Friday, August 14, 2009

Sally Sweet, the Transvestite

Re: “Four to Score” by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie goes to meet Salvatore (Sally) Sweet in the hopes that he can decipher the message she has from Maxine Nowicki.

He is a lead guitar player for a group called the Lovelies. He says when he was younger, he and Spock from Star Trek used to send messages to each other in code every day. (No further explanation is given so we are left to use our imaginations about that one!) In any event, it is very easy for him to figure out the message.

Sally, as he likes to be called, is a transvestite. So how many of us have had the chance to meet someone like him? Not many, I’d gather. Although I have known a transsexual. Here's the story:

Many, many years ago I joined a dating service. They matched me with a guy named “John”, whom I briefly dated. John had all these rules about what he wanted out of a relationship (like you couldn’t want to own a house, etc). Plus I thought he was sort of a cold fish - he didn’t like holding hands or kissing. He seemed to be confused about life. Later the dating service told me they hooked him up with just about all the women registered with the agency and none of them had worked out for him.

So several years later I picked up our local newspaper and was stunned to read a feature story on “Mary”. She used to be “John” - yep, it was the guy I dated! I thought the face looked familiar!

At the time the article was written, Mary worked at a local social service agency. The story detailed Mary’s decision to change from John and mentioned enough detail about his/her life that I knew it was the guy I dated all those years ago.

Was I freaked out? Yes! I try not to pass judgement because I believe that is supposed to be left to a higher power. Plus my parents taught me to treat people fairly. Still, I must admit I don’t understand.

In any event I’m glad that John/Mary got his/her life straightened out and hope she is happy now.

From the dictionary:
Transvestite: “a person and especially a male who adopts the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite sex.”

Transsexual: “a person who strongly identifies with the opposite sex and may seek to live as a member of this sex especially by undergoing surgery and hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance.”

Transgender: “of, relating to, or being a person who identifies with a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person's sex at birth.”


(Sorry if this post offends anyone. I just wanted to share this strange story.)


Book Bird Dog said...

Glad to read your post! Transgender themes are appearing more and more in books and I am still not sure how to approach readers.

I just reviewed a mystery novel, Bangkok Dragons: Cape Cod Tears and did not refer to the transvestite characters in the novel, though one of the books in the same series was a nominee for the Lambda award. You can read the comments. I changed the post but still don't know if I handled it correctly for the readers!


LadyPI said...

Hi, thanks for your comment!

I designed my blog in part so that I could talk about reactions I have to the characters. Since Janet Evanovich introduced the Sally Sweet character, I was getting confused by what transvestite, transgender & transsexual meant. So I looked it up. That kind of brought back the memories about the guy I dated and how he changed to a woman. I'm sure that was not an easy decision for him to make.

I'm not sure what kind of a reaction I will get from this post. Some people may be offended, and that is their choice.

I am heterosexual but I have friends who are gay and lesbian. I also have friends who are African-American, Asian-American, Native-American, Hindu & Muslim.

My attitude is they are just people like the rest of us and, like I said, it's not my place to judge anyone. My motto is 'live and let live'.

OK, I'm coming down from my soap-box now!


Librarian said...

Hello LadyPI, I have become a follower of your blog yesterday, and how I found your blog in the first place was when I was trying to find some info about Leslie Meier, whose Lucy-Stone-series I have recently stumbled upon by chance. So, I found your thoughts about her books quite interesting.

Have you ever come across M.C. Beaton (real name Marion Chesney) and her "Agatha Raisin" series? I highly recommend them - for me, these are the epitomes of the whole "Cosy Mystery" genre.

And now, to get on topic with your posting about Sally Sweet; I do not know much about transsexuality, transgenderness and related topics, but it touches on the subject of Hermaphrodites. Jeffrey Eugenides' book "Middlesex" is one I enjoyed reading (it has nothing to do with mystery) and which taught me quite a few things I had not known before.

LadyPI said...

Hi Librarian - Thanks for following my blog. I am also following yours now too!

I really want to like Lucy Stone, but I must admit the last book I read kind of annoyed me. I have one more Lucy Stone book left to read and someday I'd like to re-read the series from the beginning.

Thank you for the recommendation of the Agatha Raisin series. I've heard of M.C. Beaton but have not read any of her books.

There are so many great female-sleuths out there - and for that matter, male-sleuths too!