A Change Of gender And Beyond
by F.W. Hinton
Shaun slid out of the station wagon, stood in front of it,
kicked the wheels and cursed the broken down vehicle with a
mixture of anger and apprehension. The thought of being
stranded in the Outback was daunting. She lifted the hood,
checked the plugs, saw that the engine had shot it's
mountings and slipped into the radiator.
Slumping back in her seat she muttered a curse knowing that
the chance of another vehicle coming her way was most
unlikely. There was plenty of food and water, enough for at
least five days, longer if she were careful.
The guide books had warned to be prepared for anything when
travelling the Outback, and if anything did happen to stay
with the vehicle. It was, she thought, hotter than hell with
the flies quick to find her. Tired and wanting to get away
from their torment she fell asleep. She remembered the
Psychiatric Unit. The look on the faces of the doctors,
when she, Shaun Maclaren told them what she thought of them.
She remembered feeling let down by all the doctors,
including, Mitchell and O'Donnell. She felt sure they were
trying to use her as an experimental guinea-pig. But she was
determined, that they, in fact no one would stop her from
becoming a complete whole man.
Even the Community Church, The Fellowship. The people of the
church, the so-called do-gooders on whom all her hopes and
dreams had been pinned had dismissed her, turning her into
nothing more than a poor unfortunate neuter, and telling her
she could never become a man.
Now, more than ever before Shaun understood why so many
transvestites, transexuals had, over the years contemplated,
committed suicide. Even those who had turned to religion for
help, love and understanding, had in most cases been
rejected or ridiculed.
In her heart she knew that no one could stop her from
becoming a whole man. That she had to put all the problems
of the past years behind her. That somewhere, somehow, she
would achieve her life's ambition.
This had been the second breakdown since she left the coast
three weeks ago. Now she wished she had bought a better
vehicle. Because of the trauma of the past few months she
had decided on an Outback holiday, if only to find out where
An hour later a sound awoke her. She listened, tried to
decide from which direction it came. There was a cloud of
dust, she thought it could not be more than a mile away.
Without thinking she left the wagon and ran towards it,
confident that she would be saved.
When the sweat ran down her body as the sun beat
relentlessly on her head she remembered the instructions in
the travel guide and knew she should have stayed with the
" They're always right," she grumbled as she slowed down to
a walk towards the cloud of dust.
" What the bloody hell-! Where, in the name of God did you
spring from Mister?" a deep voice called out, as a
grim-faced man climbed down from the truck, to stand head
and shoulders above her, his build matching his height.
" My wagon broke down-about a mile back."
" And you walked?"
Shaun began to explain. The man waved aside her words.
" Of all the bloody fools. Don't you know you're supposed to
stay with the vehicle. Have you no idea of the dangers of
abandoning a vehicle out here?"
" I'm Shaun Maclaren," she told him gingerly, " I didn't
" Well never mind that Mr Maclaren. Guess you're one lucky
bastard. Climb up and we'll go look at your vehicle."
They sat in silence as they drove towards the wagon. Shaun
looked out of the side window. There was, she thought a
stark beauty in the reddy-brown soil, the dry spinifex that
seemed to grow everywhere. The Outback - barren-cruel.
Unchanging terrain that covered thousands of miles had a
magic all of it's own. There were no half measures here, you
either loved it or hated it.
They reached the station wagon. The man looked under the
hood, knew Shaun was right as she gave him a hand to tie on
a tow line.
" I'm going through to the depot. Drop you and your wagon
off at the local garage. About twenty miles down the track.
Tell me Shaun," he continued, " why didn't you take one of
those conducted tours? Come out with a bus-load of people.
Travelling alone out here, can at times be very dangerous."
Shaun told him it as the first holiday she'd had in years. "
Just wanted to see a bit of the country before I settle
" Tying the knot eh!' he said with a grin, " got a picture
of the future Mrs Mac?"
" In the wagon," Shaun answered, without blushing, as she
thanked God she had kept up with her testosterone therapy, "
just wanted to see a bit of the country on my own-if you
know what I mean."
The owner of the local garage examined the wagon.
" Needs another engine, radiator, mountings, bearings. With
a bit of luck we might get away with the gearbox."
" What do you think all that will cost?"
" Bit hard to say Mr Maclaren. Apart from the cost of the
parts, the cost of getting them here is the killer. If you
want an honest opinion your wagon is not worth repairing. I
haven't another vehicle to sell you, and I do need the work.
But I feel I must be honest with you. In my opinion you
would be throwing your money away."
