jt leroy WritingFilmBandPressEventsJournalFansReading GuidesMarketFunContact

Dear JT

Letters of support from fans and friends

From: Kevin Lenkel kevinlenkel@gmail.com
To: le_terminator22@hotmail.com
Subject: JT LeRoy
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 05:12:50 -0500

JT - I hope you get the time to read this. I know you must get hundreds of fan appreciation e-mails every day, and mine is likely to be no different from the rest. You see, when I stumbled upon your work through a friend, it engrossed me and hit me on a personal level that no other literature has ever been able to do. I read Sarah and The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things three times each and studied each word as if they were notes given by a teacher for a test we were going to be given in the near future. These characters were real to me because I had known the same kind of people growing up, and each of them left a lasting impression on me. It was like flipping through a photo album of snapshots I had taken of the people I hated, presented to me by the same scared little boy I was at that time. Thankfully, I used those people as examples for what never to become and I haven't. It appears as though you've also turned negatives into positives, and did it in a way that could inspire other story tellers to share with the world their stories, no matter how dark and tormented they may be. This is extremely admirable, considering the fact that I've always said there are a million great story tellers in the world who have just never found the inspiration to use their talents.
I then did some research on the internet and read all the conspiracy theories about you. It amazed me that so many people who are obviously intelligent haven't dug as deep as they claim they have. Whether or not you are a hoax, the pain expressed in your novels comes from somewhere very real in your past. There may be events that have been made up in order to amplify the overall points and situations you have personally gone through. Making fact and fiction one in itself and being able to express feelings you've had from your past fictitiously. Despite the wigs, sunglasses, masks and make up, this still makes your stories very real and personal no matter what know it all journalist has to say. If JT LeRoy in fact doesn't exist, the people behind the masks deserve all the credit in the world for using their own life experiences in a way that offer hope to so many people. You have the fortunate gift to inspire great story tellers who are not yet conscious of their talents, and provide them the extra push they need to make their own negatives into positives. This is universal, something a heart communicates with another, that goes beyond who you are.
It's inspired me to write about my own experiences and since I've began, I've been becoming a better person and I'm hopeful that I will get my novel published. If not, at least I have my mental pictures down in writing that provide more depth than a simple photo album ever could. For that, I will always have reassurance that I won't forget who I am, where I came from, and what made me proud to be the person I am today. I have you to thank for that, along with many other great authors and poets, and I admire you greatly. I hope I can get some sort of reply, but if not, I hope you appreciate the gratitude.

Subject:Stephen Beachy's article

Dear JT: I find it rather hard to believe that in Mr. Beachy's dealings with the prostitute's on Polk Street he never met anyone with a dissociative disorder. His ramblings about not being able to understand the presentation of someone who is on the one hand shy and on the other hand talented indicate no knowledge of how anyone survives an abusive childhood. I am not sure where he was on Polk Street but whenever I have even walked up and down the street I have been able to recognize people who clearly have dissociative disorders. Perhaps he wasn't on the same Polk Street at all? His theories are if you aren't babbling in a locked ward you didn't have a traumatic childhood. If your history isn't congruent with what he insists are the facts then its all "made up". Isn't that what every rape survivor, child abuse survivor and trauma victim deals with day in, day out?
I wonder how Beachy managed to persuade street hustlers to write if he could not relate to them in their "multiple identities" (the majority had to acquire them as a survival technique not a marketing idea) edit stories, relate to, or even understand any child prostitute if he didn't have a remote idea what dissociation is, how the phenomenon presents itself and how much back breaking, mind numbing, constant work it is to go beyond it.
Clearly J T. LeRoy's talents in wriitng and self promotion are just an outgrowth of the incredible work it was for him to simply survive the unspeakable ordeals of his childhood . But then that wouldn't have occured to someone as concrete minded as Stephen Beachy who cannot conceive that someone can be both wounded and talented too.

posted by JT leRoy at 9:35 AM
Sunday, October 23, 2005

Letters to JT & editors

Hey JT,
If folks believe the content of an article that has that great arbiter of kindness and justice towards children, Dennis "when-I-see-someone-I-want-to-have-sex-with-and-murder*" Cooper, he with the blog filled with photos of children being suffocated with saran wrap, pulled from sites called "boyrape", saying that he now fears that the people who have been abused and have found solace in JT's work will be hurt, I suppose that is their perogative. Just makes me a little uneasy that I share part of a planet with them.
I, for one (and I hope that I am the majority and that folks are telling you this), find his duplicitous talk disingenous and disgusting.
*from a video on http://www.vpro.nl/programma/ram/afleveringen/17939577/items/17019455/

Sent:Sunday,October16, 2005 5:47AM
To:"'JT LeRoy'"
Subject:RE: vanja says hi

Your phone and email must be burning up, my dear.
I just wanted to send my hello and support.
And to say that I hope you can use this media blitz -- and obvious distraction from your writing -- for something good in the end.
I think it is WONDERFUL what a nerve you have struck. That is what made Beachy's article even possible. (He owes you a great debt for his newfound fame).
So I have to say this: YOUR WRITING IS IT. None of this would be happening if the writing were merely mediocre. Remember this during these days. Your stories are lovely, raw, powerful, and they touch people.
In childhood, we are always entranced by the fantasy story -- of being adopted, of having magical powers, and we love to sit on that "is it really possible" fence between truth and fiction. We are not so different as adults, hence the fascination of your surrounding your identity. On that note, reading recommendation for you and your son -- "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" by Raoul Dahl. It's tough to find, but it is wonderful. A fictional children's story in which the narrator continues to reassure the reader that, although unbelievable, this really really happened."
Oh, JT! You - lover of Chupa pops, of Mary G, of Weezer et al, I hope you post a beautiful response to what is happening right now and I hope you see it for what it is --- a testament to how important your voice AS A WRITER has become.

