Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Drag Queen, the dead body and vouging

It sounds like a great way to start a movie.

A man dies in woman's clothes on a Sunday. In 1993, AIDS was more common in the obituary. Weeks pass and a friend is selling off some old clothes when she discovers a green plaid bag that is too heavy to lift, too overstuffed to find the zipper. With a pair of scissors, the bag is opened to find a rotting, half mummified corpse. It may have been there for decades. Why would Dorian Corey have a dead body with a bullet hole in it's head in a trunk in her New York apartment?

Dorian Corey was a drag queen, performer and one of the stars of Paris is Burning. (Which was a introduction to many on the newest dance crazy of "Voguing") His given name was Fredrick Legg and he was born in Buffalo. She moved to the city, became Dorian, rocked the drag scene for over a decade and then, sadly,  Dorian died at age 56 due to complications from AIDS. A tragically common way things ended in the mid-90s. Only this time, she left something behind. Or, I should say, someone.

According to the New York Magazine article from 1995, Robert Worely, the man in the suitcase, was last seen by his family in 1968. He was convicted of rape and assault in 1963. And sometime between then and 1993, he wound up in Corey's bag. The body was wrapped not unlike a mummy: layers and layers of fabric, tape, plastic, etc. When unwrapping, small things were found in between the layers. Rings and paper but most interesting, a flip top beer can. Not made since the seventies. Therefore, the coroner suggested he'd probably been there since 1980 or before.

Can you imagine having a body in your house for 15 years or longer? You're doing laundry or watching tv when that suitcase catches your eye. You know what it is and what it could mean for you if anyone found out...

Robert's brother Fred wasn't surprised when the reporter told him that he may have had a relationship with a girlfriend who happened to be a man. He also wasn't surprised that he was murdered either. "...we figured something had befallen him" (I imagine not many things must bother Fred.) Robert Worely was buried in potter's field.

No one will really know what happened to Robert except Robert and Dorian and they're both gone. So we're left with bits of their lives, photos and this strange story.

For more, check out the whole article in the New York Mag -
Or these NSFW but amazing photos of Dorian and others who were on the scene in the 90's-

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