The TranzCon Series

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ON A HOT SUMMER NIGHT


On a hot summer night when Marvin Lee Aday (who was later to find fame using the name “Meatloaf”) was only three years old, a human sperm entered an egg. It was the first stage in the creation of a new life. For a few weeks the cluster of cells grew according to the standard unisex/female pattern until the message carried by the sperm kicked in and the embryo switched over to development as a male. In the March of the following year I was born.


Many year later I wondered what might have happened if the sperm that had entered my mother’s egg had carried a female message. Would the resulting child have been me, a very different me? Or would it have been someone else? An entirely different person.


Let’s assume for a moment that the resulting female child had actually been me. How would that simple “slip of the sperm” have affected my life? For a start, let’s think of my career - a calling that was so much more than just a job. Looking back on those times and the path that lead me into my profession, I was born to be an engineer. Or at least the male version of me was born to be an engineer because the female equivalent wouldn’t have even got her painted toe-nailed foot in the door. Engineering? It was one of the jobs the girls of that era just didn’t do.


So what would I have done? Followed in my mother’s footsteps to be a secretary while her equally able brothers both advanced to managerial positions? On the other hand I might have married a successful man and been ecstatically happy as the mother of the regulation two point two children.


So, was I lucky or unlucky to have been born male? Well, in an era when my home nation hasn’t been involved in any major wars (which require the males of the population to go out onto the battlefield and get their heads blown off) I can see many advantage in being male. On the other hand, most of the women I’ve known have been very happy to be female. They wouldn’t choose to swap for a (real) male body even if it was possible. In fact, when you consider the people who’ve “converted” their bodies from one gender to the other, the vast majority of re-assignments have been from male to female. So, there must be something good about being female.  But I’ll tell you this, Jon Chandler is my creation so it’s not surprising we’ve got something in common, we’re male and we like it that way (or in Jon’s case, the past tense of the verb might be more accurate).


Reincarnation

In my time on Earth I’ve believed in many things. Some I still hold as true - some I’ve changed my mind about. One of them was reincarnation. The idea is that we all have immortal souls and we pass through thousands of lives, one after the other. Hindus took it for granted long before Jesus promised Christians a life after death. But that just opens up another argument. As sentient beings, do we always re-incarnate as sentient beings? Or are we just as likely to come back as something lower down the evolutionary scale, like a slug for example (apologies to anyone politically correct enough to consider such a derogatory remark to be “animalist”).


Lets assume for a moment that having ascended to a level of sentience, we always reincarnate as sentient beings (with two arms and two legs here on Earth, and different configurations elsewhere in the universe). Are our immortal souls gender mobile, or are they fixed in one gender?


For example, if St Peter had come along on that steamy summer night to usher me into my new body, would he have had to apologise and tell me: “Sorry person who was supposed to have been Dave, there’s been a bit of a cock-up on the fertilisation front (there’s a pun in there if you look hard enough), the new life God had intended for you to take over has turned out to be a girl so we’ve had to find you another body”. And then I find myself being born as the new son of a black lady in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso since 1984) who dies of an easily preventable childhood illness before his 5th birthday (and gets another go at the reincarnation game).


Quite frankly, I don’t believe in reincarnation any more. These days I’m more along the lines of “from dust we came, to dust we return”. Inside our mother’s womb a single cell splits to become two. Two split to become four. Eventually the cells begin to specialise, they come together to create an embryo. Some of those cells form the brain, they grow in number and make increasingly complex neural connections until the new infant at some stage becomes self aware. How it came to be that one of those clusters of cells decided it was ME is far beyond my knowledge. Perhaps that’s why I still believe in God.


Is Gender a Physical or a Mental Thing?

Equally we could ask “Is gender determined by nature, or by nurture?”


Years ago there was a little boy whose parents decided to have male genital mutilation (circumcision) inflicted on him. Something went wrong with the procedure and a few days later his penis shrivelled up and dropped off. A well-meaning doctor decided that the best course of action was to do some reconstructive surgery and put the unfortunate infant on a life-long course of female hormones and bring him/her up as an infertile girl/woman. Despite the buy-in of the parents, the child was never convinced that HE was a GIRL. Somehow, despite HIS apparently female body, the clothes HE was given to wear and the toys HE was given to play with, HE knew deep inside HE wasn’t a girl. Years later he committed suicide.


These days we know better. It isn’t just the body which develops along male or female lines while it’s still in the womb, the brain is also affected. The mind of a new-born infant has already progressed many miles along the road of being one gender or the other before the day it is born. Once in the outside world many stimuli will be experienced to reinforce and support the development of the new arrival, but the inherent characteristic will already have been established. Both nature and nurture make up the gender identity of a child, but nurture can only reinforce the message hard-wired into the brain. The inherent nature of the child’s gender cannot be over-ridden.


So How Does This All Fit In With Jon Chandler’s Situation?

Female 22, is of course an interesting story in its own right, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a study into the mixing of a mind from a person of one gender with a body of the other. The neural matrix of the host’s brain is pre-programmed to think along female lines while the temporarily resident life-force is absolutely sure of being male.


How do these chalk and cheese ingredients co-exist?


Something to consider it that it isn’t just transgender swaps which experience problems. The mixture of the resident mind with any incoming life-force, regardless of gender, creates a mismatch that can only be tolerated in the short term. In the early days of a TranzCon transfer, the incoming life-force is strong and it overwhelms the message given by the physical brain. But as time progresses, the remnants of the resident mind grow stronger and fight to regain the territory where they once reigned supreme. The result is that the imposed life-force begins to suffer psychotic problems and is eventually driven to madness (a madness that sometimes remains even if the mind returns to its own body). For this reason the time duration of a TranzCon transfer is strictly limited.


There is however, no reason why a short term transfer into a body of the opposite gender cannot be just as successful as a transfer into a body of the traveller’s own gender. There are physical differences, of course, but if all a traveller needs to do is borrow a pair of arms, legs, eyes and ears, with a digestive system thrown in for good measure, why should the associated reproductive system be of any consequence if it isn’t actually used? After all, the TranzCon contract strictly forbids any use of the rented host body for sexual purposes.


So we have Jon, conceived as a male, then raised as a boy who grew into a man. All through his life, his sexual orientation has been entirely straight male. In no particular order he’s admired women, loved them, and used them. Then we have Jana - as female as Jon is male. And yet, for the most part, the problems Jon experiences are not associated with his occupancy of a female body and if the transfer had been for just the four or five days Jon had expected it would have been a walk in the park.


Unfortunately for Jon his residence in Jana’s body goes on for very much longer than either of the travellers had expected. Why doesn’t he go mad? Well, he most certainly feels the effects of Jana’s body fighting back, and yet he learns to live with it. Perhaps there are some combinations of mind and body that somehow overcome the psychotic problems?


Or could there be another explanation? There is, but you have to read the books to find out.