In 1994 a teenage boy called JT (or Jeremy "Terminator") LeRoy began to attract attention in the literary community. He published a few short stories, but he also aggressively reached out to other, older writers, communicating with them by phone, email, and fax. He was a sympathetic character a transgendered, homosexual, drug-addicted, pathologically shy teenager who had been living on the streets, forced into a life of truck-stop prostitution by his mother. Writing seemed to offer a means for him to escape that life, and other writers strongly supported his efforts. In 1999 he published his first novel, Sarah
, which was a critical success. More books followed, as well as celebrity friendships. By 2005, when he was in his mid-twenties, his stature as a literary star appeared to be secure. His books were selling well, and one of them, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
, was being made into a movie. But this stature was shaken when, in October 2005, author Stephen Beachy published an article in New York Magazine
that asked a simple question: Was JT LeRoy a real person?