Lessons from a Queen with Tanner Gilman | Episode 15

Lessons from a Queen with Tanner Gilman | Episode 15

In this episode, we get to peek behind the curtain of a drag queens story and life. In addition to Tanner's story, we talk drag-culture. make-up and how love can save lives.  Tanner is a small town drag queen named Oso Aqua Velvet. He was born into the Mormon church to a teenage mom who raised him with help from her parents in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho.  Tanner is a theater major and, it is his exploration of the world of theater led him to drag and to becoming an activist within the LGBTQ+ community.

You can follow him on Facebook at Tanner Owen Gilman or follow the Queen on tiktok or instagram @osoaquavelvet.

Follow Kimber on instagram @justbeyourbadself 

For more extensive show notes, resources, and transcripts, please visit www.justbeyourbadself.com

Transcript

Lessons From a Queen

[00:00:00] Kimber: Welcome back to the,Just Be Your Bad Self podcast , where you are worthy of love just the way you are. I'm your host Kimber Dutton, and today I'm talking to LGBTQ plus activist and drag queen Tanner Gilman.

[00:00:14] Tanner is a small town drag queen named Oso Aqua velvet. He was born into the Mormon church to a teenage mom who raised him with help from her parents in Pocatello, Idaho.

[00:00:25] In my last episode, I revealed that the through line of my podcast is love. Learning to love ourselves and each other. Sometimes we need an outsider's perspective to learn to love ourselves. And sometimes we need an insider's perspective to learn to love someone else. That's what this episode is.

[00:00:43] In this episode, you get the opportunity to look through someone else's eyes and maybe really see them. If we can really see each other, we can learn to love each other. And as Tanner says, if we can love each other. We can save each other.

[00:00:59] Kimber:

[00:00:59] Tanner. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

[00:01:03] Tanner: Well, thank you, Kimber.

[00:01:05] Kimber: I'm just so excited to listen to your story let's jump right in. I'm excited to get into this

[00:01:11] Childhood

[00:01:11] Tanner: So high was as a kid.

[00:01:13] My grandma told me a story about a time when I was four or five years old.

[00:01:17] And I had come up from downstairs from my aunt's bedroom and I was wearing one of her dresses that she had left in the cause. And she told me, she said, you better go take that dress off before your grandfather sees you at it.

[00:01:30] I was always that kid that loved playing with dolls with the girls.

[00:01:34] I had a lot more girlfriends. And once I got into high school, that was not Okay.

[00:01:39] Because , when you have all these girlfriends and hanging out with all these girls, you're the gay kid and my freshman year of high school I faced so much bullying and it was just kind of sad.

[00:01:52] I didn't understand who I was yet and I just, I never understood, like, why are they calling me basically a girl? Why, why am I, why am I being put into this label? And I never understood why they were degrading me until later until I understood about who I fully was.

[00:02:12] Tanner Gets his Drag on

[00:02:12] Tanner: During high school, I had to make the choice of where to go to college. I always loved St. George we'd always go to Vegas on trips growing up. And so we've always stopped through St. George. I've really come to love that area. And that's where I decided to go.

[00:02:28] I went down to Dixie state and I had to meet all these new people and I wasn't quite ready for what I was going to get myself into. That town is. I thought, I thought I lived in a town that had a lot of judgment for not being Mormon.

[00:02:46] When I first came out and being different than everybody else. But St. George, , let me tell you, there are a lot more conservative than what we are up here in Pocatello. And I found that out the hardest. The major part of my story when I was at Dixie state university studying theater, I also was the vice president of the LGBTQ club.

[00:03:06] And one of the biggest activities that we chose to do was that we were going to host the very first Dixie sate drag show. That was a big. And that was my first time kind of being introduced to drag. I got to meet some fabulous drag Queens that some of our peers had brought down from salt lake. And that was my first time actually being in the same room with a real drag queen my first time doing drag, it was so bad. It was so bad.

[00:03:38] The makeup was so blotchy the wigit was so ratted, I had this oversized dress that just stranded me. I had no clue what I was doing. I just. So it's like, I'm going to dress like a girl and I'm going to get onstage and I'm going to lip-sync to I'm coming out. That was my whole big deal

[00:03:58] It went off without , without a hit, it was one of the biggest shows that we've had. Every single seat was. I was shocked about how great of attorney, because Dixie state had never had a drag show before

[00:04:13] and so it was a huge deal. It was a huge deal. During that as me being the vice president of the LGBTQ club on campus, they had me get up in , how.

[00:04:24] Three minute quick. Talk about thanking everybody for coming and suicide awareness and being an ally. And, well, I was in tears by the end of this little three minute talk that I had to give everyone. And I'm up there in drag, makeup running, the worst makeup in the world. And let's just say, I've come a long way since then.

