A Change Of gender And Beyond
Chapter 9
by F.W. Hinton
          The offices of  most  publicity agents never look as if they
          are waiting for  the  magazine  photographer  to arrive, and
          Patersons was no exception. Laura Finch an ex-journalist who
          managed the company  had  come  up  the hard way, from press
          agent  to  manager.    She  was  merciless,  demanding,  and
          expected everyone to work as hard as she did.

          Because of the  fierce  competition  within  the advertising
          world, she was  forced  to fight for every inch of coverage.
          She found all men uninteresting, and when she had to discuss
          business matters with  them,  kept  the meetings as short as

          Women who walked  around in shapeless, pastel print dresses,
          talked  about  the   weather,   children   and   their  last
          pregnancies abhorred her.   Her  only  friends  in life were
          female executives or journalists and they were very few.

          She was always too tired, or too busy to drive backwards and
          forwards to her  apartment, or to special meetings and other
          functions. She had  an  arrangement with a car hire company,
          who picked her  up  every  morning  and drove her home every
          night. But she felt she needed not just a driver, she needed
          a companion.

          Shaun Maclaren, who  resigned  from the taxi company because
          of Yvonne, applied for a position as chauffeuse with the car
          hire  company and  was  assigned  to  Laura  Finch.  It  was
          obvious, from the  outset  that  Shaun suited Laura. She was
          always on time, pleasant, and attentive to her every whim.

          Laura decided to  buy  her own vehicle and offered Shaun the
          position of chauffeuse-companion.   It  was  an  offer Shaun
          could not refuse. She gave up her flat and lived in separate
          quarters in Laura's apartment.

          During the first  months there was the coolness of employer,
          employee  relationship.   A  year  later  they  became  firm

          Shaun happy in her position as chauffeuse-companion, seeking
          nothing more. She knew Laura had a drink problem and did her
          best to ignore  it,  even when, on the odd occasions she had
          to put her to bed.

          One Sunday evening Shaun found her asleep on the lounge-room
          floor clutching an empty gin bottle.

          " Laura! Laura,  you  can't lay on the floor all night," she
          told her, "  you  know there is a meeting you have to attend
          in the morning."

          She managed to  get her to her feet.  Sat her in a chair and
          poured black coffee  down  her  throat.   An  hour later she
          helped her into  the  bathroom  and ran a steaming hot bath.
          Laura beamed as Shaun washed her.

          " Mind the  slope  doesn't get in my eyes," she stammered as
          she slipped under the water.

          Laura Finch was  a heavy friendly drunk, and by the time she
          had been dried  and put to bed, Shaun was exhausted. She had
          her evening meal and took a cup of coffee upstairs to Laura.

          " Why do  you  get drunk?" she asked her employer angrily, "
          you knew you had a meeting in the morning. I like being your
          companion, but if  you're  going  to  get  drunk very night,
          you'll have to find someone else to look after you."

          " When did it start?" Shaun asked.

          Laura frowned. She had a headache, felt queasy, and had lost
          all interest in the coming meeting.

          But even in her befuddled mind, she knew she had to admit to
          Shaun and herself that she had a drink problem.

          " It started  when  I  joined Patersons.  All the late night
          parties, worry over the new job. That was one of the reasons
          I needed someone  to  drive  me  around  - a woman.  I can't
          handle men.  All  they  ever want is to touch you and try to
          take advantage."

          She held Shaun's hand.

          " Please don't  leave  me.  Please  help  me. I never really
          intended to get  drunk. I'd start with one to see me through
          the day- -not  that  I  ever  needed it.  Why not? I used to
          think. A drink  would  put  me in a better mood to deal with
          clients and the  staff. Eventually if I didn't start off the
          day with a gin and juice, I'd get real bitchy.  Shaun please
          help me. I  tried  so  hard to stop. Honestly I did.  Then I
          lost a large  account and one of the directors threatened to
          fire me.  You  know  there's nothing like a gin and juice to
          start  the  day.  Just  a  little  one,  then  another,  and

          Laura began to  cry.  Shaun  gripped  her  hand  tighter, in
          sympathy.  She dried  her  eyes,  sat up straight in bed and
          smoothed the covers.   Shaun suggested she should rest. That
          they could talk in the morning.

          Laura ignored her,  continued  talking,  as if to herself. "
          When I was  little  I  used  to hide, escape into a world of
          fantasy, a world of little people.

