A Change Of gender And Beyond
Chapter 13
by F.W. Hinton
          As  the weeks  of  spring  passed,  Shaun's  routine  varied
          slightly.  Plans which  in  the  first  few months after the
          removal of her tumour had seemed unchangeable, turned out to
          be temporary arrangements  only.   There  were variations in
          the number of translation and guiding assignments, which for
          some reason Shaun did not know, had slowed considerably.

          The percentage of  her  fees  which  she had decided to save
          every month for  her  gender  operations in the new year had
          fallen behind. This  worried  her, and feeling she might not
          be able to  cover  the  cost  and expenses began to look for
          other agencies.

          Macia wrote every  day.  Her  letters  of nine and ten pages
          long were full  of  childish  cajolery,  with a few lines of
          poetry  at  the   beginning.    Mostly   they  were  boring.
          Sometimes they were  about  marriage,  of  her  friends, all
          married, while she remained single.

          When she went  down  to visit her, Macia asked her for money
          for  her  college   fees.    If  Shaun  refused  there  were
          arguments,  with Macia  telling  her  she  should  get  more
          agencies. During the  evenings  she  would  ask Shaun if she
          were faithful, and  when  Shaun  swore  she was, as a reward
          Macia affected a  sickening  girlish modesty, taking off her
          clothes with absurd  little movements, attempting to perform
          a kind of striptease.

          Shaun was offered  a  guiding  assignment.  A large group of
          Japanese tourists had  booked  a  month long tour of Europe.
          The Agency had recommended her as translator.  Shaun thought
          it was a  chance  of a lifetime and was promised a fee which
          would be large  enough  to  cover  the  cost  of  her gender

          Unable to speak  French  or  German,  Shaun had to share the
          tour with a  guide,  who was Italian by birth, spoke French,
          German  and  English  fluently  and  had  just  completed  a
          European tour.

          Confident  of Macia's  approval  Shaun  telephoned  her  and
          explained her reasons for accepting the assignment.  But not
          wanting a jealous  argument,  neglected to tell her that the
          other guide was a single Italian girl of twenty seven.

          Macia sent Shaun  a  long  letter, expressing her enthusiasm
          and love, adding  that  she  had  found a Minister who would
          marry them. That  she  would  be  able  to go to Europe with
          Shaun as her  wife.  Disgusted  with  the  suggestion, Shaun
          refused to even discuss it, Macia threw one of her tantrums,
          threatened to tell the Agency that their star translator and
          guide was a  nothing, in fact a neuter. Unable to pacify her
          Shaun went down to see her.

          Macia was not  at  the  coach  station  to  meet  her. Shaun
          assuming she had  gone  to  church  or a meeting took a taxi
          across town to  her  flat.   There  were  lights on in every
          room.  The entrance  door  was  wide  open.  Believing there
          might be intruders,  that  Macia  might be harmed decided to
          call for help.

          " Macia!" Shaun  shouted as she went into the bedroom to use
          the phone. There  were clothes strewn all over the floor. On
          the bed Macia lay naked, her head on the edge of the pillow,
          one arm dangling to touch the floor. Thinking she might have
          been attacked, or  even  raped by the intruder, Shaun picked
          up the phone  to  call  for  help.  It was then she realized
          Macia was in a deep sleep.

          She bent down  and  kissed her shoulders, ran her hand along
          her arm and gently brushed her face.  Macia turned her head,
          the beginning of  a smile coming to her lips, her eyes still
          closed. Shaun took  off  her  jacket  closed the windows and
          doors and tidied  up the bedroom.  Worried why Macia had not
          woken up she  sat on the bed. This time Macia smiled at her,
          then laughed, oddly  as  Shaun brushed the hair from off her

          " David! What's  the  time? Must be morning," Macia said her
          voice slurred as  if  she were drunk, " you better go, I'm-I
          think I'm going  to meet that silly neuter, you know the one
          I told you about.  Shaun - -Mac - something, she's taking me
          to Paris."