[00:04:45] Two weeks after that, the newspaper had aired a article on, on the drag show and the comments just started flooding. And we had to deal with Dixie state air and public relations. And it was a mess. People were criticizing the school saying they didn't want their kids to go there because they were hosting drag shows and these lifelong alumni of the school won't be giving their payments anymore to them their donations. And once I started seeing those comments I was like, this is why kids don't survive. I fortunately with the bullying in high school and in , my church, I could take it. , I didn't care at this time I was ready to be myself and I was going to be a person for change.

[00:05:38] And so I had a couple other people within the club that were really down about it, but me, I so strong and I was like their words may hurt, but we can be stronger. I actually found a quote from Sylvia Rivera, she says we have to do it because we could no longer stay invisible. We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are. And that quote has stuck with me for quite a while since that day that I told my group of peers that we're not going to let these people bully us into a corner.

[00:06:14] I've always been told that you go somewhere and do something for a reason. And my short time in St. George doing theater and being a major, major, major piece within the LGBTQ community on campus was huge.

[00:06:31] It was, it was really huge. And I was there not for myself, but other people. And that's what I believe.

[00:06:38] COVID and going Back to Idaho

[00:06:38] Tanner: And then I got sent home from school. Because of how bad COVID was getting. So I had to come home and finish my degree online and october 9th, 2020, I turned 21 and I got to go inside my first gay club. And this was a huge thing. It was one of the scariest slash happiest moments of my life. Cause I didn't know what I was walking into. I didn't know what I was going to be getting myself in. It's my 21st birthday.

[00:07:11] And we went and saw a drag show at our, our gay bar here in town here in Pocatello. And let's just say, I have not left ever since. I started showing up in drag just to come to shows and just to hang out and I just started dressing like a girl and just showing up and, and I just. I just felt good there.

[00:07:37] I felt like I had a place to be, and I had allies and I had like LGBTQ peers.

[00:07:45] I did a year of mamma Mia and the drag Queens here at our bar found out that I was a theater performer, and I was already kind of dabbling in drag and just showing up in drag.

[00:07:57] And so they asked me, Hey, do you want to just start performing with us? And so I hit the ground running, no clue what I was doing. No clue. And so I started performing at the bar and quickly found out who I was

[00:08:16] What is Drag

[00:08:16] Kimber: I feel like we need some background info here because most of our listeners and I do not know drag culture at all. What is drag, who comes and does drag?

[00:08:26] And what's the appeal of drag because you know, I've already interviewed Ana who is a transgender woman, but drag is, is something completely separate from that? Correct.

[00:08:36] Tanner: correct. It is. It is.

[00:08:37] Kimber: So let's talk about that a little before we keep going in your story to give us a little context here.

[00:08:42] Tanner: For sure. I feel like some people might need that. I sometimes get lost because I'm so caught up in the world. That is my world. And I forgot some people don't understand. So what is drag drag is just to break it down for you. Drag is an man or a woman dressing up as the opposite gender. So there could be drag Queens, drag Queens, which is a.

[00:09:06] Male dressing up as a female or a drag king, which is a female dressing up as a male. And with drag, what we do is we, we do many variety shows where we lip sync or live, sing two songs. And we have just different little acts that we put on and we entertain audiences within, within that. So it's really, it's like going and watching a theater show, but it is.

[00:09:34] 100% opposite sexes dressing up as the opposite sex. And it's normally takes place within a bar or one of the best examples as I've mentioned earlier is RuPaul's drag race. That's one of the biggest televised versions of drag is RuPaul's drag race and they compete against each other to earn a title of top queen within their season of RuPaul's drag race. So within the drag community, we have a matriarch system. So we have our little families and within our little families, there are just different roles that we play. So within my community here in Pocatello, we have one top matriarch and, and I think every city has one top matriarch that kind of rules, the city that everybody looks up to just like in RuPaul's Dragrace , everybody looks up to RuPaul. She is kind of like the big mama and our town. We have Spike Naugahyde. She has been doing it for 24 years and she has seen it all and done it all. And she's helped everyone. Personally within my family. I have this really small drag family.

[00:10:48] I have, this is three of us, my drag mom and my drag brother and me. And so my drag mom, she actually holds the current title of Ms. Gay, Idaho 39. So she is the 39th Ms. Gay, Idaho. So there's a pageant. We hold and you compete for the title of it's like Ms. Gay, Utah, Ms. Kay, Idaho. And then they can go on and it's just like the miss America pageant pretty much if you think of it that way, but within the gay community for drag Queens.

[00:11:20] And then they can go on and compete for miss Ms. Gay USA.

[00:11:25] Kimber: So just to clarify a little bit more when you dress in drag is this, like, this is like your alter ego. Is that kind of what you, how you look at it?

