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Remembering the Drag King Diane Torr

A Life as a Man and a Woman

Diane Torr was a force majeur. Originally a dancer, she become a gender activist, performer and artist in New York in the late 70s and worked with names such as Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver. Her performances were arguably both inside a dedicated “artistic” space as well as in her everyday life, where she would “perform” as a male or as a female, depending on the day. What she is most well-known for, and was working on up until the end of her life, were her Drag King workshops. Women of all races, sexualities, classes and identites came to her workshops to learn how to pass as a man in the outside world, for various different reasons. Diane believed that experiencing the world as a man taught every woman a lot about themselves as a woman. It makes me want to try!

Although the culture of Drag Kinds may not be super popular or well-known, Diane is one of the main people to bring it into the mainstream, appearing on national television channels. Her work was immensely popular in New York and she explored questions and performative experiences of sexuality and sexual identity, in conjunction with her Drag work. Her legacy and influence have changed the world – and she will surely be missed, having passed away on the 31st of June this year.

You can watch her TEDx talk here!

Diane’s legacy is far from forgotten. Although Drag Queens have had most of the media and public attention for the last few decades, we may be seeing a new trend for Drag Kings!

First there was Lady Gaga as

Jo Calderone

And this year an entire “boy band” from Japan went internet super-famous without releasing a single record – and they’re all women, dressed to look like boys. Every tween’s dream.

Meet FFC-ACrush

And really, who could forget this… 

Charlotte in SATC

Have you ever tried drag, as a man or a woman? What was your experience like? Do you link it with sexuality, or are they totally separate for you? Let me know in the comments below!

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