          Shaun wanted to walk out, leave her.

          " It's ten o'clock," she told her, fighting to hold back the

          Macia laughed again. Rolled on her back. Took her breasts in
          her hands, pressing  them  together  as  if offering them to
          Shaun for her approval.

          " Marry me Shaun Maclaren," she slurred.

          Shaun tried to make her sit up.

          " I know  you've found someone else. That other guide-it's a
          woman. I found a Minister, who'll marry us for a few hundred
          bucks-you can afford it."

          " No Macia!"  Shaun  shouted  angrily,  "  you  cannot be my

          Something about Macia's  expression  struck  Shaun  as being
          very odd. She  seemed to be drunk, but there was no smell of
          liquor. Macia held  up  her arms and opened her mouth. Shaun
          pulled her up  and held her.  On the bed by the pillow was a
          syringe and a box of phials.

          Shaun propped her  up  in the bed, looked into her eyes. The
          pupils were shrunk to tiny points.

          " What's this?"  she asked, holding up the syringe, " you've
          been taking something. What is it Macia?"

          Macia giggled. Shaun  laid  her  down in the bed and covered
          her with a  sheet.  Hurt and shaken she stood by the window.
          Tried telling herself  that  Macia's  insults were of little
          importance.  But drugs!  The  mere  thought of them offended

          " I suppose her doctor could have prescribed them," she said

          She remembered it was Macia who helped her along the road to
          becoming a whole  man,  and  wished  she  had  kept her drug
          problem concealed. Wished  with  all her heart she had never
          seen Macia like  this.  It  was  absurd  to blame her, Shaun
          argued with herself. What did indulgence of this sort really
          matter in the end?.

          Suddenly she realized  that  the  drugs  were  the  cause of
          change of moods  in  her letters.  Of the phone calls in the
          middle of the  night.   Of  her  constantly  asking for more
          money. It was  a  cry  for  help and she didn't listen.  The
          memories of Laura  came  flooding back. Shaun knew she would
          not be able  to cope with the trauma of drug withdrawal even
          though Macia desperately  needed  help.   The  only way, she
          decided was to  get  her into a rehabilitation centre in the
          morning. Tonight she would stay at a nearby hotel.

          Macia begged her  to  stay, pleaded with her to sleep beside
          her, but to sleep with someone on drugs abhorred her. Unable
          to sleep she  stared into the darkness.  Eventually she left
          the sleeping Macia and laid down on the lounge room settee.

          She closed her  eyes  searching for sleep and began to dream
          that she was  in a hall filled with people. It was a meeting
          that she, Shaun  Maclaren  had  to address. She was nervous,
          her clammy white  shirt sticking to her body. A voice in the
          distance called out  "  Mr  Maclaren."  At  the  rostrum she
          waited for the  applause to end. She looked around the hall,
          it  was  enormous,   echoing.   The  sea  of  faces  waited,
          respectfully. Chairs scraped,  as  programs  rustled.   Then
          there were the  coughs. She glanced at the notes in front of
          her. The subjects, in bold print, Psychiatry and the Church.

          She  opened her  mouth,  not  a  sound  came  from  it.  She
          struggled, strained, still  nothing.  Everyone stared at her
          including the three  doctors who sat behind the table at the
          psychiatric centre.  She  knew  one  of them a Dr Beauchamp,
          she felt panic and shame.

          From the back  of  the hall came the first, soft embarrassed
          laugh, it spread  like  the  echo.  There were more and more
          coughs. Then tittering  laughter, and like a gathering storm
          the cruel sound  gained momentum as it ran wildly around the
          hall. In her dream Shaun saw Nicole, Mitchell, O'Donnell and
          Laura.  With  the   others   they  were  standing,  jeering,
          laughing.  " Stop! That's enough," Shaun shouted.