Dear Editors:
As an admirer of JT LeRoy's writing, I was greatly saddened by the lame and silly article on him in your October 17 issue. It offered no insight into what actually makes LeRoy interesting -- namely, his writing -- and instead is merely a further distortion of the mythology surrounding him. That it's also an attack piece is no surprise, as such reporting typically needs to generate some kind of controversy. That it found attackers who were once LeRoy's supporters is sad, but equally unsurprising: The worshipful street kid became the more successful writer, artistically and commercially, so of course the knives have come out.
What's even sadder, however, is the possibility that some readers may be taken in by the article's absurd speculations ("Speedie and Astor [...] are him"), meaningless self-indulgences ("it felt to me that I was speaking to Laura"), anonymous slanders ("megalomaniac"), and flat-out obtuseness ("I've never come across a single detail in LeRoy's work that evoked a world I do know").
The article asks how a homeless kid with no education could produce LeRoy's books, and ignores the answer that's on every page: The kid is gifted. Worse, it questions how someone as painfully shy as LeRoy could work as a prostitute, which betrays a deep ignorance of an abused child's self-defense mechanisms. At twelve, he can turn a trick and momentarily feel empowered by being the object of desire; but as the years of exploitation go on, that child implodes into a psychotic, non-functional adolescent. Lengthy medical treatment pulled LeRoy back from the brink, and even healed him enough so he can poke his head into the world now and then, and acknowledge the love and admiration his writing has earned. Yet instead of taking joy in his survival, the article denigrates LeRoy as a self-promoter, despite his obvious resistance to the limelight. Such a take on him is simply a projection -- self-promotion is the basis of all glossy magazines, and this sort of puff journalism can only be about itself, not whatever artist it may claim is its subject.
In case NEW YORK magazine has any serious interest in JT LeRoy, here's something you can print about him which is true: If there are still people 100 years from now and they can still read books, their reading list will include SARAH and THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS.
N. Gagne

To Whom it May Concern:
I was very disappointed that, in the hour and a half that I talked to both the editor of this piece and the "fact-checker" (now there's a loose term), all of the proof that I gave of the reality of JT LeRoy as the author of his own writing (including anecdotes that we had discussed both on the phone and in person, as well as times that he has written/edited and revised his work with me) did not show up. Rather, a phrase that I had offered that expressed my delight that the members of JT's household had found each other and created a loving supportive family of depth and closeness was used to support a hatchet job that is parading as an expose.
But, considering that the author of this piece, Stephen Beachy, who is, after all, a fiction writer himself-- never interviewed any of the folks of note in this article but instead relied on hearsay, second hand gossip and the like, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Beachy cites that JT has raised money for the McAuley Institute. Was the whole hospital in on the "hoax"? Would a psychologist of any stature, let alone that of Dr. Owens, speak to a reporter about a client? This is such a basic tenet of client-doctor confidentiality, it beggers the imagination that any serious publication would insinuate that any doctor refusing to discuss his patient is somehow evidence of a hoax or cover-up.
As PT Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute" and anyone who would believe this article further proves that. Mr. Beachy, this way to the egress.
Nancy Murdock
JT LeRoy's assistant

Dear Editor
A figment of my own imagination?
I read the article in Gawker yesterday, and wanted to send a note back to you.
You see, I have known JT Leroy for five years now, starting when I sent him an e-mail after reading Sarah. Much to my surprise he wrote me back, and since then we have written lots of e-mails, he have sent me gifts, not big, flashy stuff, but small, well thougth out things likea book he just had read that he thought I would have interest in, I have met him and spent two days with him in Stockholm, I have spoken on the phone with him. When I went through a very rough phase last year, something that kept me on sick leave for a year, he was supportive and caring and a great help to me.Hehas showed me love and care and compassion.He has shown me his trust by sending me his work before it's finished, pictures of his family. He has also shown me that he can be annoying, rude, a pain in the butt. Because he is human, because he is real!
Why would a figment of Gus Van Sandt bother with that? I am not famous, I am not rich, I don't write books or make films or music. I am a Norwegian lawyer, aged 49, the mother of two kids and a lover of books. All kinds of books. And I have a soft spot for children, and a very hard spot for those who abuse them.
I work in the biggest bank in Norway in their legal department,so I don't believe I am easily fooled. And I don't think someone who was paid by Gus Van Sandt to perform as JT Leroy (how else could I have metand spoken toa figment of another's imagination?)would do that for years just to foolsomeonelike me and to once in a while get some dark chocolate from Norway.
Anne Ystenes