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By Jan Morris

The author Jan Morris has led a unprecedented lifestyles. possibly her so much awesome paintings is that this sincere account of her ten-year transition from guy to girl - its pains and joys, its frustrations and discoveries.

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Otto stuttered slightly, a n d was very brave: h e h a d w o n a Military Cross for early exploits in flail tanks, devices which, daemonically advancing t h r o u g h minefields whirling chains of steel in front of t h e m , cleared a p a t h for the a r m o u r a n d infantry behind. H e was a small, slight m a n w h o walked in a stooped lopsided way, as t h o u g h there were some maladjust­ m e n t of his locomotion, a n d his expression was above all quiz­ zical. I have a picture of h i m before m e now, in a p h o t o g r a p h of 9th Lancer officers taken on M a y 6th, 1945, the last day of their long war: a m o n g all those t a n n e d a n d vigorous English faces, smiling in success, his is thrust out pugnaciously, char­ acteristically half in shadow, a n d his shoulders are h u n c h e d as t h o u g h part-way t h r o u g h a shrug.

I n fact I was dark with indecision and anxiety. Sometimes I considered suicide, or to be more accurate, h o p e d that some unforseen and pain­ less accident would do it for m e , gently wiping the slate clean. A n d once in desperation I raised with a L o n d o n doctor the possibility of immediate treatment by female h o r m o n e s . I thought it might calm my conflicts by feminizing my b o d y to some degree without the finality of surgery—a half-way solu­ tion, I thought, better than nothing if less t h a n enough.

B u t it all seemed plain e n o u g h to m e . I was b o r n with the wrong body, being feminine b y gender b u t male b y sex, and I could achieve completeness only w h e n the one was adjusted to the other. I 21 have thought about it for four decades since t h e n , and t h o u g h I know n o w that such an absolute fulfilment can never b e achieved—for n o m a n ever b e c a m e a mother, even miraculously—still I have reached n o other conclusion. 22 4 The colonel's greeting—as to soldiering—impostor in the mess— Otto—non-persons I was still only a boy, still unformed, w h e n walking into the colonel's tent o n the banks of the Tagliamento river in Venezia Giulia, I found the c o m m a n d i n g officer of the 9th Q u e e n ' s Royal Lancers rising to his feet to greet m e .

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