Saturday, December 28, 2013


September 1978/Brooklyn , NY/ Pratt Institute
Willoughby Hall

While I waited for the elevator in the Pratt dorms,I had my first encounter with Greer Lankton. 
A rail thin , dishwater blonde blonde introduced herself in a raspy,uneven voice, "Hi,I'm Greer. I live down the hall."
We became immediate friends.I recall telling my mother that I had just met my first friend,Greer.
"But",I said, "I don't think she's really a girl."
"That's nice", my mother said.
My mother took the only photograph that I have of Greer.


As the story went,Greer had applied at Pratt and been accepted when she was still Greg.By the time she came to Pratt, she was in pre-op sex reassignment stage-the year of hormone "treatments" and living to "pass as the other." In 1978, Pratt did not know what to do with this situation and therefore refused to give Greer a roommate.The administration, instead, insisted that she live in a studio apartment, meant for two and pay double occupancy.
This was also the year that "Debbie Does Dallas" had scenes filmed at the Pratt library.


Greer's family ran a bible camp in Michigan where she helped out.It was there she went to recover after her sex reassignment surgery in the summer of 1979.Upon our return to school,I  ran into Greer and asked about her surgery.She said she had to wear a dildo inside of her all day long and that she was in hideous pain.


Her talent astounded me- it seemed endless, limitless. She could lay out a piece of fabric,cut,snip and sew up something to wear in an instant.During one visit,she did a wonderful portrait of me titled "Karen as a puppet." She quickly captured my spirit as well as her perception of friends.I have carried that portrait with me for over thirty years.

Greer seemed to be able to do whatever she wanted- life drawing,sewing,doll building- with incredible ease and boundless imagination and ingenuity.
She was at once all of us and yet not like any of us.

excerpts from my "Memories of Greer"
 From the catalog for the re-installation of "It's all about ME,Not You."
Mattress Factory
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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