A Change Of gender And Beyond
Chapter 12
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
          she lived.

          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
          think I-."

          " 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
          memories behind.

          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
          checked her.

          " 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
          whole man.

          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
          His way.

          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
          whole man."

          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
          the hurt.

          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?"
          Shaun asked.

          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
          the stress."

          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
          been prepared."

          " 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
          manual stimulation."

          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."