She thanked him, told him she would think about it and
booked a room at the motel. She was bored, there was no one
to talk to. The motel clerk sat in his office listening to
the radio. It was obvious he did not want to be bothered,
answering her questions with a yes or no.
" There's a church down the road," he told her eventually, "
that's the best there is around here on Sunday."
The church brought back memories of Westhill-on-Sea. It too
was a sleepy old church. Shaun remembered the narrow pews,
sombre galleries and dusty monuments, even the board that
displayed the numbers of the psalms and hymns to be sung.
She wanted to run, get away from the past. She walked
quickly down the main street, determined to leave the
In the distance the cracked bell of the church rang out.
Like a magnet it drew Shaun Maclaren. In long, manly strides
she walked towards it. She stood in the doorway. A student
Minister came forward to greet her.
" I'm Macia," the Minister informed her, " I'm touring the
Outback on a training assignment. Please come and join in
the service Mr-."
" Maclaren, Shaun Maclaren. I'm only here for a day. I want
to leave tomorrow."
" May I call you Shaun - Mr Maclaren? It seems more friendly
than Mr-even if you are here only for a day."
" As long as you allow me to call you Macia."
The student Minister gave a long doctrinal sermon. Shaun
closed her eyes. She could hear the Minister's soft voice
and woke up with a start forgetting everything that had
happened. Knowing that somehow she had to talk to this
student Minister, talk to her alone.
Macia's solemn words recalled Shaun Maclaren and her whole
attention was given over to the service, as a flash, of
something, an idea, perhaps intuition, told her that this
service, this chance meeting would somehow influence her
When the service was over Shaun left the church quickly,
wanting to get away from the memories. She went for a walk
in the nearby park. Macia caught up with her, asked if she
could join her. She spoke about the Ministry. Shaun told
her how much she had enjoyed the service. That the church
reminded her of Westhill.
" There was a time," Shaun told her, " only months ago, when
I decided I would never set foot inside God's house again.
This is the first time I've been to church in over a year."
" Shaun!" Macia whispered, taking hold of her hand, " you
have to find the Lord again. Can't you see how he has
brought us together. I know if you put your trust in Him,
you will find the peace and happiness I have found."
" What do you mean? How can you know these things-when we
have only just met?"
" I know this is our first meeting," Macia continued, " I
feel in my heart it is right. I know, can feel you have an
almost unbearable problem, one that we must share. That I
have to be with you as I am with the Lord, completely honest
and open. That no matter what the consequences, I have to
tell you I am a - transexual."
" But!" Shaun gasped. " You! You're so beautiful. You're
asking me to believe that you are-you were-once a man?"
There was a long silence between them as they walked in the
park, still holding hands. She expected Shaun to snatch her
hand away, as others had in the past.
Shaun opened her mouth to speak when a flash of memory
" How, she wondered, how do I tell this beautiful, adorable
woman, who will one day be my wife, how do I tell her, that
because of her church, I am nothing more than a neuter? That
I Shaun Maclaren was once a complete woman.
They stood under a tree where the moonlight filtered through
the branches. Macia, unable to control the rush of tears
stinging her eyes, prayed that Shaun would not walk away,
abuse or despise her. With Shaun, she felt safe, so
unmistakably dear. She did not move or look up. Conscious
of Shaun watching her, she heard Shaun's deep voice telling
her that she was a transexual. That she, once a woman, now
neutered was more determined than ever to become a complete
It was then Macia knew in Shaun Maclaren she had found her
soul mate, and as the tears streamed down her cheeks Shaun
unfolded her story.
" Perhaps I am being punished for allowing Casey Ann to
die," Shaun added.
" No Shaun," Macia said as she kissed her, " it isn't that
way at all. How can I make you see things differently. It
wasn't your fault your sister died. You could not keep her
from God. He saw it best for Him to take her. Of course you
loved her dearly, and still do. God's love for her and for
us is far greater. We do not question his love."
Macia had completed her training assignment in the Outback
and was on her way south. With Shaun she went to the garage.
They talked about the station wagon. Decided it really
wasn't worth repairing and Shaun sold it to the mechanic for
They spent every possible moment together. Sat next to each
other in the coach going south. She listened to Macia
scanning the pages of her Bible, aware that everything was
focusing on the one vital matter, submission, that wanted to
submit to the Lord, for the sheer joy of pleasing him.
Shaun remembered feeling like that, how she wanted to give
to Him the opportunity to command her willing spirit, not
her unwilling, grudging self that was so ready to question
On the long journey as she sat next to Macia, Shaun decided
to take herself in hand. She knew only too well she was
failing and failing badly. Now she was ready to admit she
was being thoroughly foolish blaming the church for her
But that did not alter the fact that she needed someone to
help her to find a way of becoming a whole man.