[00:11:38] Tanner: it really is an alter ego. I have had people ask me time and time again. Well, do you feel like you're transgender and. My, my answer to them is always no. I've always liked dressing up, just like going back to the story when I was four or five years old coming upstairs. And my grandma's seeing in my, seeing me in my aunt's dress, it kind of ties back to that.

[00:11:59] I just sometimes within the gay community, Some gay men, there are some lesbian women just feel a little bit, either more masculine or feminine, and these just kind of tap into that side. And so this is, it is my alter ego. Osso Aqua Velva is my alter ego. She, she is, oh my gosh.

[00:12:22] Expensive. That's what she is. She is expensive. I get paid pretty well in tips at the bar. When I'm there, people call me "She" when I'm in drag, I've started to notice being outside of drag being at the bar, people have just started calling me Osso which is my drag name. And I started getting called "she" outside of drag and I'm like, okay, cool.

[00:12:47] Like, Yeah.

[00:12:48] I'm a Queen, like cool. And I have had people tell me my, my, actually, my boyfriend's grandma right now said that. She thinks it's a disrespect to women. And let me tell you I have had so many women tell me, they're like, can you come and teach me how to do makeup? Because a lot of women are basic.

[00:13:10] I only know how to do foundation and eyeliner and mascara and throw on a lip. And we're over here, doing contour and shadow and highlights. And it is major. It takes me two hours to put on my face. For a show.

[00:13:24] Take-Aways

[00:13:24] Kimber: I think there's so much that the straight community can learn from drag because queer people don't have the monopoly on having a masculine and a feminine side. Right. We all have masculinity and femininity, but I think. Straight people. We kind of cut ourselves off in a lot of ways from that other side of us, because probably because we don't want to be identified as queer.

[00:13:54] Right. And I think the queer community is so they're so on the front lines of in fact, this is something that. Ana in that, in that episode where she talked about her story, she mentioned the podcast, the men enough podcast with Aloke . And I didn't listen to that podcast until several weeks after the podcast episode I did with her.

[00:14:16] Kimber (2): But it's changed my life because Aloke is a, an again, anybody listening to this, I can't recommend this episode highly enough, but Aloke is a non-binary person. Who

[00:14:28] Kimber: identifies as non-gendered and wears makeup. And, and they said something that just blew my mind, which is

[00:14:35] How did they put it?

[00:14:37] The queer community? Non-binary people, trans people, gay people are all on the front lines for all of us. To be able to be who we are and that there should be as many different ways to be. As there are men and here we are trying to fit everybody in these tight little boxes and fighting for our own limitations.

[00:15:01] Right? These people that showed so much hate to your drag show at Dixie of all they're doing is fighting for their own limitations, right? no, that's not acceptable for men to be in touch with their feminine side. And makeup is totally a made up construct. Anyways, men used to wear makeup in Egypt and France and England, and it's only these made up constructs that we've made it a masculine or feminine or whatever thing.

[00:15:30] And I think it's so cool that the queer community. Is really stepping up to the plate for all of us and taking the hits for everyone to say, no, it is okay to show up and do what makes you happy and be in touch with the, both the masculine and the feminine and whatever side of you you want to show.

[00:15:48] I just, I think that's really cool. And I think we have a lot, I think straight people like to cut ourselves off from. But we have so much to learn and we don't understand that, that, like I said, the queer community is fighting for us. And then here we are throwing shade on them.

[00:16:08] Tanner: Yeah, it is really sad. , I don't, I don't disrespect you for being straight. I don't care. , I don't think it should matter what you do in your time and what I do in my time, as long as we love and respect one another for who we are as a human and. Yeah, I may be hotter than your wife when I put on a face, , I'm sorry.

[00:16:31] Like, and the, and your wife will admit to it. I have had straight allies come to the bar and tell me, they're like, you need to teach my wife how to do makeup. , I want my wife to look this way and I'm like, well, that's sad that you're asking me that, but at the same time it's well, what if, what if she doesn't want to wear a face like this

[00:16:55] Kimber: Exactly.

[00:16:57] Tanner: And so I don't think that there should be this line of every woman should have to wear a full face of makeup every day, because they don't want to, because because of their, they're comfortable with not wearing a full face of makeup, there are some women that put on a face of makeup because they're scared of not wearing makeup because they're scared of what their face looks like, which is wrong.

[00:17:17] Like me. I don't wear a full face of makeup every day. I only wear makeup when I'm. I it's too much work. If I had to get up every morning for two hours before I had to go to work to put on a face of makeup, , I don't think I would want to do it. So even if I was a woman and doing makeup every day, I would probably be basic and simple too.

[00:17:38] It takes a lot of work and a lot of work.

