For the first time he told his wife that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. She was at first sympathetic and helped him to cross-dress, but quickly segued to divorce, and, once she found another rich man to keep her, ousted Sam from the family home, and obtained injunctions to keep him from seeing the children. In violation of those injunctions he was arrested and served a few months in HMP Wormwood Scrubs.
During a subsequent period of depression and living at the Ealing YMCA, he started going to gay and trans clubs and was told how great it was to be a woman. He applied through his doctor to be evaluated by the Gender Identity Clinic at the Charing Cross Hospital. However the wait would be over a year, and if he were to become a woman he needed money.
Through his old contacts he was able to get restarted as a property refurbisher. In the course of that work he met an Israeli divorcee, and they became both business partners and spouses. However that was short lived, and a second divorce ensued.
He then contacted Dr Russell Reid and was accepted as a private transsexual patient.
"First of all, I thought I would do my nose to make it look more feminine. I had eye correction surgery to get rid of my glasses. Then I did my teeth to give me a better smile and I had electrolysis all round my face to remove the masculine beard. I had my Adam's apple removed and my vocal chords tightened. I had breast implants, all before the sex change surgery to remodel my genitalia".
She had not seen her family for 10 years. She contacted them and, because of the situation in Iraq, they arranged to meet in Amman, Jordan. They did not know about her change until they actually met at Amman airport, but they did accept her.
Within four years he regretted the mistake, as he missed being one of the boys talking football, business and girls.
"In fact, I found being a woman rather shallow and limiting. So much depends on your appearance, at the expense of everything else. I wasn't interested in shopping. My female friends would spend hours shopping for clothes, trying on different outfits. But having been a man I knew exactly what would suit me and appeal to men. I could walk into a shop and be out again in five minutes with the right dress. Nor have I ever been interested in celebrity magazines or the things that interest other women, but when I tried to talk to men about blokey things they didn't take me seriously.”
"After what I've been through, I now think that sex-change operations shouldn't be allowed. They should be banned. We live today in a consumerist society where we all believe we can have everything we want, but too much choice can be a dangerous thing."
However when Russell Reid was found guilty of misconduct by the General Medical Council, Kane was quoted in the Guardian:
"I think generally he [Dr Reid] is a kind-hearted doctor and he didn't really mean to be malicious to the patient. Most of the patients came here to support him because of this quality in him. He is a caring, almost father-figure."
Charles prospered again in the property market, and by 2010 was living in a £2.6 million property in west London, and had recently announced his engagement to a 28-year-old woman, Victoria. His son, then 25, reconciled with his father. Charles completed a novel, and was seeking funding for a
“In many ways I see myself a victim of the medical profession. Even with the glamour of Samantha Kane and the £100,000 I spent on myself, I had people shouting abuse at me and builders throwing stones at me from rooftops.”Charles was featured in 2004 in “Make me a man again” in the BBC documentary series One Life directed by Todd Austin. A reviewer in the Guardian wrote:
“Austin’s film managed to make Charles a likeable creature and by the end I was rooting for him. Austin allowed Charles the dignity of privacy and that, in TV-land, is a rare and precious commodity.”
In March 2017, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Kane announced a return to being a woman, and a change of name to Sam Kane,
"The reversal operation did not return me to the man I once was, just an approximation. With the exception of Victoria, I was rejected by both men and women. The original surgery was effectively irreversible. You can’t turn back into a man because whatever defines the male has been completely removed, so how can you bring it back?
‘I discovered to my detriment that there is only so far medical science can go. As Charles, I still sometimes wanted to wear a blouse or a pretty ring, and wear my hair long. Having become Samantha, I should have stayed Samantha. When I told Victoria how I was feeling, it effectively ended the relationship. She said she preferred men and did not want to live with a woman, but we are still friends."
In 2018 she published the novel that she had been working on. Called Mohammed and Susan, the plot is:
“Susan Green is an Iraqi British architect and the only witness to a fatal accident on a building site in West London. A suspicious police detective discovers a book written by Susan, revealing huge secrets about her life and narrating a story of love, taboos, desire and murder.”
By 2022 Samantha had a considerable property portfolio in London. She spotted an article about the sale of Carbisdale Castle in Ayrshire. This intrigued her:
"So I took a last-minute flight to Inverness and made my first trip to
that far north in the Highlands”. The
castle had been built during the first world war for Mary Caroline,
Duchess of Sutherland. In 1933 it was purchased by a Scots-Norwegian
millionaire, and in 1945 it was donated to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association. By the 2010s it needed extensive renovations, and the SYHA attempted to sell it in 2014 because of the cost. It was purchased by a
corporation in 2016, but their plans fell through, and they sold it to Samantha
Kane. She is using her London property
portfolio to finance further renovations, and is now known as Lady Carbisdale.
*Not the romance novelist, Samantha Kane, nor Charles Kane the protagonist in Citizen Kane, 1941, nor the character in Tomb Raider, nor the boxer, nor the President of One Laptop Per Child.
- Samantha Kane edited by Sarah Harding. Two-Tiered Existence. London: Writers and Artists. 130 pp. 1998. Review.
- Jack O’Sullivan. “Cold Call: Jack O'Sullivan rings Samantha Kane”. The Guardian, 24 Oct 1998. Online.
- Todd Austin (dir) One Life: Make me a Man Again. UK BBC1 19 Oct 2004.
- David Batty. “Sex-change patient complains to GMC “. The Guardian, 18 Feb 2004. Online.
- Helen Weathers. “A British tycoon and father of two has been a man and a woman ... and a man again ... and knows which sex he'd rather be”. Daily Mail, June 14, 2008. Online.
- Helen Weathers. “A VERY peculiar engagement: Charles had a sex change - then hated being Samantha so became a man again. Now he's getting married. So is his fiancée barmy, brave... or just in love?”. Daily Mail, 7th Dec 2010. Online
- "My (Extra) Ordinary Family: My Kid is Transgender". Primetime Nightline. US ABC 6 August 31, 2011. Review.
- Helen Weathers. "The top London lawyer who's changed gender THREE times: Extraordinary tale of transgender career woman, 57, who's spent more than £100,000 switching sex - and why she believes life's easier for men than women". The Daily Mail, 21 March 2017. Online.
- Samantha Kane. Mohammed and Susan. Diversity Books, 2018. Blurb.
- Helen Weathers. “Samantha changed gender three times and is 'happier than ever' in her new Highland castle home”. The Daily Mail, 3 Oct 2022. Online.
- Lara Wildenberg. “Dream comes true for castle’s new lady”. The Times, October 05 2022. Online.
- Steven McKenzie. 'I booked a last-minute flight and bought a castle'. BBC News, 26 Aug 2023. Online.
I also had the surgery only six months after first meeting Russell Reid, but unlike
Hashimi/Kane I had by that point been on female hormones for some years, was living full-time as female and working as female.
Why is it that many of those who change back, then feel that they want to ban the operation for everyone?