Diane Torr obituary

By Stephen Bottoms

Drag king and gender activist whose performances and writing blazed a trail in feminism and lesbian culture

A true original and provocateur, the performance artist, drag king and gender activist Diane Torr drew on working-class roots in Scotland, dance training in Devon and the creative crucible of 1970s New York to become a pioneering figure in female-to-male gender-crossing. Through her performances, participatory workshops and generosity of spirit, Diane, who has died aged 68 of a brain tumour, had a transformative effect on the lives of generations of fellow artists and cultural outsiders, in both Europe and the US.

Diane's singular importance in her field is documented in her book Sex, Drag and Male Roles (which I co-authored with her, 2010), and Katarina Peters's film Man for a Day (2012), which explores the impact of her workshops for a diverse group of participants in Berlin. Diane did not let drag define her, however: throughout her life she remained restlessly curious in her other creative inquiries – in dance, film and the visual arts.

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