A Change Of gender And Beyond
by F.W. Hinton
On this unfamiliar dawn large cloud formations lit by a pale
sun formed a purple mass over the city. Motionless, the
clouds could have been solid matter, rocky peaks, and
mountains afloat in the sky. On it's descent the plane was
suddenly buffeted like a kite in a wind tunnel.
Shaun Maclaren anxious to see Professor Gaisford at the
appointed time was among the first passengers to leave the
Boeing 747. He entered the stuffy terminal, passed quickly
through customs and immigration, where his much used
passport caused the immigration officer to make a mild joke
about how he should have a season ticket to his city. Shaun,
too concerned to reply, smiled, rushed outside and took a
cab, with a cheerful driver to the hospital.
Professor Gaisford sat in his office overlooking the elegant
gardens of the hospital grounds. He stared at the door,
absent-mindedly, waiting for Shaun Maclaren to arrive. He
had made a long and detailed study of the sex-reassignment
program, now he was forced to tell -his favourite patient
that a manufactured penile prosthesis could not be
He had read, re-read, all the reports, and history before,
and after Shaun's Vagus nerve operation. The report on the
removal of the tumour, on which he had insisted. It was
obvious that his bladder had been weakened and any attempt
at implanting a solid penile prosthesis, would almost
certainly be rejected by Shaun's body.
Shaun listened to the Professor's explanation but all he
could think of was Macia's cruel, harsh words. In one blow,
all his hopes of ever becoming a complete whole man, gone.
He stared at the Professor Gaisford, his face a ghost like
white. He seemed incapable of speaking.
His disappointment turned slowly to anger. This was the
second time his dreams, his hopes had been shattered. He
knew it wasn't the Professor's fault. But to have suffered
the agony of having a pedicle raised. To have worked so hard
to cover all the expenses, only to find out it was all in
vain. That because of an operation Maureen had forced him
into and an Army doctor had performed, he, Shaun Maclaren
would now never be a whole man.
He stood up, wanting to leave the hospital. He wanted to
run---run like hell, get away, from the Professor,
everything, run away and die. Tears welled up behind his
eyes. ' I am a man,' he screamed inwardly trying to fight
back the tears, ' Real men- -they don't cry.'
Professor Gaisford looked closely at his patient.
" Cry Shaun," he said with a smile. " I know you're a man.
Let go Shaun. Men they cry. There is no shame in releasing
your pent-up feelings. There is hope. There's always hope."
" Hope! No!" Shaun retorted angrily, " because of an
unnecessary operation, you have told me my body will reject
an implant. What's left? Macia called me a useless neuter. I
know now she was right. Why go on? I can't live with just
hope. Please, leave me alone---allow me to die."
" Maclaren! Sit down and listen to me," the Professor said
" There is hope. We do have an alternative, but it is an
experiment, one, that my colleagues and I firmly believe has
a ninety percent chance of being successful. The procedure
has been tried in other laboratories with limited success.
Here, in this hospital another method has been developed.
For us it will be a first, and I know with your help we will
succeed. It will help so many other people, not only
transexuals like yourself."
" An experiment! A first. Me a guinea-pig." the minutes of
silence seemed unending.
Suddenly Shaun realized there was hope, a chance, a reason
for living, if only to prove Macia and all those others
wrong. He knew in his heart that all he had to cling to was
the ability of Professor Gaisford.
" How?" he asked as he returned to his seat. " Why? When?"
" Before your salpingo-oophorectomy, and from your records,"
the Professor began, " we have found that after your Vagus
operation you were given hormone treatment, which in your
case caused super ovulation. It is not clear, why at that
stage you were given hormone therapy, but a large number of
eggs from your ovaries were collected and frozen. We have
been able to acquire them and have taken some of them
through various experiments with outstanding results.
With your consent, I will take a section of erectile tissue
from your clitoris. From your vaginal canal, which consists
of a muscular coat, a layer of erectile tissue and an
internal coat of squamous epithelium, which are cells,
rather like an shell I will take another section.