The coach stopped at a tourist centre. It reminded Shaun of
her work, where she knew the was still employment waiting
for her as a translator tourist guide.
"The cave," the guide told them, " is known as ' Woman's
Cave'. The Aboriginals refer to it as 'Djugajabbi' Around
the other side," he told them " are the wall paintings."
Everyone thought the caves a place of wonder. Drawings,
paintings on rock, graphic in their own way. Macia,
fascinated by the colours spent hours trying to decipher the
stories they told.
Eventually they came out of the shadows. Shaun took Macia's
camera, stood with it ready and poised.
" Smile Macia, be part of the scenery."
She laughed. Hoping she would not swallow a fly struck a
" If I had known you wanted a model, I would have worn a
dress. In jeans and shirt, hair bunched up under this hat,
who could tell if I am boy or girl."
" There are a few differences," Shaun said with a grin, her
eyes settling Macia's full breasts. " Now take your hat
off-let your hair flow. That's my girl," she commented with
a smile. They joined the other tourists, everyone finding it
impossible to ignore the setting sun. Already the Rock was
changing colour, deepening from bright orange.
" Soon it will change again," the guide told them as the
Rock grew a little darker.
With the others Macia and Shaun gasped as it became a light
purple. When the sun slipped below the horizon, and the moon
rose casting a shadowy glow it turned almost black.
The dimension of every gully changed with the lengthening
shadows, so that the massive monument never appeared the
same for more than a minute As they walked, mulga gave way
to more sparsely covered soil. There were patches cleared,
where nothing seemed to grow. There were places dotted with
spinifex. With the other tourists Macia took shot after
shot with her camera.
It was late when they returned to tourist centre. They had
only booked for the journey south, but Shaun and Macia felt
that the tour guide treated them with a special care.
In the cabin they talked far into the night. Macia telling
Shaun of the loneliness she had experienced before He came
into her life. She held Shaun's hands as she told of the
operation that would change her life forever. How she looked
at the surgery with apprehension, believing a thousand
things could go wrong.
How she had turned to the Lord. That he alone, gave her
comfort, solace, the ability to go to the hospital with a
calmness she had never known. To become the woman she knew
she was born to be.
In the dim light of the cabin Shaun held her close.
" Help me," she whispered. " Help me to love and understand.
You know how much I want to make love to you as a complete
Shaun returned to the coast as a translator and Tour guide,
Macia back to college to continue her training. A month
later among the usual bills, Shaun received an airmail from
Macia. With trembling fingers, she split the side and
unfolded the wafer-thin paper.
As a love letter it lacked the strong possessiveness of the
letters Maureen and Laura had sent her. This letter, Shaun
thought contained the perfect wording, gentle, with a
patience that spoke of a tender precious love.
Macia wrote about a stable relationship she thought they
needed in their lives. About her friends at the college. Of
a special friend, who at her mother's birthday party, had
introduced her to a Professor William Gaisford, who was not
only a leading luminary in the medical world, but a
gynaecologist, and an authority on sex-reassignment.
He was, Macia wrote, the Saviour of transexuals, because his
patients felt they were, after his consultations and
surgery, completely new people. That they became
individuals, not freaks to be ridiculed by the community at
Delighted with the news, and anxious to learn more, Shaun
arranged to stay with Macia. She met Shaun at the coach
station and as they ran into each others arms Shaun thought
Macia more beautiful than ever.
In her flat Macia prepared an exquisite meal.
" Have we been losing each other ?" Shaun asked as they
touched the glasses of champagne and she stroked Macia's
" Yes," she answered quickly, " but this time I know we are
Macia told Shaun she was pleased that she was working again,
instead of blaming the church for her mistakes and wasting
time seeking revenge. Shaun caught the sting of her words,
but filled with the joy of being with her quickly dismissed
Never, Shaun thought had she desired anyone more. She knew
it was partly due to the testosterone therapy, which she had
now increased. But when Macia responded, and held her with
an undeniable passion, Shaun realised it was much, much
At some unknown silent hour Shaun woke up. The moon,
through the curtains cast a soft light on Macia's face and
shoulders, fast asleep beside her. She pulled on a dressing
gown and looked down at her. This woman, Shaun knew was the
one that she really loved, and yet, the undefined shadow of
loneliness close behind her, so close, so unseizable.
