by George Petros

This book is about sex changing and rearranging. In it we interview Transsexuals, Transgender-identified individuals, and a gal with a hands-on fetish for Trans guys. The interviewees range from academics and professionals to hustlers and whores. For a year we approached Trans VIPs, asking them to tell us who they are, what they do, and what they want.

This book ain’t a survey, an overview or a compendium. It doesn’t purport to be inclusive or to represent any slice of the social pie. There’re lots of other Trans VIPs out there, but they’re not part of this snapshot for one reason or another, including: they ignored us; they were suspicious of our motives; they were too cool.

I harbor a fascination with scientific and medical aspects of the Transsexual phenomenon. It’s like a Science Fiction novel come to life, wherein future people ignore geneticists’ immutable dictates and switch roles in the most basic human drama. Can’t you just imagine scenes from a Seventies Sci-Fi flick in which hot actors and actresses step into phone-booth-like boxes festooned with flashing lights, and then step out as the opposite-gender analog of themselves? And then later they switch back! All this in furtherance of pleasurable pursuits — and high-mindedness, of course.

In the beginning I wanted to do a book about Intersexuality. I believe that my grandfather’s brother, Freddy Wallace, might have been — in the lingo of a former era — a Hermaphrodite. I know next to nothing about him. He was born circa 1915, served in the Navy during World War Two, and lived in Chicago. Family scuttlebutt painted him as different, or odd, or queer. Eventually I asked my grandmother if he was Gay. “Well,” she replied, “he’s not really like that — he’s both.” Both? “Well, he’s kinda like both a man and a woman. I don’t know anything else — I don’t want to talk about it — don’t ask me about it again.” She resisted further interrogation, repeating the same answer over and over, despite my escalating resolve.

Late in his life Freddy ran off with some guy. The guy didn’t know how to contact our family when Freddy died, and so the government buried him in a pauper’s cemetery, in an unmarked grave, forgotten forever. So, as a sort of homage to him, I wanted to do a book about Intersex people. I wanted to do some sorta shout-out to mysterious Freddy who probably lived a life of great pain sprinkled with occasional great pleasure, surviving among the steel mills, factories and train yards of gritty, grimy Chicago.

When I was formulating my ideas, I thought that Intersexuals and Transsexuals existed on a morphological continuum, since both exhibit sexual characteristics of male and female genders — but I’ve discovered otherwise since then. In fact, much separates the two. In the envisioned book, I was gonna include both camps, comparing and contrasting. But I couldn’t find any Intersexual individuals who would allow me to interview them!

So, I dropped the Intersex part and focused on Transsexuality. “Amazing! Astounding! People can transform from one gender into the other. Unbelievable!” Such things were unheard of in days gone by. It opens up a whole new phase in the evolutionary process. And of course I find the Transsexuals themselves to be very interesting, very smart, very talented and very different from the everyday person — while at the same time being so normal, if I may say that, and so typical.

I wonder how Transsexuality might impact the course of human evolution. Accordingly, I had so many high-falutin’ ideas — I was gonna write all these essays and theories and treatises — but I realized, Who cares what I think? Let the interviewees tell their own stories.

I couldn’t have done this book without the amazing efforts of my cohorts. Thank You Paul, Fred, Manuel, Rio, John and Stanton. I appreciate the interviewees taking the time to accommodate our requests. I’m grateful to those who provide the digital tools that make my work possible. I’m blessed to live in a time of limitless possibilities.

George Petros

Brooklyn, New York
December 2011