Using your egg cells, the erectile tissue and a suitable
vehicle we will clone a penis which your body will accept. A
portion of your vaginal lining will be used. The horizontal
folds will help to keep it's shape during growth."
" How will you make it grow?" Shaun asked, trying to
disperse the doubts in his mind as to the success of the
The Professor thought for a moment. " It is a complicated
system Shaun, but broadly speaking, the egg cell from the
ovaries posses a storehouse of nutrients, and these are
needed for development. We are now able to remove the Zona
Pellucida, which promotes normal cell division by using an
Our people feel, that by grafting the erectile tissues,
replacing the nucleus of the egg with the nucleus of some of
the new tissue, and using sodium alginate, a derivative of
seaweed, a novel technique, which has been improved at this
hospital we will provide a substitute for the Zona
Pellucidia. We know that when we put this artificial coating
around the cell they will grow.
With this new coating the cells will be in a solution of
deoxyribonucleic acid, beginning in a large Petri dish. It
will be fed with the genetically engineered growth hormone (
" I know now that you will be successful," Shaun interrupted
excitedly, " how will you manage to keep it erect without a
strong blood supply?"
" From our discussions over the past months I realize you
have an understanding of the construction of the normal
As you may know Shaun, it has three cylindrical columns
surrounded by fibrous sheaths. The cylindrical compartments
become divided up into spaces like a honeycomb, capable of
distension by venous blood supply when there is erection
The largest columns lie side by side in front. They are as
you know corpora cavernosa. The smaller one, the corpus
spongiosum lies behind and between them. We are going to
clone the penis around three micropipettes, which will keep
them erect. We will use one of the corpora cavernosa
channels as a urethra canal. Eventually it will be joined to
your urethra canal which is about one and a half inches
long. This is a fairly simple operation as your canal is a
quarter inch wide and easy to dilate.
At the termination of the penis the pipette we use as a
urethra canal will end in the deep grove of the heart shaped
portion covering the other two pipettes. We intend to keep
the base flaccid with the folds we take from the internal
section of your vagina.
The head of the clitoris will be buried within the shaft,
and we believe that the thrusting movement of coitus will
stimulate the clitoris sufficiently to bring about sexual
arousal. As I told you before you will be able to avoid
social embarrassment by placing the penis against the
abdominal wall and wearing tight underwear. In your case
when you remove the underwear, the penis will erect
slightly, but because of the blood flow through the erectile
tissue, the penis will increase to a full erection when
The closure of the vagina, will as I told you earlier be a
separate operation and will require a lengthy stay in
" How long will the experiment take?"
" Bearing in mind that this will be our first attempt Shaun
it is difficult to say with any great accuracy. We all know
the full gestation period is forty weeks. I feel a
reasonable estimation would be thirty to thirty two weeks."
" After you have taken the tissue for the laboratory, when
do you think I should return for the testicular insertion?"
Professor Gaisford glanced at his diary. " The operation
for the removal of tissue has been booked for tomorrow,
providing you agree to the procedure. Perhaps after a few
days recovery we could insert the testes. It will reduce the
cost of going home and coming out again in a few weeks time.
But it does depend on how you perform under the
" Is there a risk of my body rejecting the testicular
prosthesis?" Shaun asked.
" I don't think we will have a problem. As I have already
explained, because you have a weak bladder, a solid implant
could cause damage, and your body would almost certainly
reject it. That is one of the reasons why, the laboratory
staff, including myself are so excited about cloning a penis
from your own cells that we know will not be rejected.
With the testes it is somewhat different. They are as you
know inserted within the lips of your vagina, the Labia
Majora. There is in that area, smooth muscle, fat and skin
and an ample supply of blood and nerve.
I feel it only fair to tell you Shaun, that because of the
nerve endings there will be some discomfort until the wound
has completely healed.
