The LGBTQ community has lost a legend. RIP Storme’ DeLarverie the legendary Drag King, “Stonewall Lesbian” as well as “The Gay Community’s Rosa Parks” Storme’ was a great historical and cultural LGBTQ icon. She passed away peacefully early Saturday morning May 24th, 2014, at age 93 in Brooklyn, NY.
All of the major LGBTQ media outlets are carrying stories about Storme’ passing. I only wish that I had known more about Storme’ before she died, and had had the chance to meet such a lengendary hero. Known by some as the “Gay community’s Rosa Parks” and the famous “Stonewall Lesbian”, Storme’s life was a journey unsurpassed by few. Into her mid eighties she continued to work as a bouncer at a lesbian bar in Brooklyn, NY (Henrietta Hudson’s), known to pack heat and a switchblade she was considered a force to be reckoned with by all.
Storme’ was born of a racially diverse relationship, between a wealthy white man and his African American house servant, in New Orlean’s Lousianna on Christmas Eve 1920. (Wikipedia has this incorrectly reversed).
In the late 1930’s Storme’ joined Ringling Bros. Circus as a jumping horse rider, riding sidesaddle which she hated. Then went on to further show business performance, including performing in a troupe as a Drag King at the Jewelbox Revue in NYC. There she joined a crew of 25 men who dressed as Drag Queens, and Storme’, the only woman in the show, donned her prefered masculine attire, as the show’s only Drag King.
She lived at the famous Chelsea Hotel in Brooklyn until she took a fall at 85 and was moved to a long-term care facility. Alone and forgotten by all but a few, Storme’ granted interviews to several writer’s during her time at the facility, bringing to light how lonely and abandoned our LGBTQ seniors can feel.
Google her name and you will find many stories pertaining to her life, interviews and podcasts of her during her more senior years. I will spare you listing all of the author’s and media outlets here and leave it to you to take a few minutes of your time today and check out some of our LGBTQ history by looking into Storme’ DeLarverie’s life on this earth.
A historical legend, a cultural icon and one fantastic human being, Storme’ helped pave the way to today’s more open and more equality minded world.
Like I said, I wish I had had the privilege of knowing this fellow activist and performer. An artist of life, she led a very interesting one herself. It saddens me that she seems to have been sort of “left behind” and forgotten by the younger LGBTQ community. I feel even guilty myself, what I know about Storme’ is what I ahve read and researched today. I was shocked to learn of such a cultural icon in our midsts – that I didn’t already know about! Loving history as I do, I am ashamed to admit that I do not know enough about my own culture’s history – something I intend to rectify starting now; starting with Storme’ DeLarvarie’s contributions to my / our history.
I could never do justice to Storme’s story here in this blog. And to truly write about her I would have to do much research – and now it would all be posthumously, sadly. The best would have been to have asked her for an interview, and sat down with her and listened. I am sure she had 1000 sotries, as complete journeys are made of many stories. And her journey strikes me as one that should interest everyone in the LGBTQ community.