Del LaGrace Volcano (they/them) was born Deborah Diane Wood in Orange, California in 1957. After Del’s father and mother separated, their childhood was split between Santa Maria, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their family was well-connected and they grew up with exposure to talented actors and musicians from an early age.
Del was born intersex but raised as a female. They struggled with the concept of gender and sexual preference when growing up, initially identifying as a lesbian. Del’s mother was part of a consciousness-raising group, and they had many lesbian friends who served as role models. However, they came out to themself as bisexual when they were 12.
Once Del entered puberty they were concerned about their gender identity. Along with thinking that maybe they weren’t really a girl, they had also started to grow a beard, which they plucked to keep hidden. At the age of 14, Del ran away from California to Key West, Florida and was on the streets for a while.
During their teenage years, Del discovered photography. They won a scholarship after school and studied film philosophy and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). While there, they were elected as the student body president and founded SFAI’s first LGB organization. However, despite this success, they dropped out to embark on a motorcycle road trip to New York City.
During the 1970s, Del was an out bisexual activist. In 1977, Del was arrested for protesting against Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant and spent a week in a former army camp with 250 women. This experience led them to embrace a lesbian identity and become a vegetarian.
They moved to London with their partner Mandy Sereny in 1982, where they would reside for 24 years. This is a move they consider one of their life’s pivotal moments, along with attaining their scholarship and dropping out to travel. For most of this period, they identified as a dyke, before coming out as genderqueer and intersex in the mid-1990s. This was a crucial period in Del’s life. After living the first 37 years of their life as a woman, they found freedom living as both male and female. Del then immigrated to Sweden in 2006 after falling in love and has remained there ever since.
Del has been living openly as a non-binary artist for over 25 years, particularly enjoying the progressive LGBT+ rights that Swedish culture allows. Their non-binary identity informs their work, which has been heavily influenced by sexual and gender fluidity. They became a proud parent at the age of 54 and then again at 57, and their two children identify as gender-neutral.
Currently, Del is writing their memoirs with the working title Memoirs of a Pussy-Licking Sodomite. They hope the memoir will allow them to have full control over telling their story.
They consider their most significant accomplishments to be finding the perfect person to help them have children and building a norm-resistant queer family.