          She woke up  with  a  start, her body wet with perspiration.
          Her heart trying  to  pound  it's way out of her chest.  She
          went back into  the  bedroom  and  sat  watching the soundly
          sleeping Macia.

          Lorraine was at  the  airport to meet Shaun and her party of
          tourists. She was  dark-eyed, with black hair a pretty face,
          full breasts, and  good  legs.  Although  she was similar in
          size to Shaun,  she  appeared  to  be  taller because of the
          upright way she  carried  herself.  She  was  short sighted,
          refused  to wear  glasses,  and  in  order  to  see  better,
          particularly  when outdoors,  tilted  her  chin  and  looked
          through partly closed  eyes. This gave her the appearance of
          being extremely self-confident.  She walked with quick short
          steps, and this  with the haughty angle of her head made her
          look invulnerable. Lorraine  spoke  almost  perfect  English
          which made it  easy for Shaun to translate, and the party of
          tourists  smiled  as  they  called  her  Mr  Shaun's  newest

          The  next few  days  were  spent  touring  the  museums  and
          galleries, with the  Louvre at the top of the list. Lorraine
          gave a continuous  commentary  which  Shaun  translated with
          ease, much to the delight of the tourists.

          On Sunday Shaun  left  her  flock  to  their  own  choice of
          sightseeing, telling them  she  would be at the cafe outside
          the hotel or somewhere close at hand. With Lorraine she left
          the hotel at  the  north-east  corner  and  turned  into the
          square that took  it's  name  from the painter Jan Van Eyck.
          His statue stood  in  front  of  a  blocked-off canal on the
          right of the square.

          They followed the  quays,  turning  right,  crossing bridges
          until in front of them was the avenue of lime trees that led
          to Notre Dame.  Lorraine  led Shaun down a street only a few
          feet wide. They turned right through an arch and were in the
          heart of the tourist territory.

          A young girl  came  out of a small cloister wiping the tears
          from her eyes.  Shaun  wanted  to stop, thought she might be
          able to help her, but Lorraine hurried Shaun along.

          Because they were  on  their  own Lorraine changed the usual
          order of sightseeing. She led Shaun through an open doorway.
          Although she had  been  in the enclosure many times, even to
          Lorraine it was still something of a shock.  Shaun stood for
          moment in the  doorway,  she  turned  and wanted to run.  In
          front of them  through  an archway was a figure, a red cloak
          loosely around it, held together at the neck. It's head bent
          forward. Eyes closed, one wrist over the other, bound with a
          rope. On the  face a look of martyrdom, on the head, a Crown
          of Thorns.

          " This is  the  crypt  of  the  chapel  of  the Holy Blood,"
          Lorraine explained, " that's the Ecce Homo, the portrayal of
          Jesus wearing the Crown of Thorns."

          To the left  was  the  blue-clothed figure of Mary Magdalene
          nursing the body of Christ.  Lorraine led Shaun to the step,
          towards the other figures of Christ.  For Lorraine it held a
          kind of fascination,  but  to  Shaun this dungeon was filled
          with despair. The  cold  , bleak, dark bareness of the rough
          stone  walls, the  appalling  hopelessness  of  the  Weeping
          Christ, somehow, for  Shaun  it brought back memories of the

          Except for Lorraine  and  herself  the crypt was momentarily
          empty.  The solitude  coupled  with the distress of the girl
          Shaun  had  seen  leaving  produced  within  her  a  bizarre
          sensation.  The disturbing  illusion  of  reality  remained,
          even when their  closeness  to  the  figures  showed  Shaun,
          unmistakably as the images they were, and for the first time
          in years she remembered her book.

          " No more sightseeing please," Shaun said with a shudder.

