"My name is Leslie, Leslie Cochran, but everybody knows me as Leslie. So, just for the record, as you can see, I'm a cross-dresser, I'm wearing my little cheerleader outfit, and I've got my stockings on with lips kissing all the way up - to give the guys ideas.
I went down to Florida, the coast. I had a real nice bikini. I used to travel in my bikini. I used to travel cross-country in my bikini. All these guys used to freak out. They'd say, 'Hey, nice bikini you’ve got on'. I'd say, yeah, it was the only bikini I’d got. Boy, what I lying bitch I was. I had more bikinis."
-Leslie, quoted from Audio Diaries (http://www.reikibush.org/trips/ext-audio.htm)
"This isn't about who has the best legs. It's about who is right on the issues. And I will beat him."
-Former Austin mayor
Kirk Watson, in political debate
Leslie is one of those lovable eccentrics that every city should have a few of. He's one of the most recognizable public figures in Austin, which his not surprising given his memorable appearance. Picture a grizzled old homeless man, with a wild head of hair and a full beard. And C Cup breasts. Wearing a short miniskirt, the better to show off his shaved legs. And with his trademark, a shopping cart covered over with cardboard signs decrying the police and giving his thoughts on the political issues of the day, proudly topped off with a placard from the Austin Chronicle, proclaiming him the city's "Best Eccentric".
Leslie immigrated to Austin from Seattle sometime in the mid-'90s, and rapidly became something of a symbol of the city. At one point, the local (and now largely defunct) tech startup Yclip.com used his picture as the center of a national recruiting campaign, the better to express the spirit of the city.
A common rumor on the University of Texas campus has it that the Leslie was a UT electrical engineering major who was driven mad by the stress, but Leslie says there's no truth in this; his only college was a few semesters at Florida State.
Inspired by his frequent hassling at the hands of the police, Leslie has run for mayor twice, on a platform of better treatment for the homeless (one of his ideas: tipi camps for them on unused land). In the 2000 election, he came in second to incumbent Kirk Watson, albeit with only 8% of the vote. This year, he slipped to only 3%, surprising since many local political observers had picked him as a strong second. I still voted for him.