          They were my  friends,  my  real  friends.  Reality  was too
          formidable then so  I blotted it out. Life is like that now.
          I suppose that's  why  I  drink, to get over the problems of

          " Perhaps you  should  find  a  partner," Shaun suggested, "
          Someone to really  take  care of you.  Get married-to a good
          man, some one who understands."

          Laura stared at her, horrified.  " Married!" she screamed. "
          Me! - to  a  man?  I  can't  stand  men.  I can't bear to be
          touched by one."

          " Don't you  ever  feel  the  need-of  a man's warmth, love,

          "  No!" she  replied  angrily,  "  sex  has  never  been  an
          important side of  my  life.  I've  never  slept with a man,
          never wanted to.  Besides there's always masturbation, now I
          don't even need that."

          " Laura, you  can't go on - -not like this.  Stay in bed for
          a few days. I'll look after you."

          " What about the meeting in the morning?"

          " I'll phone  the  office.  Tell  them you're sick - make up
          some excuse."

          " You really would do that for me?"

          " Of course  I  will, providing you try and stop drinking. I
          love working for you. I don't want to leave."

          Laura was restless  all  night.  She needed a drink, but was
          concerned about waking  Shaun  who  slept  in a chair by her
          bed, to make  sure  she  didn't  find another bottle. In the
          morning they went  to  the city. Shaun waited as usual while
          Laura had a massage, a facial and manicure.

          " I feel  great,"  Laura told Shaun as she got back into the
          car, " I think I'll go to the office."

          " You can't,"  Shaun  protested,  " I told them you would be
          away for at  least two weeks. You promised me you'd kick the

          " I'll do what I want Shaun Maclaren. I am your employer."

          " You can't go back on your word. It wouldn't be fair."

          Next door to the beauty salon was a Hotel.

          " I need  a  drink,"  Laura  said,  taking  hold of the door

          Shaun slammed her  foot  down  on the throttle, throwing the
          startled Laura back  into  her seat.  " Fire me if you dare,
          Laura Finch, and I'll tell everyone you're an Alchy-a rotten
          bitchy drunk."

          In the apartment  Luara  began  to cry and Shaun allowed her
          one small gin  and  juice.  She put her to bed, fed her beef
          soup and black  coffee.  During  the  evening  Luara's hands
          began to shake, then she shivered making her teeth chatter.

          " I need  a  drink,"  Laura cried, " please be a darling and
          get me one,  only  a  little  one. I promise I'll stop after
          that, please Shaun."

          Shaun ignored her,  slept by the side of her bed, determined
          that her employer was going to kick the habit.

          Mrs Finch lived  in  the country. Shaun knowing she would be
          able to help  her  daughter  decided to pay her a visit. She
          gave Laura a sleeping tablet. Left the city just as dawn was
          breaking, and by  nine o'clock was outside the Finch country

          Shaun came straight  to  the  point.   "  Did  you know your
          daughter is an alcoholic," she asked Mrs Finch.

          " Of course.   But I can't see that Laura's condition is any
          of your business.   You  are,  after  all  just an employee.
          That's the trouble  these  days. People like you not knowing
          their place." "  Surely  you  can  help  her.  Take her to a
          doctor-a specialist," Shaun observed, ignoring the well-bred
          touch-me-if-you-dare voice of the tall gaunt Mrs Finch.

          "  Laura is  a  grown  woman,"  she  retorted,  "  for  your
          information I did suggest some time ago that Laura should do
          something about it.   There is nothing physically wrong with
          her. She needs  a  husband.  He'd  soon  put  a  stop to her

          " Perhaps you could help her now?" Shaun asked again, " help
          her to see  a  doctor-a psychiatrist. I firmly believe it is
          only a mental problem that can be easily cured."

          " How dare you!" Laura's mother screamed.  " How dare you, a
          mere employee suggest  that  there  is mental illness within
          the Finch family."

          " You mean  you are refusing to face the possibility of it,"
          Shaun retorted angrily.

          " I have  spoken to our doctor, on several occasions. He did
          suggest the A.A. organization. Laura must lead her own life.
          Now Miss Maclaren  I  suggest  you leave my home immediately
          before the police  are  called,  and  I  have  you  forcibly
          removed. "

          For three weeks  Shaun  nursed  her  employer.  She fed her,
          bathed her, put her to bed. Laura shook and trembled most of
          the time, pleaded with Shaun not to call the doctor, knowing
          she would be sent to a hospital or nursing home to dry out.

