Male professional photographer Duane Stork has resurfaced as Diane Crow. Stork, who has long served as a freelance photographer for the AJT and a variety of Jewish events including the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, now lives as a female. As labels abound, Crow enlightens, “A cross-dresser is someone who wears the opposite gender’s clothing but is content with their birth gender. ‘Transvestite’ is an outdated offensive term. I consider myself ‘trans.’ I present the opposite of my birth gender and completely identify with my feminine nature. I am 100 percent living female these days and the happiest I have even been.”
Crow, formerly known as Stork, became an electrical engineer in the Army followed by a career repairing X-ray machines and nuclear cameras, changed paths when he was moved by photographing children in a cancer ward. She said, “Now as a photographer, I shoot for Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, the PGA, national commercials, concerts, and bar mitzvahs and weddings across the U.S.”
Crow’s defining moment came in 2019 as a volunteer shooting SOJOURN, a LGBTQ+ Jewish organization. “It was Purim Off Ponce and people were dressed in wonderful costumes, and I was in my ubiquitous black shirt, pants, shoes. I felt like I was the one that stuck out. All through that year, I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this event again, I’m going to do something different. In 2020, I decided to go ‘en femme.’ I went to Sephora for makeup, then shot the event. It was the most self-affirming thing I honestly had ever done. I had always loved to look through my mom’s magazines to see the women’s clothes, designs and shoes. Men’s clothes were boring and blah.”
Crow, who is in the process of divorcing, states that her children are “fine” with the change and that makes her happy. Some people were surprised but delighted for me.” She buys clothes from Goodwill and has red nails. “I have beautiful redheaded wigs which is my natural color. I have glasses with little diamondish accents. It’s a challenge to do makeup around the eyes, so I’m working on that.”
Crow has also changed her living space, which she decorated and calls a “happy place. I have a beautiful deck to do yoga and meditation in the morning. The downstairs is turning into studios where we will start filming the ‘Diane Crow Show’ soon.”
The show, which will be pitched to Netflix and HBO, is a la Stephen Colbert for the LGBTQ crowd.
“We’ve already lined up interviews with very important LGBTQ people with stories about shaving, walking in heels, skin care, makeup, etc. The ultimate goal is to portray people who are on the LBGTQ spectrum treated as ‘normal.’ It will always finish with the story of triumph of someone who was able to successfully leave a place they were miserable and move to a place of internal happiness and acceptance.”
Crow read a monologue on Facebook Live. She elaborated, “I was looking for some practice with my feminine voice and found this monologue that came from ‘Motherhood Out Loud’ about Queen Esther. Every time I read it, it just made me cry. It’s a beautiful story about a young man born in the wrong body. I’m very proud that the playwright and director asked for it to be put on the play’s website, for which I am honored.”
In terms of religion, Crow said,” I’m probably more Jewish than anything else. I’ve gone to Chabad Intown for almost 30 years. I don’t know how the Jewish world will accept this change, but everyone I know is happy for me because I own who I am.”
Regarding the name change: Diane is just one letter away from Duane, and Crow is a bird like Stork.
Questions remain: “Will you date men or women?” Answer: “Right now I have no plans to date. I am just concentrating on being and living my best self.”
Click here to listen: Queen Esther written by Michele Lowe, A Monologue Performed by Diane Crow