The healing process will take some time. We will of course
be able to ease the discomfort with medication. In the
beginning you will be on morphine, and eventually
The lights over the table glared down. The curt orders of
Professor Gaisford and his assistant kept gloved hands
moving in and out of the circle of light that showed towels
and intent masked faces. Gloved hands that clamped off
bleeders with blunt haemostatic forceps, and swabbed away
the misting blood.
A new scalpel came into the Professor's hands, exercising
delicately as it followed the most difficult part of
planning away tissues. He looked for the head nurse in
charge of the petri dishes and humid container. With the
tissues and linings safely inside, Nurse Wainwright took
them to the laboratory on the sixth floor.
The Professor straightened up as the serious faced
anaesthetist read the recordings of pulse, pressure and
respiration. The patient on the table was normal.
When Professor Gaisford announced that the testicular
prosthesis would be inserted immediately, the tension in the
theatre mounted. Minutes later, diagrams and X-rays were
" Ready Doctor?" the Professor asked when the masking tapes
were in place.
The doctor nodded. Professor Gaisford looked back from the
diagrams. He no longer needed them, they were firmly fixed
in his mind.
All thoughts of Shaun Maclaren, his favourite patient faded
as he studied the operative area.
" Scalpel!" He recognised Nurse Wainwright's blue eyes
behind the mask. Pleased that she had returned so quickly
from the lab, he smiled at her. Automatically he felt the
weight of the scalpel, then prepared the inner area of the
Labia Majora for insertion of the prosthesis. A small
bleeder flooded, the assistant bent to clamp.
The testes were inserted and joined. Shaun Maclaren,
unknowing snored peacefully with the rise and fall of the
bag that the anaesthetist watched carefully.
The Professor turned his wrist and the cutting needle slid
through the skin that was surprisingly tough for all it's
soft appearance. The needle holder twisted expertly drawing
the other end of the suture through the loops that the
movement had made. The sutures knotted with a gentle pull.
Another threaded needle and holder slapped against his palm.
" Swab! I want a clear field."
The doctor swabbed fast and accurately, the smear of seeping
blood gone. The testicular prosthesis inserted, the wound
" He's breathing well, pressure near normal," the
anaesthetist informed the Professor, " I'm bringing him back
to the first plane of anaesthesia now."
The operation was drawing to a close. The anaesthetist gave
the final reading of blood pressure and respiration. He
watched the heavily breathing patient, turned off the valves
and logged the time on the chart.
" Take him to the observation room," the doctor said
wearily, " normal post-operative procedure."
Professor Gaisford smiled reassuringly at Shaun Maclaren who
was trying to see him through the fading mists of
" Feel all right Shaun?"
" All right-?" came back the weak whisper of a reply. He
felt sick. It was hard to remember.
" The testes --I have them?" he asked, trying to grin, " now
I'm a man."
" Nurse Wainwright will be looking after you."
As the Professor left Shaun whispered his thanks and tried
There was neither night or day in the windowless room, only
the cold, unfriendly glare of the fluorescent tubes. The
white walls and the hiss of oxygen near a bed.
Shaun was aware of Nurse Wainwright from time to time
standing beside his bed, whether day or night he had no way
of knowing. The Nurse was sterile--capped and masked. When
she bent over him he thought she was like a wind-blown
flower, with attentive, caring blue eyes.
" Please," he whispered, " hold my hand; it will make the
pain more bearable when it comes back, please help me."
Leah Wainwright held his hand. Shaun squeezed it. Seconds
later he squeezed it again as if to underline the onset of a
sharper, deeper pain.
Leah pressed the trigger that released a shot of
pain-killing morphine into his system. Slowly his hand slid
out of hers.
He tried to piece it altogether, seeking where he could , in
the narrow slits of clarity, lying between great oceans of
pain, hurtling back into the past, where it no longer hurt.
Oceans, unbounded regions of pain, that having been
experienced and endured could hurt no more. Yet they still
had to be pushed away to make room for new experiences of
pain that made him - were being constantly kneed in the
There were two other stretchers in the room with a body on
each of them. He recognised the face of the one who was
turned towards him. He had seen it in the transexual wing,
when he was being prepared for surgery.
