Tag Archives: Leslie Cochran

Austin just got a lot less weird. RIP Leslie Cochran

If you’re going to have some brews down on 6th Street for SXSW, drink a toast to Leslie. S/he died at 1 a.m. in hospice care at age 60. Austin’s famous homeless cross-dressing sometime mayoral candidate has left us. Hopefully he’s in a better place – better than Colorado even. Let’s honor his memory by keeping Austin as weird as we can.

Here’s the story in the Statesman: Austin icon Leslie Cochran dies at age 60



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Leslie Cochran now in hospice care after brain surgery

Bummer. I’m afraid the “Leslie is recovering” stories were premature. Austin’s famous cross-dresser might not be with us much longer. According to KUT: Leslie Cochran ‘in transition’ in Hospice Care

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Austin’s Leslie Cochran near death after undergoing brain surgery

I posted a while back that Austin’s famous cross-dresser Leslie was ready to leave for Colorado. Looks like he’s got bigger issues. He’s now in the hospital after emergency brain surgery and might not make it.

Send any positive energy his way. When he goes, it’ll be the end of an era.

Edit: Apparently he’s come out of his coma, which is a great sign. Though he’s far from out of the woods.

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Leslie leaves Austin for Colorado – canary in a coalmine?

I saw a news story the other day that made me sad. Leslie Cochran, the cross-dressing homeless guy who has been an icon in Austin for almost as long as I can remember, is leaving the city, going to a town in Colorado where he hopes he will be “loved and respected.” I hope he’s right and I wish him well.

There was a time when most Austinites at least seemed to love and respect Leslie. He ran for mayor a few times. Not sure how many votes he got, but it helped make him the talk of the town. Someone made a “Dress Leslie” refrigerator magnet set. Leslie sightings were among the highlights of any trip to Sixth Street. You could pretty much count on seeing him at anything that drew a crowd, if you kept an eye out.

He liked to wear a thong, sometimes a mini-skirt (He might have to wear more clothes in Colorado). Locals with visitors from out of town would get Leslie to pose with them for pictures. Someone even painted him into a mural, down on Guadalupe Street (The Drag). He was fairly well-known for his run-ins with the police and has in the past carried signs around, protesting some abuse or other (“I was down on my luck and the Austin Police stole my purse!). He was someone who made Austin for me. I’d see him once and a while and think, “Keep Austin Weird” and smile.

I guess it’s too much to expect that a city growing as fast as Austin could keep its culture. The city is touted as the Live Music Capital of the World, but the fact is, a lot of people came simply because they found a job. Some came because they heard it was a cool place. But they came from a more conservative place and don’t actually like the things that made the city cool. Bohemians are just scruffy people to them. Music is noise. Someone like Leslie is just another weird panhandler to them. Folks who come in from the country probably have a more insulting name for him.

Austin used to be a city that loved its freaks, a city that embraced creative, odd people. There are plenty of people around who still get it, but they are in danger of being overwhelmed by the people who don’t.

I say, don’t let it happen. If you’re a freak and you want to be one, go for it. Don’t be intimidated. If you’re someone with the old liberal Austin mindset who likes having those folks around, stand up for them. Austin is still a unique place with a lot to offer. Looks like we’re just going to have to try harder to keep it that way.

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