He graduated to become a drag artist: doing lip-synch impersonations of Diana Ross. He would perform without underwear so that the audience could see his penis under his skirt. At age 21, after several gay affairs including one with Robert Ferrara, he started seeing a psychiatrist with a view to transition, took estrogens, and had facial surgery.
Then he met Robyn (originally Roberta) Arnold, the rich daughter of an ear, nose and throat surgeon. They became lovers and John stopped his hormone shots and started lifting weights to discourage his breasts. His father was delighted. John was starting to perform at the major Manhattan discos. John announced that they would marry.
|Diane's one and only modelling gig.
After a run of unsatisfactory promiscuity she persuaded her old flame, Robert Ferrara to marry her, which he did, in his home town of Berwick, Pennsylvania. His parents tried to talk them out of it, and a neighbor objected to the sheriff that they were two men, but Dr Biber's affidavit and a reissued birth-certificate carried the day. Robyn paid $1400 for the wedding ring. Although Robert had had affairs with women, he did not relate to having sex with Diane. They also argued and fought, physically. So she moved out, and in with Robyn.
The move expanded into a two-day party. After the party Diane agreed to meet Robert to talk over their difficulties. She was never seen again until her body washed up in the Hudson River. Robert and Robyn lived together in the latter's apartment after the murder. They were charged together that they had both shot her. Robyn, with her expensive lawyer, was acquitted. Robert, with his inexperienced lawyer, went to prison. The bar where Diane used to do her Diana Ross impersonations commemorated her passing by having several people imitate her impersonation.
- "Transsexual Murder: Tangled Relationships Described in Trial of Former Lover, Husband". New York Herald Journal, Sep 27 1982. Online
- Carol Vecchione. "The jury in the slaying of a transsexual fashion.." UPI, Oct 9, 1982. Online
- Linda Wolfe. "The Transsexual, the Bartender and the Jewish American Princess". New York Magazine, 17 Jan 1983. Online. Reprinted in The Professor and the Prostitute, and Other True Tales of Murder and Madness. Ballantine Books. 1987: chp 6.