          Lorraine insisted that  Shaun  should  have  the antidote by
          going up the  stairs  beside  the  cloister  and  visit  the
          Basilica  and  adjoining   museum.    Here,  everything  was
          different  from  the   atmosphere   of  horror  and  despair
          downstairs.  There was  light,  colour,  richness and space.
          Paintings,  stained glass,  silver  and  gold  ornaments.  A
          pulpit beautifully carved into a half globe that appeared to
          be resting on clouds. An Alter. A medieval scene of royalty.
          Of Christ on  the Cross attended by angels in a landscape of
          the Holy Land,  palm  trees,  Forts,  sheep  drinking from a
          river at the base of the picture.  Three arches opened on to
          a chapel. There  was  an  alter  bearing  a  massive  silver
          crucifix. At right  angles  to  the  alter  an ornate pulpit
          which  held  a  fascination  for  Shaun  who  felt  a  tense
          expectancy. The kind  of expectancy she had experienced when
          she sat in  a  theatre  and  the curtain went up on an empty

          They left the  Basilica, an attendant showed them the way to
          the museum. There were many treasures. A superb container of
          gold, silver and precious stones.  The windows of the museum
          were closed, and  Shaun  felt  heady  with the sweet, subtle
          odour of incense  and  hot wax that floated in when the door
          was opened.

          With Lorraine she  went  to  the  gift shop near the square,
          bought coloured postcards  of  the  museum, the Basilica and
          the Ecce Homo,  which  had  none of the macabre scene of the
          crypt. In the  picture the statue of Christ had been turned.
          The colour of the flesh had a tinge of brown and there was a
          blue haze on  the  wall behind, giving the picture an air of
          peace and quiet content.

          Shaun knew she  was exceptionally lucky to have been allowed
          to enter the  crypt,  but  wished  she  had  just bought the

          They caught up  with  their group in a nearby street full of
          shops, selling the  tourists lace and souvenirs.  Shaun told
          Lorraine she did  not think it advisable to take them to the
          crypt, feeling that emotionally it could spoil the remainder
          of the tour for some.

          The tour continued  traveling  across  Europe  in  a special
          coach, ending with  a  visit to the Cathedral in Ghent.  For
          hours the tourists  studied  the  Van Eyck masterpiece. They
          argued about the  twelve  panels  of  the ' Adoration of the
          Lamb'.  Unable to  decide which brother painted which panel,
          finally persuading Lorraine,  through Shaun's translation to
          settle the dispute.

          Shaun marvelled at  the  lower  panel  that showed the ' The
          Lamb of the  Revelation'  worshipped by angels in the centre
          of a beautiful  landscape.  With  Lorraine,  who had seen it
          before she gaped  in  wonderment  at  the groups of martyrs,
          priests, laymen, the  fountain  of  life in the front and in
          the distance the towers of Jerusalem.

          They moved slowly  to  gaze at the side panels that depicted
          the just judges, knights, hermits, and saints, all advancing
          to adore. The  magnificence of the upper panels of Christ as
          King. The Virgin.  St  John  the Baptist. Choirs of singing,
          playing angels on  either  side.  And in the wings, Adam and
          Eve. Each form modelled realistically and in great detail.

          The tour over  Shaun  went back to the coast and her flat. A
          letter from the  hospital  informed  her  that she was to be
          admitted for gender  surgery  in  six  weeks time. Unable to
          contain her enthusiasm she worked with a fury that surprised
          the agency, and  at  times  even her herself.  The knowledge
          that she was to become a whole man consumed all her thoughts
          as she read  the  letter  over and over again. Gone were the
          fears that had  lurked  in  the back of her mind, the letter
          had dispersed all her doubts.

          Macia phoned, thanked  her for helping her overcome the drug
          problem, that she  was  getting  her life back together. She
          promised to write when Shaun told her gender operations were
          to begin in the near future.

          The letter Macia  had  promised arrived.  For days it sat on
          the table unopened.   Shaun  stared  at  it  each  time  she
          passed, wanting to, not wanting to read it.

          " It's only full of her silly nonsense," she said aloud with
          a grin.

