Donnie Corker

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Donnie Corker
Born(1951-12-07)December 7, 1951
DiedSeptember 26, 2017(2017-09-26) (aged 65)

Donnie Corker, better known as Dirtwoman, (December 7, 1951 – September 26, 2017) was a cross-dresser living in Richmond, Virginia known for involvement in Richmond politics, arts, music, and food banks.[1] Corker additionally sold "Dirt-grams" during the holidays where he personally delivered messages and greetings.[2] Also well known as the human floral arrangement of the annual Hamaganza holiday rock n roll charity benefit show that for 20 years (1994) has paired Dirtwoman with a revolving cast of Richmond politicians, luminaries and journalists. He died in his sleep at age 65 on September 26, 2017, falling short of his stated goal to "die at 90, onstage".[3]


Corker grew up in the Oregon Hill neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. He was formerly a streetwalker and became locally known for his participation in Richmond food bank fund raisers such as Ham-a-Ganza.[4] Style Weekly noted that Corker was also known for minor controversies such as supposedly gate crashing the inauguration of then Mayor Douglas Wilder as well as "going to the bathroom in the back of a police car", from which incident his name stems.[5][6] Corker claimed that he had a press pass that he'd obtained from a WANT station manager, but was still escorted off of the property and arrested.[7]

Mayoral candidacy[edit]

In May 2008, Corker announced his intentions to run for the office of mayor in Richmond.[8][9] In an interview with, Corker described his reasons for running as "I think we need a change here in Richmond"[5] and stated that he would like to improve city schools and reduce spending.[10] However, Corker was eventually unable to collect the necessary amount of signatures to be included on the ballot and was taken out of the race.[11]

Felony conviction and voting rights[edit]

Corker had a previous felony conviction due to a sexual encounter in a public park, from which he lost the right to vote. Shortly after Tim Kaine took office, Corker petitioned Kaine for clemency and the restoration of his right to vote, which was granted after the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth found that he had no repeat offenses or DUI convictions in the time since his felony conviction.[10]

Elliot in the Morning[edit]

Dirtwoman and his family (mother and sister) were frequent callers on the Elliot in the Morning show for several years. He appeared as a special guest at station events. He often talked about his love life, political views, and his numerous health issues. The show aired a tribute to his mother, Mae Corker, when she died in 2005. After his death, a memorium tribute also ran on the morning of September 27, 2017 in celebration of Dirt's involvement with the show.

The Dirtwoman Documentary[edit]

In 2017. Jerry Williams (AKA TVJerry) started a feature-length documentary on Donnie called "Spider Mites of Jesus." After interviewing more than 70 people and acquiring previously unseen video and photos, he started post-production. He also launched the website to post progress reports. The documentary premiered at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, VA on November 3, 2018. The "hometown" premiere" was at the Richmond International Film Festival in April, 2019. It played a total of 6 festivals in the US and one in Durban, South Africa. The DVD and streaming versions are now available from the website.


  2. ^ "Forget the Ham, Dirtwoman Sells Holiday "Dirt-Grams"". Style Weekly. January 1, 1980. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Richmond cult figure Donnie "Dirt Woman" Corker dead at 65". WTVR CBS 6. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Dirt Woman fact and fiction". Style Weekly. January 1, 1980. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Meet The Candidates". May 13, 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  6. ^ "As Donnie Corker's friends produce a documentary of his strange and sordid life, Richmond's legendary drag queen looks back on three decades of infamy". Style Weekly. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  7. ^ Marschak, Beth. Lorch, Alex. Lesbian and Gay Richmond (Images of America: Virginia). Arcadia Publishing, 2008, p 81.
  8. ^ "Mayoral Politicking is a Drag". Governing. October 16, 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Enough Mudslinging, Dirtwoman for Mayor". Style Weekly. October 10, 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  10. ^ a b "'Dirtwoman' plans to run for mayor of Richmond". Richmond Times Dispatch. April 30, 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Mayor Dirtwoman? Nah". Style Weekly. April 30, 2008.

External links[edit]