          One Sunday Laura  fell into a deep sleep.  Even in sleep she
          shook, trembled and cried out in agony. In the middle of the
          night she perspired  profusely. Shaun, worried almost out of
          her mind sat  on  the  bed  and  comforted  her  through her
          nightmares. When the  fever  passed Shaun bathed her put her
          back to bed and fed her strips of bread and butter dipped in
          a boiled egg.

          " I'm proud  of  you Laura," Shaun told her, gently stroking
          her forehead, "  soon you will be able to go back to work as
          a new woman."

          With Shaun Laura  Finch  felt  free  from anxiety, finding a
          security she had  never  known.  As  a  small  child she was
          always alone. She  remembered  the rustle of the housemaid's
          skirts. Someone who  brushed  her  hair, tidied her room and
          laid out her  clothes.  She remembered being sent to school.
          She seldom saw  her mother, her father not at all. She hated
          the country. There was never anywhere to go, anything to do.

          " Please stay  with  me Shaun," she pleaded, " here, tonight
          -always. You know  how  much  I  need  you.  I never dreamed
          stopping would be  so  hard,  or  that I was so dependent on
          gin. Promise me  you'll stay with me -please," she whispered
          as  her tears  flowed  down  her  cheeks.   Shaun  found  it
          impossible to refuse and slipped into bed beside her.

          " It's all right," she said softly, " don't cry. I promise I
          will look after you."

          Laura Finch nestled in the safety of her companion's arms. "
          This is the first time I have ever wanted to stop," she told
          Shaun, " I just want to be held and loved. To wake up in the
          night and not  be  afraid,  or  alone.  I  do love you Shaun

          Minutes later she was asleep.

          Laura persuaded Shaun  to move into her room, and as she put
          away her clothes,  Laura  suggested  she  should  have a new

          " But I  only  ever  wear  slacks  and  jumpers,  and proper
          shirts. I love to wear proper men's shirts."

          " What about skirts, dresses, blouses and frilly things like

          " Can't stand  them,"  Shaun  answered,  " they make me feel
          uncomfortable and silly.  That's one of the reasons I became
          a chauffeuse."

          Shaun quickly realised  that  all  Laura  Finch needed was a
          delicate, subtle, secure  love.  How  different, she thought
          from the love she shared with Yvonne and her cousin Maureen.

          On the enormous  round  bed in Laura's dimly lit room, Shaun
          murmured soft gentle  words that soothed her employer.  Then
          sliding her hands  under  Luara's powder-blue nightdress she
          fondled her firm,  yet  soft  cream  breasts.  The rose tips
          quivered erect as  she ran her tongue slowly over each peak,
          stopping and starting  as  Laura,  gasped, sighed and gasped
          again in pure delight, pleading with her to never to stop.

          Shaun ran her  hands  down  Laura's  thighs and caressed the
          enfolding flesh, holding  her close wanting to make her feel
          secure. Laura writhed  in  ecstasy beneath her, oblivious to
          all but Shaun's gentle hands stroking her moist silken hair.

          She stood in a warm scented bath. Shaun soaped her all over,
          then followed the path of the bubbles, exploring every part.
          She sprayed her,  and  as the sting of the water brought her
          back to life  Laura  felt  whole  again, promising Shaun she
          would never get drunk.

          The weeks quickly  turned  into  a year and most times Shaun
          could climax without  too much trouble, providing she lay on
          top and wriggle into her favourite position.

          When it didn't  happen  Shaun  found  it  impossible to find

          At  first  she   ignored   it,   taking   her  pleasure  and
          satisfaction in the  happiness and contentment of Laura. But
          there were times  when  her  needs  became  overpowering and
          Shaun  would  go   into   the  bathroom  and  find  her  own

          In the pale moonlight that shone through the partially drawn
          curtains Laura awoke  one  night  with a start and found the
          bed empty. She  sat  up,  pulled  the  covers around her and
          watched Shaun satisfy herself through the half open bathroom
          door.  Laura felt  a  sense  of  inadequacy.  Realising  how
          unhappy her lover must be she laid down and cried herself to

          For days Laura  worried  over  the problem. There was no one
          she could confide  in.  She knew that not one of her friends
          would help, or try to understand. It was Shaun who had given
          her back her life, the will to live and another chance.  One
          morning she went  alone to the office made an appointment to
          see a psychiatrist and took the remainder of the day off.

          Dr John Farrell  sat  at  his  desk,  his  chin  resting  on
          steepled hands, he  listened  to  Laura  Finch.   "  And you
          Laura? Do you know who you really are?"

