Interview #1

Below is an interview that I had with my friend Johnny Beso about cross-dressing and homosexuality. Johnny is a photographer from Orange County, California and has photographed famous drag queens such as Yara Sofia , Rhea LitrePatrickStarrr and Kim Chi. You can find more of his work on Instagram @thejohnnybeso.

–  What is your sexual orientation?          Homosexual

– Do you feel like homosexuality can be a choice?          No, because it’s very easy to wear black or blue, do drugs, eat well…. But sexuality is something that comes from within you – it’s just something you feel. It’s a natural feeling.

– Do you feel that your gender identity (personal belief in belonging to a particular sex) is either a male or female?          Both – I identify with both sexes.

– How do your parents feel about your lifestyle choice?          They don’t agree with it and they’ve never agreed. When they found out I was dressing up, they threw all my things away. They tried to use religion to tell me what I was doing is bad, but I can’t help who I am.

– Have you dealt with any homophobia from your peers? (coworkers, friends, family, random strangers) If so, can you share an experience and/or tell us how you have dealt with these issues?          We live in America, honey… of course. Some of my friends don’t agree with it but they’ve warmed up to it because of my personality. I just hold my head high and stay positive. I love myself and am proud of who I am.

– Did people verbally judge you, and if so, what did they say?          Of course. When I lived in LA and I went to the straight clubs, I would be walking and people would call me a fag. I would also get compliments from people or people would shout, “You’re hot! I want you!” One of my gay friends said it’s weird that I like to dress as a girl sometimes… he just doesn’t get it.

– Do you feel that your appearance alters the way people view you, knowing that you are male/female?          I gender bend so people don’t really know how to handle it. It’s confusing to a lot of people, but whatever… let them think about it. Give them something new to think about.

– At what age did you begin dressing this way and what inspired you?          In my early 20s. I started for Halloween one year and just fell in love with myself in the mirror. I looked like a hooker… I looked like Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls…. I wore a leather skirt with a red corset and high heels of course.

– How have the recent changes in society (the acceptance of homosexuality/laws/marriage) affected you?          I feel like transsexuals still get more benefits… once you legally change your sex it’s so much easier to get married. One of my friends just got married. I LOVED my ex, but I don’t know if I ever want to get married.

– What do you feel like when you dress in drag? Do you alter your personality as well?          More feminine and flirty. I feel like it’s evolved since I first started gender bending. I cover up now more than I did before… it’s similar to who I am as a boy. I’ve always been very outgoing – it’s still the same when I’m her, I’m just more womanly. Like, I love Britney Spears and the Pussycat Dolls…. I guess I kind of emulate them.

– Do your close friends know about this and if so, are they supportive?         My closest friends are very supportive but most haven’t seen me as Angelica. I keep my stuff at my girlfriend’s house but she’s never seen me as Angelica; she loves me as Johnny… she begs me never to get boobs. I think she saw me once when she was drunk but she doesn’t remember.

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