It seemed like a comedy sketch meant to parody the unique Larry King interviewing style but last night satire met reality when King interviewed several transgendered people on his show. Because Larry didn't change his typical interview style a bit, the show came off as both extremely surreal as well as unintentionally hilarious. Here is a portion of the transcript from King's August 10 show which melodramatically begins with this introduction:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She took away our father, but in return she gave me another parent, a better parent. Our love is unconditional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: An 18-year-old in transition from male to female aiming to be the first transgender Victoria's Secret model. A former city manager named Steve who was fired after announcing his plan to change genders. He's here now as Susan. They are all next on LARRY KING KIVE.
Good evening. Tonight's show takes on the topic of gender reassignment surgery and the people who have had it. They are born one gender but emotionally they feel more like the opposite sex, so at some point in their lives they embark on a long, tough journey to physically change themselves into the person they feel like most rather than the person they were born as.
We begin with the amazing story of Jessica Lam, born a man, went on to marry, father children, eventually underwent gender reassignment surgery. Let's take a look at part of her story.
King starts out the interview by attempting to find Jesus:
KING: Good evening. You'll meet a number of people tonight in this situation. Jessica Lam, the 37-year-old in that piece there will be with us throughout the show, born male and underwent gender reassignment surgery four years ago. She's the parent of two sons of whom she has full custody, by the way and they are with us as well. Jesus Lam is 17 years old and Christopher Lam is 16 years old. Jessica, what was your name as a male?
JESSICA LAM: Jesus Lam.
KING: You were Jesus.
JESSICA LAM: Yes, he's junior.
KING: When did you first know in your life something was wrong?
The dating life of the former Jesus causes Larry to become quite inquisitive:
KING: Do you date men?
JESSICA LAM: I date women.
KING: You date women.
JESSICA LAM: Yes.
KING: So then you're like a lesbian.
JESSICA LAM: I identify as lesbian, yes, absolutely.
KING: So your sex relations would be with a woman.
JESSICA LAM: Yes.
KING: Guys, thanks for coming. Jesus and Chris, I give you a lot of credit, man.
Um, Larry, don't you mean "woman?" King next interviews Ryan Sallans whose sex surgery will change him in the opposite direction from Jessica formerly known as Jesus:
KING: How did you know something was wrong, Ryan, but wrong I mean something out of whack?
SALLANS: Well, you know, just like most stories you hear from a transsexual person from a very young age I always thought I was a boy even though people tell me I'm a girl and my parents telling me I was a girl and I kind of got cued in there and it wasn't until I was 25 where kind of a light bulb switched that I realized I could do this, I can transition.
KING: Did you ever think you were gay.
SALLANS: I did identify as lesbian for about eight months and never felt lesbian but since I was attracted to women I just took on that label.
KING: So now you date women?
SALLANS: Yes, I have a partner. We've been together for over three years now.
Now Larry comes to the point about the actual details of the operation:
KING: How far -- how much have you had done so far?
SALLANS: I've had the chest surgery which was shown in the Logo documentary. I've had the total hysterectomy and the hormones.
KING: And what do they do with regard to a penis?
The questions become even more hilariously voyeuristic as King questions Toni Llerena, a male to female transgender:
KING: What are you now, are you just a man dressing up as woman?
LLERENA: Basically if you want to put it in those terms.
KING: You're not a transgender at all yet?
LLERENA: Technically, yeah, because I do feel as a woman, I feel woman inside trapped in a male's body, so yeah.
KING: You're not a cross-dresser?
LLERENA: If you want to put it like that, yeah.
KING: Jessica, what is she -- what is Toni to you?
Cross-dressing must have been on Larry's mind because it is a theme he returns to when interviewing Susan Ashley Stanton, formerly known as Steve, who was a city manager of Largo, Florida:
KING: What was the surgery like?
STANTON: I've not had surgery yet. I scheduled it. I'm excited about it but I've not had it yet.
KING: Well, now I understand. You're a transgender but you haven't had surgery.
KING: So basically you're a cross-dresser?
Larry King finally reaches an inadvertently comedic height with this series of questions to the former Steve Stanton:
KING: Don't you feel funny with the wrong genitalia?
STANTON: Yes, it feels out of whack now. So maybe I'll have to have it corrected. But yes, and some people do and some people don't. I do.
KING: Not as a joke, you stand up in the women's bathroom?
STANTON: No, I don't. No, I sit down in the woman's bathroom.
KING: You do sit down?