          " I don't  like  men.  I  love my own gender kind. I suppose
          that makes me a - -Lesbian. A-female-homosexual."

          " Tell me more about Shaun Maclaren."

          " I suppose I don't really know a lot about her," Laura said
          thoughtfully, " she  stopped  me from becoming an alcoholic.
          She gives me  a  feeling of security, something I have never
          known before. I  know  that  I love her, that I have to help

          " What if  she were to change her gender?" the doctor asked,
          " would you  still  love her, as you say you do now? Are you
          prepared to tell her she is a transexual?"

          " Yes! Yes  I  am,"  Laura  said  tearfully,  "it's not just
          gratitude. I do  love  her.  All  I  want  is  for her to be

          " If you believe that all you want is her happiness then you
          must help her.   Perhaps  it  would help if in the beginning
          you understood the  condition  referred to as transexualism.
          There are many thoughts on the subject.

          Some researchers believe  they  have  identified  the factor
          that separates transexuals  from  so  called  normal people.
          They have discovered  something  called  H-Y  antigen. It is
          present  in  normal   male   skin   and  serum  tissue,  but
          significantly absent in  males who wish to change their sex.
          Transexual women have  a similar H-Y antigen, in people like
          Shaun it can  be  quite prominent.  The implication is, that
          the H-Y antigen is the component that determines

          to  which sex  future  the  embryo  belongs.   That  an  H-Y
          malfunction decides whether  some people become discontented
          with their so-called  biological  sex.  Some  people believe
          that   transexuals  are   individuals   with   psychological

          " And you  Dr  Farrell,"  Laura  interrupted,  " what do you
          really feel?"

          He looked at  her deeply, with a kindly understanding, as he
          pondered her all important question.

          " There are," he began, finally breaking the long silence, "
          thousands of closet  transexuals.   Many of whom have become
          misfits through gender  disorientation.   Neither,  society,
          the  law, medical  profession  or  the  established  church,
          understand,  or  acknowledge   that   transexualism   is  an
          undeserved misfortune.  Today  society  is  thinking  slowly
          about  it,  but   it   needs   to   accept  transexuals  and
          transvestites as individuals  not  freaks.  Please Laura, if
          you really love  Shaun,  do not allow her to become a closet
          transexual.  We have  many  terms  for  people  with  sexual
          identities  other than  those  of  the  hetrosexual  person.
          Transvestites, they have  a  social  problem. Transexuals, a
          gender problem.  Lesbians,  like yourself, a sex problem, if
          indeed the word  problem  is  appropriate.   In  my  opinion
          transexuals are aware  from  an  early  age  that  they  are
          different. At sexual  maturity  an automatic mechanism gives
          them  a desperate  desire  for  change.   Because  they  are
          different, they are  often  ridiculed, become loners, living
          miserable, sometimes unbearable  lives.  They  can't control
          the way they  feel, because really it is a mistake of birth.
          I believe all  of  us  should  think twice before we do them
          harm. In fact  I  would say Laura that our love should be as
          God's-inclusive-reaching out to all."

          " How can I tell her?"

          " Are you  asking  how  you  can  appease  Shaun  Maclaren's

          " I suppose I am really."

          " You have told me you employ her as a companion-chauffeuse.
          Buy her a  new uniform. A suit, shirts, tie, peaked cap. You
          know  the  sort  of  thing.  People  similar  to  Shaun  can
          sometimes be happy  in clothes of the opposite sex.  That is
          to say cross-dressing,  and they are of course transvestites
          too. Remember Laura,  that  cross-dressing  in  itself would
          satisfy  the  transvestite   who   is   content  with  their
          anatomical self, it  is no more than a partial, or temporary
          help to the transexual."

          " Do you  think  it would be an advantage to make sure Shaun
          really is a transexual, and not a transvestite?"

          " It certainly  would,"  Dr  Farrell  agreed,  " perhaps you
          could arrange a consultation. I know I can help."

          " If I were to suggest that she talk to you at this stage in
          our relationship I  know  it would be ruined. I am a selfish
          person I know. But I need her love, her support, the feeling
          of security which  only  Shaun  has  been able to give me. I
          want to be able to help her to be her true self. To be happy
          with me as I am with her. Please Dr Farrell, there has to be
          a way."

          With patience and sympathy the doctor listened to Laura.  He
          suggested she should talk to Shaun about her childhood.

