For nearly twenty years, performance artist Diane Torr has been teaching women how to dress and pass as men on city streets around the world. This cultural subterfuge has appealed to many, for different reasons: personal confidence building, sexual frisson, gender subversion, trans-curiosity, or just the appeal of disguise and role play. This book documents and contextualizes the development of Torr’s internationally celebrated workshops, as well as her own ongoing experiments in performing gender-play in theaters, galleries, and clubs. She has been one of the key pioneers of “drag king” performance.

The book blends first-person memoir and commentary from Torr with critical reflections and contextualization from leading performance critic Stephen Bottoms, including a consideration of the long cultural history of female-to-male cross-dressing. The book concludes with Torr’s “Do It Yourself ” guide to becoming a “Man for a Day.”

Diane Torr, born in Canada and later living in Glasgow, performed across the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe and earned an international reputation for her gender transformation workshops (featured on “This American Life” on NPR). Her work wass also profiled in an HBO special.

Stephen Bottoms is Wole Soyinka Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds. His books include the prize-winning Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement.

Diane Torr passed away peacefully on May 31, 2017 in Glasgow. If you wish to inquire about her work, you can email her daughter, Martina Meijer, at

You can purchase the book here, at the publisher’s website.


Stockholm: Tempo Film Festival  May 7, 2013
The Netherlands: the Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen March 9, 2013
Palo Alto California : Stanford University California May 9, 2012
Berlin: Schwules Museum/SchwuZ  June 10, 2011
Vienna: Akademie der Bildenden Künste – What a Drag Festival, Brut Theater, Vienna  June 9, 2011
Leeds: Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds May 5, 2011
Brasilia: University of Brasilia, Psychology Department February 19, 2011
London: Club Wotever, Royal Vauxhall Tavern February 15, 2011
Brighton: Marlborough Theatre February 10, 2011
Bergen: Hordaland Art Centre January 28, 2011
New York: Bowery Poetry Club January 12, 2011
Chicago: Mothers and Children First Bookstore January 6, 2011
New York: Blue Stockings Bookstore December 3, 2010
New York: Shakespeare and Co. December 2, 2010
New York: Tisch School of the Arts, NYU December 1, 2010
New York: Shakespeare and Co. December 2, 2010
New York State: Bard College November 30, 2010
Glasgow: Aye, Aye Books, CCA November 18, 2010



Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance

Written by Diane Torr and Stephen Bottoms