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20 April 2008

Stormé DeLarverié (1920 - 2014) singer, gender impersonator.

++Updated May 2014, June 2017.

K. Stormé DeLarverié was born in New Orleans.

She was a jazz singer as Stormy Dale in the '40s, and the sole male impersonator in the Jewel Box
from Avery Willard - Female impersonation
Revue 1955-1969. After starting with the show he began to dress in men's clothing offstage also. However he pointed out that his voice and movements as a male impersonator were the same as when she was a big band singer in the 40s. He also makes a point of not being bothered about whether people address her as 'Sir' or 'Madame'.

He was photographed by Diane Arbus.

Stormé was present at the Stonewall riot, where he hit back at a cop who hit him at the start.  Shortly afterwards his wife dies, and he quit at the Jewel Box Revue.

He was recognized as a transgender actor. In his 80s he worked as a bouncer at a Manhattan lesbian bar.  He lived for many decades in the Chelsea Hotel in lower Manhattan. 

SAGE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 (given to recognize the accomplishments of LGBT seniors). Vice-president of the Stonewall Veterans' Association 1998 -2000. In the Imperial Queens & Kings of Greater New York, Stormé has won election many times the title of "Imperial King".

Stormé is ignored in Martin Duberman’s Stonewall, and on the Stonewall Wiki page and in the 1995 film.  Stormé is also ignored in the otherwise comprehensive Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen. 1992 by Linda Dahl.

James Lough p 164

In later years  Stormé developed mental health problems.  In 2009 the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged was appointed his legal guardian, and he was hospitalized as a woman.  He was then almost always indoors until friends and gay and lesbian activists arranged with JASA to take him out now and then.

He died at age 93.  

  • AveryWillard. Female Impersonation. Regiment, 1971: 59-64.
  • Michelle Parkerson (dir). Stormé: Lady of the Jewel Box. US 21 mins 1987.
  • Elizabeth Drorbaugh. “Sliding Scales: Notes on Stormé DeLarverie and the Jewel Box Revue, the cross-dressed woman on the contemporary stage, and the invert”. In Lesley Feris (ed). Crossing the stage : controversies on cross-dressing. London & New York: Routledge. 1993.
  • Leslie Feinberg. Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul. Beacon Press, 1996: 153. 
  • Patricia Bosworth. Diane Arbus: A Biography. W.W. Norton, 2005: 162-3..
  • Manny Fernandez.  "A Stonewall Veteran, 89, Misses the Parade". The New York Times, June 27, 2010.   Online.
  • James Lough. This Ain't No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel, 1980-1995 : an Oral History. 2013:164.
  • Lynn de la Cruz.  "Stonewall Veteran, Drag King Icon Stormé DeLarverie Dies At 93".   Advocate, May 27 2014.   Online.

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