Shaun reasoned that he must have been in the recovery room
for a few days. He remembered one or two people walking
around in dressing gowns who had opened the door and stared
at him. Through the half-open door he had seen someone doing
exercises under the guidance of the physiotherapist in a
He found it disturbing when he tried to fix his thoughts on
peace and quietness, a form of therapy, it always turned
into something else. There was, he thought no place to hide.
No shield of peace or quietness. No sheltering bell of
light he had found in the Convent as a child. Now there was
nowhere to hide. Nowhere at all.
Shaun lay for a long time in this timeless area that was
concerned only with pain. Yet he lay beyond the reality of
pain. He listened to the hushed voices of the nurses, and at
times their soft laughter. He remembered Lorraine, her
laugh when he tried speaking Italian. He wondered if Nurse
Wainwright, under that cap and mask looked anything like
He remembered the 'Revelation of the Lamb' The beautiful
landscape. The Fountain of Life, and the towers of
Jerusalem. Once more he saw Christ as King. John the Baptist
and the Virgin Mary.
The sheets of pain moved as if there was something inside
him pushing it out. At first in the shadowy clefts and dark
places, he remembered the Outback, Macia, and the enormous
Red Rock. Later they vanished to make room for the clarity
of the ' Revelation.'
It was with a special clarity, he saw clearly the
red-cloaked figure of Jesus wearing The Crown of Thorns. Of
Mary Magdalene, clothed in a beautiful soft blue gown
nursing the body of Christ. He saw the alter bearing the
massive crucifix, and the ornate pulpit which still
This time, he was not frightened, or horrified. In all that
he saw, and tried so hard to touch, he found a peaceful,
contented tranquillity. In this place, within the cold and
bleak, rough stone walls of the dungeon, Shaun Maclaren felt
no pain. When he awoke in his hand was his postcard of the
' Ecce Homo.'
Professor Gaisford insisted that Shaun either, remain in the
hospital, or reside close by for at least another month, so
that his daily intake of testosterone and Pethidine could be
monitored. Adding that if the wound did break down, an
immediate repair could be effected.
It was Nurse Wainwright who came to the rescue. She
suggested that, providing the Professor agreed he could stay
at her flat, a few blocks from the hospital.
To Shaun it seemed that Leah Wainwright was taking a special
interest in him. He wondered if it was the Professor's idea,
or, as he hoped, that Leah genuinely cared for him.
It was Shaun's last day at the hospital. The Professor
knowing he would be in safe hands signed the discharge
papers. He sat up in bed in his room in the transexual wing
and saw Nurse Wainwright standing at the window.
For a long time he looked at her. Out of uniform he thought
she was even more attractive. She was so different from
Maureen, Macia, or Lorraine. Shaun believed she had a
special beauty all of her own. Her light brown hair worn,
long and loose. Her legs shapely, her figure lithe and slim.
The time spent in hospital had not deprived her of the
golden tan he admired so much.
As she turned he saw a few freckles, like neglected pools
left by a receding tide of tan that framed the blue of her
exceptional eyes. He had been told that Leah Wainwright was,
until her sex-reassignment a male nurse at the hospital. The
surgery having been supervised by the Professor a year ago.
She had been asked by the board to continue working at the
hospital, eventually becoming Professor Gaisford's Head of
Nursing, and Shaun thought as she smiled at him she was a
After the doctor's final examination Shaun walked slowly to
the room where Leah Wainwright was waiting. She held out
her hands to help him. Shaun could feel the chemistry
between them, as in silence they drove to her flat.
Leah put the exhausted Shaun Maclaren to bed. His hands
reached for hers. It wasn't much of a kiss, only the touch
of the lips, just as his mother might have kissed him
good-night. But Shaun found it more satisfying than any
kiss of greater intensity.
There was the touch of her hands as she tucked in the
covers. Her nearness, and the look in her eyes.