          " There are  many  psychiatrists,  and  psycho-analysts  who
          believe that early  childhood  conditioning is the principle
          factor in the  plight  of  such  patients,"  he  told her, "
          especially those patients  who  feel  that  their  minds and
          souls are trapped  in  the wrong bodies, and it is here that
          the psychiatrist can  help.  There are many arguments Laura.
          Equally unfavourable childhood influences can be traced back
          in persons who have grown into normal, happy adulthood, with
          no discernible split  between  the  psychological,  and  the
          physical  sex.  However   there   is   ample  proof  that  a
          constitutional factor other than the events of childhood are
          at work.  Talk  to  Shaun about her early days Laura. Try to
          persuade her to consult a doctor. Remember if your companion
          is truly a  transexual, then she will only be happy when she
          is completely, totally accepted as a man."

          The tension was  like  an immense knot in the pit of Laura's
          stomach as she left the consulting rooms of Dr Farrell.  She
          knew she had to find out Shaun Maclaren's true feelings.

          To try and  persuade  her  to see a psychiatrist, even if it
          meant loosing her,  which  she  knew would shatter her life.
          For relief she  bought  herself  a  new  outfit  and Shaun a
          complete new wardrobe.

          Shaun was delighted  with  her  new clothes. The exquisitely
          cut pants suit  in  dove gray.  The chauffeur's uniform with
          the touch of  femininity  about  it, the long sleeved shirts
          which pleased Shaun most of all.

          In the early  hours, after their lovemaking, Laura pretended
          to be asleep.  Shaun  unaware  she was watching slipped into
          the bathroom as  usual  to seek her fulfilment. Laura, cried
          as a sadness  came  over  her,  it was more than a sadness a
          despair. She knew  now,  more than ever before something had
          to be done.

          " Darling Shaun,  will  you  marry  me?"  Laura asked a week
          after her visit  to  the psychiatrist.  Shaun was silent and
          gazed at her  with  a wide, startled look. Fascinated by her
          words, she climbed into the big round bed.

          " Marry!" she gasped.

          " Why not?  Unless  you  feel  that  our  love is not strong
          enough to pass the test of marriage?" " Of course it is. You
          know I love  you-ever  since  the  first  time  we  met. You
          remember.  But we are two-two females-if-if only I were a-"

          " There is  a way," Laura told her, holding her close as she
          kissed away the  tears.  " It can be arranged-in a Community
          Church. It is almost -it's similar. In fact one could say it
          is the same  as  the established church. They call it a Holy
          Union. I think  it sounds so much better-it really will make
          us complete."

          The Community Church  was  not a large place of worship, and
          as they walked  hand-in-hand  to  give notice. Shaun knew in
          her heart that  this  was  the  union for which she had been
          searching most of her life.

          The caretaker was  closing  the  church  and  looked at them
          suspiciously. When they  explained  that  they  were  to  be
          married, the old  lady  became  amicable allowing them to go
          inside.  The single  light  from  the  foyer  cast  enormous
          shadows as they  walked  down the aisle. It swallowed up the
          altar, the reading  desk,  the  pulpit the Ten Commandments,
          and the Lord's Prayer on either side.  Laura and Shaun knelt
          in front of  the  altar,  each deep in thought. Laura's hand
          crept into Shaun's as together they whispered.

          " For better  for  worse. For richer for poorer. In sickness
          and in health.  To  love  and  to  cherish. Till death us do

          There was a  lingering look of awe on their faces. A remnant
          of brightness, borne  only  by those on the Holy Mount. They
          knew in their hearts they were taking the right step.

          The ceremony was  held  three  Saturdays later.  A friend of
          Laura's was Matron-of-honour.   There  were  no bridesmaids.
          In their bedroom they helped each other dress. Shaun laughed
          as she looked  at  Luara  wearing only a veil, a skimpy lace
          bra and pink  panties. Her clothes were laid out on the bed,
          which Shaun thought  were  all  very practical.  She held up
          the calf-length silk  coat that could be worn as a coat or a
          dress. For the  wedding  Laura wore it over a strapless blue
          ballgown. Shaun wore her pants suit in dove gray.

          It was a  perfect  spring day. The fields were turning green
          with  the fresh  new  shoots  of  cane.  The  September  sky
          cloudless, but again there were clouds to mar Shaun's day.

          Concerned about the  behaviour  of  her sisters, Pauline and
          Jillian when she  married  Robert Cockran, Shaun decided not
          to invite anyone  in her family. Wanting to forget the past,
          to live only  for  the  future  she  didn't  even invite her
          cousin Maureen.