          The  flight  to   Professor  Gaisford's  hospital  had  been
          arranged. The hospital  fees  paid  in  full  and  there was
          sufficient funds for at least a year of recuperation.

          With two days to go, Shaun found it difficult to control her
          emotions. She passed  the  letter again, picked it up, toyed
          with it, threw it down onto the table.

          " I'm just  being  stupid," she said softly, " it's only one
          of her silly letters."

          In a bold move she tore open the envelope and pulled out all
          the pages.

          At the top  of  the  first  page  were  the usual lines of a
          children's poem. The  next  few  expressed her gratitude for
          helping her overcome the drug addiction.

          Then, 'wanting to  help  you  as  you have helped me', Shaun
          read, ' I  have  made  some inquiries about your forthcoming
          gender operations. I  think  you  are  expecting too much. I
          know, in fact  I  am  sure you can never become a whole man.
          Remember Shaun dear, I am only trying to help.

          " How could she!" Shaun screamed tossing the letter aside, "
          all I needed  was  a word of encouragement, a word of hope-I
          will be a whole man."

          Shaun lay on her bed, letting the tears to flow freely.

          " Why am  I  crying?"  she said suddenly, " I am-I will be a
          man. Why have  I  spoiled everything? allowing her to affect
          me  like  this."  Why,  she  wondered  has  Macia  tried  to
          discourage me from  wanting  to  become  that  which  I have
          longed for all my life. To hell with her, she thought, these
          supposedly  church  do-gooders,   they're  all  alike.   She
          remembered the words  someone  had  told  her, ' Don't allow
          tears and fears  carry you downhill. Have faith in yourself,
          and you'll win.'  She  picked up the letter and continued to
          read, determined to  fight  off  the  fears  that  Macia had
          created.  ' The  penile  urethra  tube  is the problem.' the
          letter continued, '  which  means  Shaun  you  will  have to
          urinate from the  base  of  the penis. How can you go in and
          use a urinal?  I'm  only telling you so that you will not be
          too disappointed when  you  realize that you will never be a
          whole man.

          I thought it  only  fair  to  tell you all the things I have
          found out, knowing how obsessed you are with becoming a man.
          Perhaps you should  lower  your expectations.  I don't think
          the prosthesis will  look  like  a  penis at all. I know you
          will never make  love the way you really want to.  Of course
          you are a  person  in  your  own  right,  and  I  am sorry I
          referred to you  as a neuter.  Perhaps you should forget all
          about sex-reassignment operations,  which,  I  am  told  are
          extremely painful. You  must know I'll love you forever-just
          as you are.  With  me  by  your side you have no need of any
          operation.  Remember  I   love  you,  and  take  care  Shaun
          Maclaren, take care.'

          Disgusted, hurt, Shaun  tore up the letter and burnt it. But
          it  remained with  her,  sleeping,  waking,  throughout  the
          night, the following  day,  the echo of those written words,
          'Take care Shaun  Maclaren, take care.' She tried to smother
          everything that Macia  had  written,  deciding  desperately,
          they were not  true,  neither could they be - and yet? There
          was no one she could confide in, no one she could run to, no
          one to comfort her.

          " I'm allowing my imagination to run away with me," she told
          herself sternly.  To  Shaun it was too incredible to believe
          that Macia, who  had  now been ordained as a Minister of the
          church  wanted her  to  remain  a  nothing-neither  male  or
          female, nothing more  than  a neuter, and wanted her to give
          up trying. "  Better-much better that I forget her, and that
          bloody letter," she  said aloud, trying to suppress the cold
          fear in her heart.

          Professor Gaisford clumped heavily in his rubber boots as he
          walked into the  gleaming sterile theatre of his Middle East
          hospital. The anaesthetist  was  already  at  work preparing
          Shaun Maclaren for the first part of her gender surgery.