She opened the window, filled her lungs and, for a moment
held her breath as she clenched her fists, tensing her
muscles. Never before had she felt the full force of life
within her. The whole life she could give, and yet, the last
thing-slipped sadly away.
Macia opened her eyes and watched her. " Shaun! what is it?"
She sat on the bed close to her, " what are you so worried
" I have to talk to you," Shaun paused for a moment. " You
know that voice, Macia. The voice that calls without end in
our hearts, dimly, painfully, tormenting, harassing, not to
be soothed-reproaching us with all we have done, and all we
have not done. The voice of remorse, regrets-without
return. All things gone, vain joys, and hopes-over. Do you
know the voice of that which passes, that deceives one and
vanishes, of what we have reached and never shall reach.
The small voice that cries the abortion of life, the
vainness of effort, the weakness of the flesh. It was
saying to me in that short moment, all that I have loved,
all that I desired, waited for, dreamed of. All that I have
seen, come to know and understand, to taste, all that my
poor feeble spirit had brushed with useless hope. All the
things it had tried to soar towards, unable to reach because
of the chains of ignorance. I have wanted everything,
without grasping anything-and yet, I so wanted to be a
complete, whole, loving man. I have all the appetites, all
the curiosities. Until you came along, I Shaun Maclaren have
been held to watch everything, without seizing one.
Please Macia, help me. I have to talk to your Professor. You
and you alone can make it possible for me to be whole, to
love you as I know I can."
An appointment with Professor Gaisford was fraught with
difficulty, it was a sign that one might be bound for
another world. His fees were unknown. There was, according
to Macia's special friend a period when it was difficult to
know where he lived.
Many people thought the Professor as hovering in an upper
sphere. In an attitude of reprobation, which aroused
uncomfortable associations of guilt and original sin.
A number of people knew what he looked like from pictures.
He was a big man, with a short well-trimmed beard, graying
at the temples. Few could describe him more closely. He had
lived most of his life in India, was Head of Department of
Obstetrics and Gynaecology in a Middle East Hospital. He
frequently toured South East Asia, and it was on one of
these lecture tours that he visited Macia's friends mother,
who knew him when he was a struggling young intern.
In his lectures on transexualism he felt that governments
should pass laws to make the existence of the transexual
" They should," he told a congress, where he was guest
speaker, " be able to get name changes, travel documents, I
D cards and so forth that make no mention of their previous
identities. In many ways," he told them, " we are prudish,
but thankful that attitudes are changing. We must all accept
that these people are different, but they are still
individuals. Their interest isn't in sex, but in being
accepted for what they feel they have always been."
For two months Shaun tried to get a consultation. In
desperation she asked Macia's friends mother if she could
help. A week later Shaun received an appointment.
Professor Gaisford said very little during the lengthy
examination. When it was over he stood with one hand behind
his back, the other stroking his beard and a foot thrust
forward. He looked at Shaun Maclaren, smiled one of his
rare smiles and told her to get dressed. Her medical records
which she had retrieved from the other doctors, including
the pyschiatrists reports were on his large impressive desk.
" I have made a preliminary examination of your case," he
began, motioning her to sit opposite him, " and I must
stress, at this stage, that anyone contemplating
reassignment surgery realize it's limitations, and that it
is irreversible. If having studied the reports, I feel that
you are not right for the procedure, then of course I will
not proceed, Both Macia and you have told me that you are in
a stable relationship, which will help enormously. And you
should be aware of the time, expense and trauma involved.
You are, I have been informed, a linguist fluent in many
Asian languages. and an experienced tour guide. Having
glanced at your case history, I can understand your reasons
for wanting sex-reassignment." " When will you decide?"
The Professor smiled again. " It is obvious you are
determined to become a male. I can see you are a true
transexual, and I believe you would benefit from
sex-reassignment. However I must point out that a continued
stable relationship is essential to enable you to cope with
Professor Gaisford consulted his diary. " I will see you on
the fifteenth of next month Shaun Maclaren. At that time we
will discuss your case in it's entirety."
Outside his rooms Shaun felt like jumping for joy as she
kissed and hugged the waiting Macia. " At last," she said
as the tears rolled down her cheeks, " at last someone is
going to help me become a complete whole man."
Shaun threw herself in to her work. She took on more
agencies, at times more than she could really handle,
working late every night. The days flew by, she phoned Macia
as often as she could, and Macia wrote every other day. In
her last letter Macia suggested they become engaged, which
would prove they were in a stable relationship.
Delighted with the suggestion, Shaun bought a diamond
engagement ring, and on the day of her appointment with
Professor Gaisford asked Macia to marry as soon as she
became a whole man.
