from the Philadephia Inquirer: JB Goes Home

Posted on Thu, Dec. 9, 2010

by Diana Marder

Jennifer Finney Boylan is at ease now in the living room of the Devon home where she spent her boyhood.

She has not always been comfortable in this place.

When she lived here as 13-year-old James Richard Boylan Jr. and had the whole top floor to herself, she did her homework with the dead bolt on the bedroom door, wearing the bra and sweater she kept hidden behind the room’s faux wood paneling, and trusting she’d hear the stairs creak if anyone approached.

Now a professor of creative writing at Maine’s Colby College since 1988, Boylan, 52, is a visiting prof this semester at Ursinus in Collegeville. Staying in Devon has allowed Boylan cherished time with her mother, while driving to Maine once a month to be with sons Zach, 16, and Sean, 14, and her wife, Deirdre Grace.

Their 1988 marriage weathered Boylan’s 2002 sexual reassignment surgery and they are together still as loving, if not entirely intimate, partners.

Jenny Boylan is a tall, slender blonde who often gets hit on by men heedless of her wedding ring. And she is happily married, buoyed by the pleasures of parenting, teaching, and writing.

Her groundbreaking memoir, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders (Broadway Books, 2003), was the first best-seller by a transgender American.

It landed her on Larry King Live twice, a Barbara Walters special, the Today show, the History Channel, CBS’s 48 Hours, and Oprah Winfrey (four times). She played herself in two episodes of All My Children, and Will Forte played her for a skit on Saturday Night Live.

She got, still gets, tons of letters. Some from… (read the rest of the story in the INQUIRER here.)

Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/magazine/20101209_Transgender_writer_Jennifer_Finney_Boylan_comes_home_to_Philadelphia_area.html#ixzz17eAt70XH
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3 Comments

  1. Darwin Ward
    Posted December 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    They did a nice job with the article. Hope you’re pleased with it. Too bad about the comments section…but such is the internet.

  2. Margie
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Most people never “go back” or even try to. A lot is said that you can’t but I’ve always believed it’s up to the individual. Jenny could and did, I can only imagine how you felt Jenny! It had to be a wonderful experience.

    Margie

  3. MeriB
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Nice piece. Very nice.
    My favorite line is “…where she spent her boyhood”
    Interestingly enough, this doesn’t sound odd to me at all.

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  • The Boylan Family, summer 2010

    DSC_0063 "You hang around our family, you learn all kinds of stuff."
  • Will Forte as Jennifer Finney Boylan on “Saturday Night Live”

    WiFo-Jennifer Finney Boylan-1
  • Jenny with Barbara Walters, December, 2008

    wawa
  • Jenny atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin

    2036947979_34bfbec240 August, 2002.
  • Surrounded

    boylanWith President Clinton and Maine's Governor John Baldacci, fall 2006.
  • JFB and Edward Albee

    edward_albee_by_fred_j_field-150x150

    Edward had been my teacher at Johns Hopkins in the winter of 1986. He visited Colby in fall, 2007. As we took our leave of each other, he kissed me on both cheeks and said, "We have done well. You and I."

  • Jenny and her teacher, the great John Barth

    Boylan_Barth

    Jack was my professor at JHU when I did my thesis, back in the day. After many years, I can now confidently say I finally understand his definition of plot. Which is, of course, "the perturbation of an unstable homeostatic system and its catastrophic restoration to a new and complexified equilibrium."