Slide courtesy of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens (1986)

Diane Torr investigates the politics of gender fluidity and sexual identity in Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Queens (1986). Performed by Diane Torr, Christine Koenig, and Lizzie Olesker, the cast subverts gender binaries by performing on stage as drag kings—females who embody masculinity and portray stereotypes of women. They explore the possibilities of becoming more than one gender through what Torr calls a “metamorphosis of the sexual imagination.” Wearing men’s suits and other costumes, the performers enact gender-specific poses that deconstruct stereotypical gender roles informed by heterosexuality. Together these acts work to expand the repertoire of gender performativity by challenging socially accepted constructions of female behavior.

DIANE TORR (1948–2017) was a performance artist who worked in dance, installation, and film/video. Originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Torr developed her artistic career as an integral part of New York City’s downtown art scene. She created an extensive body of work that was presented at venues across the city including Franklin Furnace, The Kitchen, Danceteria, and The Mudd Club, among other spaces. Torr was a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, Stockholm University of Arts, and Freie Universität Berlin. Her renowned Man-for-a-Day workshop was taught across the globe and was featured prominently in the documentary Venus Boyz (2002). She co-authored with Stephen Bottoms Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance (2010). Torr lived and worked between Glasgow, Berlin, and New York City.