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- Posted by Jessica Robertson
At what age did you begin to question your sexuality?
At five. I always knew that something wasn't right. I never had a physical attraction to boys. I can know when a boy is handsome and when they are charming. I dated a boy for three years in high school. It wasn't hard for me, but it just never felt OK. But when I was five, I remember that I was afraid of God. I was certainly afraid of going to Hell.
Was your family particularly religious?
I think every family in Arkansas is religious by association because it's just everywhere. If you just drive down the street, there are these huge billboards every mile that say, "God is watching you" -- like a generic brand or something. And you'll keep driving and a mile away there will be one that says, "Are you ready?" I mean, that stuff is so real. You can't help it -- you can't escape it. It's like advertising. That is probably the most booming business in Arkansas besides Wal-Mart.
Do you remember your first girl crush?
That's really difficult, because I think in retrospect, I was really upset about it but I didn't know why. You'll talk to a lot of gay people about it -- that feeling where you get so mad when your friends who were girls had boyfriends but not understanding why. You're like, 'Why aren't you hanging out with me now?' Well, one of my friends married my brother, and it was really upsetting for me. I was like 15 or 16 when this happened, but I was so upset and I didn't understand why. And that was [because I was gay], I think. That happened with a lot of my friends. It wasn't like I was picturing them naked in the shower, but I would get this really weird possessiveness over them. I didn't act on it. That was it. And I had a crush on our first drummer for a really long time.
Do you remember your first real relationship?
Yeah, I was 18 and we broke up when I was 19. Her name was Melanie Shelton. And she was a fat bitch, which was really great. We had a lot of fun. She was really mean, but not bad mean -- bitchy mean. She was so funny.
Who did you first come out to?
Well, this kid said that he was bisexual and I was probably 14, and said, "You know, I think I am, too." And then I told my mom when I was 15. I had a crush on someone and I was really upset. I didn't understand. I had a boyfriend and I was completely torn up over it. I was just like, "Mom, I think I have a crush on someone, and it feels really bad and I feel guilty." She was just like, "Well, who is it? It can't be that bad." And I was like, "It's a girl." She didn't ask who, but said, "It'll be OK."
Is the rest of your family OK with it?
Oh, yeah, my family is amazingly hilarious. Totally rad. I have a really cool family.
So you can bring your partner home.
I can. I've only brought my partner now home twice, but only for a day. And then I brought my first girlfriend home for a week when I was 19 and it was horrible. She didn't know what to expect from a Southern family; she was from the Northwest and kinda middle class. We're totally trailer park so she was so culture shocked. She didn't have a really good time.
Do you have any other gay family members?
I have some distant gay family members. My little sister -- my baby sister, the flaming bisexual. At least that's what I like to call her. I'm not going to put any weird thing on her sexuality, but we'll see how it turns out.
Tell me about your first experience at a gay bar.
Oh, my God: There's this place that defined me for a really long time. It was a moment of reckoning. Gossip used to play at this placed called the Fox's Lounge and they had a drag show. I think the way that I dress, to this day, is a rip-off of this person named Jackie Hill, who was just this drag queen who would stuff her belly and make herself look really fat. It didn't even look good or real -- it just looked like she had a pillow in her shirt. She would wear black all around her eyes and wear lipstick all the way out to here [pointing to her cheeks], and would rat her hair out really big. I seriously dressed just like her. But that was my first real gay bar experience. It was amazing. I was 18 and I was wasted out of my mind.
One of your songs, 'Standing in the Way of Control' is in response to the U.S. government's opposition to gay marriage. What about gay marriage is so threatening?
That's a really good question. I think there are a lot of religions that are really threatened by it. The powers that be ... if you start to recognize it as a real thing, you legitimize it and validate it. It kind of debunks Christianity. But that's such a good question. It's gonna take a long time for it to unfold in my brain.
Should it be legalized, would you ever get married?
I don't think so. Wearing the dress sounds really nice, but I don't think so. I've been with the same person for a really long time. [Marriage] is just a lot to live up to. And leaving something open -- not an open relationship but not having a label for it -- sounds really nice.
How do you feel about your sexuality today?
I feel really good about it. It's not even a thing.