Jody Susan FordAge 42
4 Apr 1977
Birmingham, Alabama (USA)
TDoR list ref: tdor.info/4 Apr 1977/Jody Susan Ford
Jody was shot dead in a motel parking lot by Larry Maddox after she confronted him over slurs he had hurled at her. He went into the motel, came out with a shotgun and fired.
Maddox was later found guilty despite claiming that her killing was in self-defense.
I first heard of Jody Ford when I read the book, Perry: "A Transformed Transsexual", about an acquaintance of Jody’s: a confused person named Perry Desmond. The promotional blurb on the back cover is indication of the slant of the book: “Escape from homosexuality is a supernatural process. Return from transsexuality is a miracle!” Again the book was about Perry—not Jody. But Jody is whom I remember. The description offered a short tale of Jody: “Shortly after this, he returned to Birmingham where he was shot to death in a parking lot.” And that was it. I want your story to be told—I hope that I can do so someday.
Born Sidney McFerrin Ford, Jody Suzanne Ford became something of a local scandal when the hairdresser known as "Mr. Sid" revealed plans to become a woman. The sign outside the shop was changed to "Ms. Sid's" and tongues began wagging. About this time, I was struggling with my own issues, though I had not yet fully realized that I was transsexual. In my mind, the term had some rather negative associations. I was first aware that such a thing was even possible when I saw an episode of a TV show hosted by Joe Pyne where he profiled Christian Jorgensen. It was presented so sordidly that the concept failed to fully resonate with me. Not long after that, when I read the book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex..." the description of sex change surgery was so horrifying that I was totally repulsed by the idea. Thankfully that description was not remotely close to reality.
The shop was located in Five Point's South, which ironically, was a neighborhood I would later live in for about ten years. I remember, walking in, and starting to look at the clothes while trying to discretely see if I could spot Ms. Ford. I remember a very tall woman at one of the stations, who I assumed must be the object of my curiosity. Other than being rather tall, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary. I honestly was not sure if this was really her, but I saw no one else that might have been.
On at least two other occasions I saw her (I now know it was her I saw), once getting into her car, and once at a bank. Of course, I was too shy to actually approach her and ask questions.
A few years later, she was killed in an incident at a local motel. It was only through the article that Cooke linked to that I learned, as Paul Harvey would have said, "...the rest of the story."
Sadly, she died when she reacted to some nasty comments made by Larry Maddox, the owner of the Vestavia Hills Motor Lodge. She was at Brookwood Mall with her former wife, when Maddox made some anti-gay slurs. Ms. Ford chased him up the highway in her car and confronted him outside the motel. He went in, and came out with shotgun and fired. He claimed self-defense, and was found not guilty.
Drag Magazine Vol 7 Num 25