          A girl at  the  office wanting to surprise Laura, telephoned
          Mrs Finch inviting her to the wedding.

          " Did you  know  Luara's  getting  married on Saturday?" she

          The silence was  long and uncanny. The girl thought the line
          had gone dead.

          " To whom?" Mrs Finch asked, breaking the silence.

          " Shaun Maclaren.  At  the  Community Church. Please come. I
          know Laura will be delighted."

          " Is that the person who came down to see me?"

          " Yes Mrs Finch.  I believe she did- - when Laura was having
          a problem. She  asked  you  to  help.  But that's all in the
          past," the girl  added quickly. " Laura and Shaun don't know
          I've invited you.  I  wanted  it to be a lovely surprise. We
          all know how  much  Laura  loves  you.  It really would make
          their day."

          Another long silence.  " Will you come?" she asked unable to
          bear the suspense any longer.

          "Thank you for  telling  me," Mrs Finch said softly. Seconds
          later the line went dead.

          " Why would  anyone  tell  my  mother?"  Laura  asked, tears
          streaming down her cheeks

          " Why not?"  Shaun argued, " it would have been wonderful to
          have your mother's blessing.

          " Read this  then," Laura said angrily, " If I marry you she
          never wants to  see  me  again." Shaun read the telegram and
          threw it away in disgust.

          A crowning joy offset the bitter message.

          The  Verger  told   Laura   that  her  uncle  John  was  the
          officiating Minister.

          The  service charged  with  life  though  simple,  was  very
          solemn. The word  her  uncle  gave  them  as Laura and Shaun
          knelt holding hands  made them put their love for each other
          afresh into the  background  of  their  love  for  the Lord.
          There was no  denying  that  their  love for one another had
          been characterising and  colouring  their  lives  for a very
          long time.

          " But what  of  your love for him?" the Minister asked, " is
          your  thinking, your  planning,  your  behaviour,  your  own
          living coloured with  love  for  him?  Was  Laura  and Shaun
          making themselves ready?"  he  asked,  " as far as they were

          A comforting stillness  possessed  Laura  and  Shaun as they
          entered with a  deep  sincerity into the requirements of the
          Holy Union.

          Their two weeks  holiday on the coast calmed them. They came
          back to the apartment ready for anything. As they lay on the
          bed reminiscing Luara  decided it was time to tell Shaun her

          " Darling Shaun," she began, " you must know how much I love
          you. But this problem I have thrashed out in every way. I've
          reasoned it out,  prayed over it. Funked it, then longed for
          it to be  right.  It's going to be rough I know. But we will
          get nowhere. You  and  I  will  never be really, truly happy
          until we both take the plunge."

          " The Plunge!"  Shaun  screamed  in bewilderment, " what the
          hell are you talking about?"

          " The fact that you are a Transexual."

          " Transexual! How-?  How do you know? How can you tell. I've
          never said anything  to anyone. Not even to you. I love you,
          and you love  me- -the way we are. I'm happy for you. That's
          all I need. That's all that matters. But how do you know?"

          " I know  Shaun,  believe  me. It's in your eyes. In the way
          you make love.  The  way you are forced to satisfy yourself.
          In God's eyes  we  are married. You and I are as one. Please
          Shaun, help me to help you."

          " But you've  always  told me how much you hate, detest men.
          You know you  can't  bear  the thought of them touching you.
          How can I change? If I do, I would lose your love forever. I
          couldn't bear that.  Ours  is  the  only real love I've ever

          " Please Shaun  trust  me,"  Laura  begged, " I fell in love
          with you. Not  who  you  were,  who  you might become. Male-
          Female. I love  you  for yourself. I want you. I need you to
          be as happy  as  I am. I can't bear to watch you go into the
          bathroom the moment after we make love."

          Shaun dried her eyes and sat on the bed deep in thought.

          " How?" she  said  suddenly,  "  what  can  I  do apart from
          wearing men's clothing?"

          " You could  start  by  telling me about your early days. At
          the beginning, when you were at the Convent."

          " The Convent?  I don't know really, except that I preferred
          playing with boys.   Playing  their games.  I never did like
          dolls, or dressing  up. Girls that giggle always annoyed me.
          I suppose my  attitude  must  have upset the Nuns. They were
          forever beating me  with their punishment sticks. I've still
          got the scars."

          " Where?"

          " On my back."

          " That's what those marks are. I often wondered."

