New York vs. NYT: Who outed JT Leroy First?

What’s in a name? Is that what’s required for an official outing or is it enough to virtually prove that an outing’s in the offing?

New York thinks so – consider’s yesterday’s NYT piece by Warren St. John outing JT Leroy as Savannah Knoop as an also-ran to its own October 17, 2005 investigative piece by Stephen Beachy, which painstakingly drew together anecdotes, inconsistent stories and all manner of paper trails to arrive at the very convincing conclusion that Laura Albert was actually JT Leroy. If you don’t know who these people are go here to get caught up.

We’re with New York – Beachy’s article clearly represents months of research and work, and makes the case about JT Leroy’s identity in the reality-based community. But so, too, is the NYT! St. John clearly cops to building on Beachy’s work — he sources “pressure to admit the ruse” specifically to Beachy’s piece — and indeed St. John cops personally to having been “credulous” in his earnest belief that Knoop was Leroy. Plus he readily admits that it wasn’t until Beachy’s piece was published that the Times began investigating on its own, finding that JT Leroy’s trip for four to EuroDisney was actually a family trip for Laura Albert, her husband and child (and there’s no reporting credit so it looks like St. John hoofed around EuroDisney himself on the case).

But Beachy and St. John can’t claim credit for being the only ones left wondering:

Many interviewers, however, have noted the difference between JT’s seductive phone presence and the almost silent persona he assumes in public. Lorelei Sharkey, a former editor at Nerve who had spoken with LeRoy many times, walked away from an in-person meeting last year convinced that he was not the same person. Dennis Cooper says that when they finally met there was something about JT’s demeanor that wasn’t right. “The voice was too weak, among other things,” Cooper says. “And his/her vague, disinterested behavior was just incongruous considering that we were supposedly finally meeting after being close friends for so many years.”

And on HuffPo, Susie Bright traces the dark ease with which “JT” was able to manipulate benefactors and climb up the ladder.

Who outed JT Leroy? Why does his/her identiy matter, anyhow? Is there ever a bad time for Tom Jones? No, and particularly not now:

She’s A Lady [Tom Jones]

I know that’s a cop-out ending but considering the subject matter, it feels right.