Some people,"  Shaun  continued,  ignoring  the  doctor's
          interruptions, " say  one dream merges into another, so that
          you only end it by waking. Some say no one ever dreams their
          own death-dying-yes, and trembling with fear, but not dead-I
          do. I dream  my dream out, then quite logically-I dream that
          I am a man-a complete, whole man- -or dead."

          " And the dream itself Shaun?"

          " Oh no,"  she  answered  with  a  laugh,  " that belongs to
          another world, where not even you as a doctor are admitted."

          " But I  could  find out," the Psychiatrist threatened, " so
          why not tell me?"

          " You are  welcome  to  find  out-if  you  think you can. At
          present I am  regarded as sane and harmless, while I live in
          the real world  of  a  female.  But  the moment another soul
          entered my dream-world,  the only world I know as a real man
          I should be mocked and reviled."

          Shaun suddenly felt  very  tired. She laid down on the couch
          and watched the psychiatrist through half-closed eyes.

          The doctor decided  that  a  little well-timed opposition, a
          chance question or  patronizing display of interest would be
          sufficient to loosen  her tongue. Perhaps unlock a stream of
          words, even an  inexhaustible  flow  of ideas.  The bait was
          taken.  A hint  or  a  challenge  and  the psychiatrist knew
          Shaun Maclaren would  begin to talk, slowly, differentially,
          calm, judicial, perhaps restrained. She clicked her fingers.

          Suddenly Shaun's eyes  brightened, her face grew animated as
          an unexpected avenue  of  thought  opened  to her view.  She
          raced down it,  trying  to  drag  the  doctor  in breathless

          Whimsical, picturesque, winged  with  paradox  and  flashing
          epigram, the ideas  crowded  and jostled each other till her
          brain grew dizzy  with the sight of fantastic dream -figures
          made startlingly real.

          The soft eager voice of the psychiatrist, rising and falling
          in musical cadence  lost it's deliberate intonation and took
          on a speed and gentleness she had not known.

          At times the  doctor  watched  her  pause,  hesitate  as the
          possibilities of a  new  theory  of  gender  change unfolded
          themselves, and then  piece  by piece arrange the setting of
          the tableau.

          The  richness  and   strength   of   Shaun  Maclaren's  mind
          communicated  to  the   doctor's   as   they   talked.   The
          psychiatrist's brain grew  clearer, bolder, more penetrating
          as  Shaun moved  in  a  finer  air  and  felt  the  doctor's
          intellect yielding her of it's best.

          The awakening came  with  the  cruel  abruptness of a broken
          dream, as once  again  the psychiatrist snapped her fingers.
          Shaun's mind went  flat  like  the slack string of a violin.
          The reaction making  her vow never to enter into the charmed
          circle again.

          Tomorrow, Shaun knew  would be her last day at the hospital.
          She had been  there  ten days.  After her last consultation,
          the doctor informed  her  she would be writing up her report
          for the panel  of  psychiatrists  who would interview her in
          the morning. Shaun  asked if the report would be favourable,
          but the doctor  told  her  she  could not discuss it at that

          Deep into the night Shaun lay listening to the noises of the
          other  sleeping patients.   The  pallid  light  of  day  was
          already sifting out the sky before sleep overtook her.

          Smartly dressed in  shirt,  tie,  and  tailored  suit, Shaun
          Maclaren  entered  the   room   where  the  panel  of  three
          psychiatrists were sitting  at  a  long table in the centre.
          She was motioned  to  sit in front of them, reminding her of
          her Army days  when  she  was informed of her discharge.  Dr
          Beauchamp sat in  the  center of the panel. Shaun thought he
          looked like another  Dr  O'Donnell, and wondered if all male
          psychiatrists had a similar look.

          " Ah!" he  said  with  a  false  smile,  "  you are-er Shaun
          Maclaren," he paused,  glance  at the doctors on either side
          of him, "  we,  my  colleagues and I have studied the report
          and  are  pleased  that  you  have  fulfilled  the  criteria
          required for sex-reassignment."

          There was along  pause.  The  silence, agonizing as they sat
          staring at her.

          " However," he  continued,  as  he  raised  his  horn-rimmed
          glasses to the back of his head,

          " we find  that  we  are not able to recommend that you have
          the operations necessary  for  a change of gender.  The main
          problem being, that  you  are  not,  and  have  not for some
          considerable time, been  in  a  stable  relationship.   This
          being  the ruling  factor.   With  regard  to  your  medical
          condition, tests have  shown  that there are traces of blood
          in your urine,  which suggests you could have a tumour.  But
          as  I  have  indicated,  the  main  factor  is  an  unstable

          Shaun Maclaren was devastated. The silence unbearable.

          " What!" she shouted, rising from the chair.

          " You sit  there  in judgement and have the audacity to tell
          me that because  I do not have a stable relationship, that I
          Shaun Maclaren cannot  become a man.  Who gave you the right
          to become judge  and  jury?  You  and  your band of high and
          mighty  religious  cohorts   have   forced   me  to  have  a
          mastectomy, a hysterectomy,  untold  misery  and a series of
          nightmarish  dreams. Furthermore,  you  and  your  panel  of
          so-called psychiatrists, without  my  permission  forced  me
          into a state  of  hypnosis. Which I feel could reasonably be
          construed into an act for malpractice.

          Because of you,"  Shaun  continued,  "  I am at this moment,
          neither man or  woman.  But  instead I am as your staff, and
          possibly you so  laughingly  put  it,  nothing  more  than a
          neuter." " But  we-"  spluttered Dr Beauchamp.  " That is my
          colleagues and I."

          " I can  tell  you  here  and  now,"  Shaun  roared angrily,
          ignoring his attempt  at  protesting,  " I am a man.  I will
          become a complete  man, and I do not require your ridiculous
          assessment.  And Dr Johnathan Beauchamp, I might add, I will
          become a man, which, in spite of your balls is something you
          will never be,  and  in  future  you  will refer to me as Mr
          Shaun Maclaren."