          " Being around girls, and older women always frightened me,"
          Shaun continued. " I tried hard at being a girl. When I grew
          older I hated  the changes in my body. Especially my breasts
          when they began  to develop.  Even now they still get in the
          way. A boy  grabbed them once, it hurt like hell. When I got
          my first period  it  was a terrible, frightening experience,
          all that mess.  I  hated it then. You know how much I detest
          them now.

          You can see  my  dilemma. While I could make a show of being
          female I could  still cherish the thought of being male.  In
          the beginning I  had  control of both instances, but I could
          not control my  body  turning into the shape of a female.  I
          thought that if  I were to bind my breasts up tight it might
          stop them getting  big, look at them now they're bigger than
          ever." Shaun told her how she had wanted to become a priest.
          When she was  in  the  Army,  the  inquiries  she made about
          getting into the  Ministry.  Of  her  love  for Maureen. The
          husband of a  few  hours  that  caused  her so much pain. Of
          Yvonne's letter that caused her mother's heart attack.

          " I've always  wanted to be a male," Shaun whispered.  " All
          my life, I lived-incomplete.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in
          a prison- -the  prison  of  my body. The prison of a society
          that does not  understand.  Until I can become as other men-
          -if ever I  can,  I'm  forced to live a lie. Only with you I
          can be my  true  self.  Physically  I  am a woman: mentally,
          emotionally I am a man.

          In the Army  I  almost  gave  up.  I was desperately unhappy
          while waiting for  my  discharge. I was convinced that I had
          no future. I  took  an overdose. I existed-waiting in misery
          for the moment  to  take leave of this earth. Maureen helped
          me get over  it.  I will always be grateful." Laura held her
          close as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

          " You won't  ever  have  to worry like that again," she told
          her, " we  can fight this problem together. I'll help you to
          become my one and only man."

          Laura explained that  she  had  been  to  see Dr Farrell and
          suggested she should talk to him.

          " He is  an understanding caring doctor. There are thousands
          like us. We're  lucky,  we're  married,  we have each other.
          There are so many who have no one."

          Shaun thought she  would  like  to see her own doctor first.
          She hadn't seen  him in years, but remembered him as a kind,
          understanding man, a  feeling  of being comfortable with him
          whenever she needed to discuss a problem.

          This time it  was different. His attitude, Shaun thought was
          sullen. It made her feel that she were some kind of horrible
          creature a being  he  did  not  care  to be in the same room
          with. Shaun cried when Laura asked about the consultation.

          " I've known  him  for  years.  He always understood. He was
          there for me when I had my vagus operation.  When I told him
          what I really  wanted to do, there was no loving gentle hand
          to guide me  as there had been in the past. It was more like
          a doubled-up fist.   Please Laura I need your help. Now that
          I have begun, I really want to become a man. Not a woman who
          wears men's clothes.  I don't want to be a closet transexual
          for the rest of my life." Laura telephoned Uncle John asking
          for his help,  and  if he would dine with them the following

          " Help! with your marriage?"

          " No!" Laura  replied  quickly,  "  it's  Shaun,  she  needs
          our-your help."

          The slim dark  suited figure of Uncle John sat opposite them
          at the dinner  table.  It  was obvious to him that they were
          happy, and he  wondered  what  could be causing the problem.
          During the meal Laura explained about their life, and slowly
          Shaun opened her heart to him, hoping he would understand.

          " I only  ever  remember  seeing  you  once  when I was very
          young," Laura told him when Shaun had finished, " I remember
          mother crying and  you  with  your arms around her trying to
          comfort her."

          " That was  a long time ago. I came home on leave to help my
          sister -your mother.  It was after your father walked out on

          " You were in the Army," Shaun observed.

          " Yes! Is it that obvious?"

          " It's that gentle, firm command in your voice."

          " When I was young," Uncle John continued, " I was keen only
          on one thing  the  Army.  After  fourteen years of service I
          took my discharge.  I  came home and married. As I believed,
          happily, wisely, but  I  left  out God. That side, I thought
          would grow on  us,  as  we matured, settled down. I attended
          church regularly, hoping God would forgive me.

          My wife Joan  misunderstood.  Eventually we divorced. It was
          then that I  took  up  studies  at  the Theological college.
          Years later I  was  ordained. I joined the Community Church,
          feeling the need  to  serve  God and those people within the
          Gay community.

          " Are you transexual?" Laura asked.

