ROSIE BUSH

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My sexual identity is gay and queer.

I’ve had a boyfriend that was biologically still a woman but was on the track to becoming a man. I would still consider myself gay because I’m not attracted to women, however, I am attracted to trans-men. I’m just attracted to men, however they were born. I’m attracted to the soul inside of the person. They know who they are and it radiates outward. Maybe that’s it. That’s the part I’m attracted to [the inside].

I think it’s wonderful that gender and sexual identity is being talked about so much today. I mean, I know things are not ideal by any means and possibly regressing, but when I was growing no one even talked about it at all. I grew up here (Arizona), but I’m originally from just outside of Columbus, Ohio. None of that was discussed—sex, sexuality, gender certainly not. [I grew up with] parents that didn’t really talk about anything. Only my sister and my aunt know that I do drag. Both my aunt and my uncle who just passed away were both gay and I never got to discuss that with them. I don’t even really talk to my aunt now about things. She just likes things on Facebook once in a while, but we’re not close. My mother made us not close and separated us. I got made fun of because I didn’t know about certain things or because I didn’t know much. I’m sure there’s a deep reason why she did that but I don’t know what it is. I don’t remember much of my childhood in general and it’s kind of weird. I’ll get to the bottom of it some day. I’m not that concerned. My mother doesn’t know I do drag, or at least if she does she doesn’t bring it up. She probably just thinks I want to be a woman or something. She doesn’t get it or understand much of anything outside of her world.

I had death threats growing up and oranges thrown at me every day at school. It is Phoenix and it was the west side and there’s a lot of orange groves over there, so they would fucking throw oranges at me. It hurt and it made me the angriest person in the world and I’m still angry. I’m still getting over that anger. It sort of toughens you in a way and I’m still alive, but I could’ve lived without it.

I found out about most things on my own, which is both good and bad I think.

I felt like the most naive person in the world. I didn’t even understand the jokes sometimes because I was just completely oblivious to the world and how to communicate with other people. My parents didn’t communicate, so I just didn’t really understand the whole idea of getting your feelings out. There wasn’t much emotional guidance. It’s a reason why I put off drag for most of my life. It informs my character, Rosie, too, because she’s so oblivious to others’ feelings. Growing up and not having a lot of friends allowed me to read and learn on my own. I really like learning languages. I can read Japanese, and I can pick out a lot from Japanese Anime. I love Japanese culture, I’ve always been obsessed with it. French, obviously because I [perform] songs in French, so I’m pretty good with it. [I’ve studied] Spanish and even a little but of Hindi and Sanskrit. I know some Hindu philosophy and I just think it’s fascinating. I’ve never been outside of the country and yet I know so much about other places because I’m so interested in other cultures.

I was always really intrigued with Asian religion and philosophy and also Native American because there is always that innate, no-separation between male and female. There’s a pinpoint where [gender] connects. There’s so many different shades of that, it’s not just black and white. I feel like I’ve always had aspects of both [genders] within me and I’ve never really expressed it much, probably [due to] cultural and societal conditioning that I’ve never really expressed any of that. I mean, I don’t feel like I’m trans. I’m definitely comfortable being a man and having a man’s body—maybe not this body (laughs)—but that’s everybody. I just like the idea of expressing femininity, which I’ve always thought I’ve had a lot of inside me. It’s nice to finally be able to [express] that. I [express] it through drag and I [express] it when I’m sitting at home wearing a kaftan at my Wiccan altar at home. It’s so incredible to finally delve into and appreciate the other side of my nature. It’s always come out in different things throughout my life, but now I feel like I can truly express it and be comfortable expressing it because it’s who I am and I’ve never really been comfortable with who I am until now. I feel good. I feel complete.

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[I started doing drag] only six months ago.

I started on the 4th of July. I put on a wig and it just felt right. Since then it’s just been progressive. It’s something I always thought about doing but never did. My own inner-conditioning and demons have always kept me from doing things that would’ve made me happy. I think I did [drag] at the right time of my life. It’s just divine timing. It just feels like I’m at the right point of my life to be able to handle it as well—and because Indica made me (laughs). That was just serendipitous.

I kept hearing all my life from people who I’ve always looked up to just follow your own road and to not pay attention to what anyone else is doing and it kinda makes sense to me now because it’s what I do [with drag]. I think what you idolize becomes what you are at some point. I look up to Jackie Beat and Coco Peru, those two are just amazing because they’re so funny and they have a brand to them and who they are. Tori Amos was always my goddess growing up and Kate Bush, obviously because of my name. That’s why I picked my name. I love Kate Bush and so I wanted to use “Bush” because it’s also so easy to make a pun off of. I love red hair, all of the goddesses of my life have always had red hair, like Tori Amos and Shirley Manson.

Rosie is a product of my perfectionism. I need to have everything polished and put together the way I want it before I present it to the world. Sometimes when I went on stage I felt really self-loathing and self-critical and I think it holds me back. For some reason, though, last night [when I performed] it just totally opened something up and I just emotionally went out there and did it with no hold. It was amazing. That performance has been the highest moment in my journey so far.

I went leaps and bounds in a very short amount of time in discovering where I am in my journey of self acceptance.

I suffer from pretty bad depression and slight bipolar disorder, so I have some pretty bad moments when I’m just extremely depressed. It affects my entire life and it affects my relationships with others. I just get in this zone, this rut, where I just can’t get out it. But eventually I do get out of it. I don’t know how, but I do. I think it just has to do with my swinging moods. I come to certain revelations on certain days where I’m just like, “Oh wait, what am I doing this for?” I realized over time that I can just decide to be happy if I want to, even if everything is horrible. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. Therapy is amazing and it helps to read up on whatever philosophy or—I hesitate to say religion because I’m not a religious person nor to I care for it—but read up on that stuff. Read things that help you understand who you are and help you be okay with chaos. Learn to deal with those people are just horrible because they’re always going to be there. Don’t let the anger consume you because it did me and it really fucks with your life. It will just ruin you as a person. Turn that anger into something else.

Drag has changed my life and it’s honestly hilarious to me.

Going from having absolutely no self worth, to realizing I’m pretty damn good at a lot of things has helped me immeasurably. I feel very different. I used to get anxiety just going to the grocery store. I hated even leaving the house at one point. When I lived in downtown San Francisco I wouldn’t leave the house unless I had to, but now I can go anywhere I want and I have the confidence to do it. Drag has helped me so much with my self confidence and discovering who I am.

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