          Beyond the windowless  theatre the Professor knew that early
          morning light was  stealing into wards and rooms. Earlier he
          had looked out  over  the  sleeping  city  as  he sipped hot
          hospital coffee.  This was the modern part of the city, laid
          out in wide  streets.  Not  like the older section with it's
          famed mosques, palaces and city gates.

          The preparation for  this  operation  had been as exact as a
          blue print. In  the theatre there were X-rays in view boxes,
          drawings that showed  the  exact  lines  where the incisions
          would take place,  and  on  Shaun  Maclaren's body, the same
          tracings, clearly marked.

          Back in her  private  room  Shaun  was aware that the penile
          pedicle had been  raised.  At  last  she  was  on her way to
          becoming a man. The nurses came in and moved her around. The
          agony of the  sharp  pain, almost unbearable.  She asked the
          Sister how long she had been asleep.

          " Not long,"  Sister  said  with  a  smile,  "  a day in the
          recovery room, and two in intensive care."

          When they left  Shaun  looked  at  the pedicle and gasped in
          amazement at it's  enormous size.  " What woman would want a
          huge thing like that inside her," she murmured.

          Shaun had known pain before, but never had she felt anything
          quite like this, so crucifying, so raw.

          There was a  moment  when  she  understood that this kind of
          pain was a  reservoir  of  hot  tar, which she could only go
          down and down,  round  and  round,  drowning  under  a black
          surface.   This time  there  were  no  dreams,  no  floating
          sensation. The pain had no specific location in her body. It
          simply consumed all of her.

          The wound of  the  pedicle  began  to close. Shaun was given
          antibiotics  to  ward  off  infection  and  pumped  up  with
          Pethidine,  so  that   this  her  sixth  day  was  the  most
          comfortable. But comfort  in  the  circumstances was nothing
          more than relative; she was more glazed by drugs than really
          soothed, and when she thought the pain had subsided it would
          come rushing back  to strike harder than before, causing her
          eyes to water.

          She wanted to  be  discharged,  wanted to get away from this
          boring room of  charts, tubes and starched bed sheets.  When
          the Professor came  to  see  her,  she asked to be released.
          With  that impenetrable  look  all  doctors  must  learn  in
          medical school, he  shook  his  head  and mumbled, " that he
          would consider it."

          Shaun turned to  face the window. The sun shone on the dusty
          glass. A tree  pressed  against the window pane, tantalizing
          her. There was  a breeze outside, high spirited, the type of
          breeze her mother  loved,  especially on a Monday, wash day.
          Shaun wondered if Monday was their wash day out here.

          The  nights were  the  worse.   The  nurses  came  round  to
          dispense  sleeping  pills   with  the  persistence  of  drug
          dealers. 'Come along Shaun you must swallow this. It will do
          you the world  of  good.  Be  a  good boy,' some called her,
          others, ' be a good girl.'

          Shaun Maclaren didn't want to be a good anything. She wanted
          to get home  to  her  flat.   The next few weeks passed in a
          confused way. There  was  a letter from Macia. This time she
          did not bother  to  open  it, ripped it into tiny pieces and
          threw it away.

          Shaun Maclaren had  changed.   No  longer  did she feel part
          woman part man. The testosterone therapy had been increased,
          she knew and felt she was all man. Instead of being tense or
          anxious, Shaun was  too  busy asserting himself. Too busy to
          be neurotic or  afraid. He'd take on the world if necessary.
          Shaun had arrived,  and  was  entitled,  now, more than ever
          before to be called Mr Shaun Maclaren.

          He thought about  changing  his  name.  But  he  liked to be
          called Shaun, he thought it had a manly ring with a touch of
          Irish.  Maclaren,  he   was  sure  came  from  somewhere  in
          Scotland.  When Shaun  went  into  a store, sometimes a girl
          would ask, " can I help you Sir." this gave him pleasure and
          a great sense of pride.

          A letter from Professor Gaisford gave him a special feeling.
          It was addressed  to  Mr  Shaun Maclaren, telling him he was
          due for the next stage of operations in just ten days time.