          " Yes!" John answered unashamedly.  " I didn't realize I was
          until years later.   Although  looking back there was always
          that  certain  feeling,   that  special  something.   I,  as
          obviously you do  Shaun  suffer  a  physical handicap, not a
          psychological one.  I  too  have  special needs.  Needs that
          are not met  because of sexual orientation within the social
          structure.  The Community Church has been continuous in it's
          support. I used to be a closet transexual.  With the help of
          the  church  all  that  has  changed.  I  have  found  love,
          acceptance, and I know God has called me into the Fellowship
          for a definite  purpose.   I  dare not look back. With God's
          love in my  heart I have been able to forgive those who made
          cruel remarks. Remarks made out of ignorance rather than the
          desire to be hurtful. Nevertheless the remarks always hurt.

          In the Community Church no one is excluded from our love and
          understanding and just  as God loves and understands all, so
          must we. I  know  the  doctor who you thought would help and
          guide you, drove  you  away,  and that is very difficult for
          you to accept.  Remember  Shaun, many of us have been called
          upon to make  sacrifices.   Many  more  within the Community
          Church Fellowship will be persecuted, because God loves all,
          and that revelation from God sounds too radical for many. We
          have to end oppression by exposing ignorance for what it is.
          Of course there will be times when you will be tempted, as I
          have been to  retreat  back,  into  the  proverbial  closet.
          Resist the temptation  Shaun.  Be  who  you want to be. With
          Laura's help I  know you will find your true self.  Remember
          Shaun, for the uneducated there are only two sexes. A person
          is either male  or  female-Adam  - -or Eve. The educated and
          the enlightened realise  that every Eve contains elements of
          Adam, and in  every  Adam  there  are traces of Eve.  We all
          have a freedom, the right to love and make love."

          " Are you having sex-reassignment surgery?" Laura asked.

          " In a few months time in Cairo."

          " Your name? You'll have to change it."

          " I've already  made arrangements- -by deed poll.  You Shaun
          could keep yours.  I  had  to change mine, to- -Nicole, some
          will call me Nicky. I like Nicole."

          Shaun stared at  him  for  a  moment,  wondering  why he was
          wearing a suit.

          " If you  are  so  assured of your acceptance as a member of
          the opposite sex, why are you dressed in men's clothing?"

          " For me  this  is the very last time I will ever dress this

          " Is it  your  way  of  telling  us  you are still not quite
          sure?" Laura looked at Shaun, aghast.

          " Not at  all Shaun.  I simply felt that if wore the clothes
          I  love  to   wear   it  might  cause  you  and  Laura  some

          " Does cross-dressing help?"

          " In the  beginning  Shaun,  yes.  But when a the conversion
          operation became an  all  consuming urge, cross-dressing was
          as much help  as an asprin is for a- -brain tumour headache.
          As I told  you  this is the last time I will ever wear these
          clothes. It is only a shirt, trousers and a jacket. The rest
          is clothing I want to wear.  As a pre-operative patient I am
          going  through  some  physical  changes,  especially  breast
          development, and I  do find great emotional relief by living
          completely as a woman."

          " Do you think cross-dressing will help me?" Shaun asked.

          " I think it could, providing you do not loose sight of your
          main  objective.  Don't  ever  become  as  I  did  a  closet
          transexual.  And here  Shaun  I  cannot  emphasize  strongly
          enough, that you  should never be pushed into having surgery
          before you are  ready,  and  are  assured  of some degree of
          acceptance as a member of the opposite sex."

          " Are you  accepted  as  a  woman  within the church?" Shaun

          " Yes, and  I  might  add the atmosphere is one of approval,
          understanding,  encouragement.  Outside  the  church  it  is
          different.  There  is   no   precedented   way  to  treat  a
          transexual. It becomes  a  sort  of fear of the unknown. But
          where my back  ground is unknown everyone knows how to treat

          "  Can  you   help   us-  -Shaun  with  a  doctor  who  will

          "  Of course  Laura.  That  is  what  the  Community  Church
          Fellowship is all about, helping, counselling.  We have a Dr
          Kerry Mitchell. She  will  help. Start Shaun off-as it were.
          Going from male to female is, by comparison reasonably easy.
          Going from female  to  male,  I  imagine  would be much more
          difficult.   It  is   going   to  be  hard  for  you  Shaun,
          emotionally and physically.  With  Laura's  help  I know you
          will succeed. I  know  you  will  find the happiness you are
          looking for. Remember The Community Church and Fellowship is
          there to help."