Friday, August 28, 2009


Ducks, I beat up on the NY Times sometimes. OK, quite a bit! Sometimes not even on my own blog! But today I found something I actually liked there. (Besides Paul Krugman. Thank you, Paul, just for being you.)

It's from their photo/multimedia series, One in Eight Million, about interesting New Yorkers. Today's spot, The Night Keeper, is about a transgendered woman living in Brooklyn:

For nearly 30 years, Pepper has lived in the same building in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She used to hustle and shiplift, snagging designer clothing to flaunt at drag balls. "I can be very dangerous," she explained, "it depends on how far you push me." Once, a man hit her in the face with a beer bottle, breaking her nose and cutting her cheek. "That devastated me for a long time," she said. Pepper stopped taking hormones four years ago because they were making her sick; now she spends nights cooking, cleaning, talking to her mother on the telephone and "looking out for her building."
It's a fascinating piece, evocatively photographed by Todd Heisler, especially as Pepper is a living link to New York's more frentic drag heyday, when the lines between transgender and gay, drag and transitioning, were much blurrier.

And it's fantastic to have a piece on a transgendered person who isn't white, middle-class, and post-operative for once.

There are criticisms I suppose I could make, like how an element of the "sad life" meme creeps into the story (poor Pepper is all alone because she is trans), but in my opinion they are drowned out by her remarkable strength and will to survive and go on, head high.

So go read it...if for no other reason than ghu knows how long it will be before I send you back to the Times.

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