The Professor congratulated Shaun, and expressed his
pleasure. He told her that he had recommended
sex-reassignment, and that there would be a number of
operations which he would be conducting.
" However, you do have a problem, Shaun which I have decided
to deal with immediately. I am of course referring to your
condition of spontaneous hypoglycaemia. In your case, this
has occurred as a result of the presence of a tumour in the
islets of langerhans. It produces an excessive amount of
insulin, and is operative. Removal of the tumour cures the
condition. Arrangements have been made for your
hospitalization at the end of the month. Documentation has
" Which hospital?"
" The teaching hospital on the coast Shaun. For two
reasons. One it is near your home, the other is that I am a
member of the board."
Professor Gaisford studied the papers on his desk. "Ah!" he
exclaimed as he looked up at Shaun. " We now come to the
gender surgery. To understand what this type of surgery
means, is not easy for the average person, and I feel that
every stage should be explained as far as possible. In a
way it is a little unfortunate that you have had a
hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, as this
would have left a scar in your abdominal wall. It is much
easier for me to raise a pedicle for a penis from an
abdominal wall that has no scar. It will however still be
possible for me to continue with the procedure,"
Shaun gasped. " Does this mean I have been used in some
way-used in some kind of experiment?"
" No Shaun, of course it doesn't. It's just something that
happens. It is not as serious as it sounds, and I can assure
you it will in no way affect the outcome."
" My point in telling you, is, that I believe every patient
should be informed of what has, and what is going to happen
to them. The first stage in your case Shaun, will be the
creating of an abdominal penile pedicle. You must remember,
the healing in all first stages may take some time. That
the creation of the abdominal pedicle, is in your case a
little unpredictable. To explain more fully I mobilize the
skin right round to the back. There is however, a high
tendency for the wound to break down. If that happens, the
healing process will take longer than usual, and the wound
will have to be dressed by a physician. It will then be
three months after healing before we can insert the penile
prosthesis. We use a solid implant. However the base of the
penis is flaccid so that you can avoid social embarrassment
by placing the penis against the abdominal wall and wearing
tight underwear. When you remove the underwear the penis
tends to erect. There appears to be very little discomfort
during coitus, and it does not impinge the clitoris. There
are different lengths and sizes, the choice depending on the
length of the pedicle."
" I believe the head of the clitoris can be left exposed,"
Shaun interrupted, " which would make it accessible for
The Professor nodded in agreement. " But most of my
patients prefer to have the clitoris buried in the shaft.
I know this will not provide easy access for manipulation
either by the individual himself or by his partner," the
Professor continued, " the clitoris will be sufficiently
stimulated during the thrusting movement of coitus to bring
about sexual arousal, which most people find is more
satisfying and natural."
" I have read of a method of conversion, female to male, of
a penile implant that uses a pump," Shaun observed.
Shaun's words brought a wry smile to the Professor's face. "
I'm pleased you have taken the time and effort to research
the subject Shaun. I have never used the method because it
is very expensive. Some reports have implied that the pump
is likely to go out of order, and to put it right, would, of
itself present an enormous problem. This is one of the
reasons I prefer to use a solid implant with a flaccid base.
With the testicular prosthesis, it is a little difficult to
describe. The closest one can get is, that it is a butterfly
shape with a broader base. It is made of medical silastic,
and here I would add that the insertion of the prosthesis is
a long and complicated procedure, and of necessity, the cost
is high. There will be an amount of scarring from skin
grafts, which will eventually fade. Of this I am sure you
are aware. Stage five is the closure of the vagina, and you
will have to stay in my hospital for at least twelve days.
With the creation of a penile urethra there is still a few
minor problems. But by the time the other procedures have
been completed the situation, will, I feel have improved."
" How long will the program take?"
" First we have to deal with the tumour. After that about
two years, during which time you should be prepared for some
lengthy hospitalization. A complete file, with all the
procedures and costs has been drawn up for you, which, if I
may suggest you study most carefully."
" When will the reassignment begin?''
" Hopefully in January of next year. Again this depends on
the removal of the tumour. You will have plenty of time to
make all the necessary arrangements. Remember Shaun, I do
not claim to play God, neither can one do so, and in surgery
anything can happen. Even if one is only having a toenail
removed, leave aside inserting a prothesis. All I can tell
you is, we will do our best."
" Should I call a little nearer the time?" Shaun asked
" No!" Professor Gaisford said with a grin, " you will be
contacted a month before we are due to commence."