[00:17:42] Kimber: Yeah, my dream is to put on makeup the way you do, which is maybe in your everyday life. Not wear any, I don't like wearing makeup, but occasionally I like we in my house, we, we call it fancy. Right? I like to get fancy. That's what I teach my daughter. Makeup doesn't necessarily make you more beautiful.

[00:17:59] It's just a fancy thing we do. And to be able to have an event or something. Take the time on my makeup and my dress and not have to be put in this box of, oh, she never wears makeup. So she can't ever wear makeup or, oh, there's this expectation to look like that every day. Right?

[00:18:18] Tanner: Yeah, makeup should not define. They should not define who you are as a person. And that's something that when I first started, I had to really teach myself how to do makeup. And I, I did lean on some other women first to teach me how to do the basics.

[00:18:34] But then other than that, I started watching YouTube tutorial after YouTube tutorial, after YouTube tutorial on how to do better drag makeup and. If women drew their eyebrows, where us drag Queens do our eyebrows, you would think that they were always surprised. So trust me, you don't want, you don't want this whole clown face every time you walk out on the street, cause people will be like, what is she doing?

[00:18:58] We're going to take a quick break from this episode to tell you that now it's your turn to just be your bad self. If you're looking for a safe space where you can feel like you are enough, just the way you are. Come join me at one of my retreats, where we do fun activities and workshops that center around authenticity.

[00:19:16] And self-love. You can get more information about these events and purchase tickets on my website. Just be your best self.com. And with that, let's get back to the episode.

[00:19:29] Tanner: within drug, there's some drag Queens that do some really risky stuff. I've only dabbled in that a little bit. I'm not super, super, super risque. Like some of the other Queens, I try to keep it more moderate. Sometimes I'll slip a naughty, joke here and there, but I try to keep it more family friendly so that when I'm posting some of my videos online, that they're not super terrible.

[00:19:51] So that kids Can be able to see it. And that's another thing that I really loved this year. I went to pride prior to hoe it's Pocatello pride. We had about 2000 people show up to our fairgrounds and I got to perform two different numbers there. And there were more kids than that festival.

[00:20:09] And a lot of them were teenagers that were out and proud and true to themselves. And so. It's just hard because I've never really seen it that way. Cause I was never within the LGBTQ community really growing up and seeing other younger kids be out and either have parents that are LGBTQ or be LGBTQ themselves or just gender fluid or just queer in general.

[00:20:37] It was really inspiring

[00:20:39] Kimber: I want to talk about this for a second, because I personally know people who will say something like, I'm fine with gay people. They can do their thing, but I don't want to expose my child to that.

[00:20:53] Tanner: Yes.

[00:20:53] Yes.

[00:20:54] Kimber: Can we talk about this and why this is an important issue?

[00:20:59] Tanner: Yeah, for sure. And I, I have a prime example for that same reason, and this actually kind of relates back to pride

[00:21:07] this year. It's huge. It's not like I'm trying to turn your straight child gay. That's, that's not, that's not what our goal is. That's not what the gay agenda is. I don't even know what the gay agenda is.

[00:21:19] I think that's a made up term. I'm not out there trying to preach And spread the gay, you know what I mean? I'm just trying to stand for equality and the best way that we can support equality is by having our children be. Exposed to at a young age. And if we're showing out at a young age to our children, that we love and support these people and that these people are that they can be good people.

[00:21:46] Of course, every group has a couple of bad apples to the bunch. We all do. Any religion, any group, anything, how's it feel about that? , that's not, not, everybody's going to be bad. And like I said, when I, when I go back to trying to keep it family friendly, as much as I can it's so that we can have the children see it so that they can be exposed to it.

[00:22:07] I have a friend up here within the theater community that she has her daughter watch my shows . And she hasn't, how's it look at my pictures. And she actually came up to me at pride and she gave me this drawing that she did of me and she hugged me and she said, I love you so much, Aqua you're my favorite drag queen ever.

[00:22:27] And so she has her kids watch RuPaul's drag race. They don't have to like it. They don't have to watch it, but she watches RuPaul's drag race and she exposes her kids to it. And I just think it's really sad. People are sheltering sheltering their children because they think it's bad because of a religion or just an ideal thought of them not, not liking the queer community because they're, they are, they are homophobic.

[00:22:53] So.

[00:22:55] Kimber: And I think that, I think that term homophobic, I see. That, that fearful part of it, right? The phobia part of it. I think it is it's fear for so many things. And when people don't, when they say like, I don't want to expose my kids, I think it's a fear. I think it's a fear. I think it's a fear of a lot of things, but you know, if their child is queer or wants to explore things like that, parents don't know how to handle that.

[00:23:24] Or they might be scared for their own child's safety. They don't want their child to go through the bullying and trauma that you've been through. Right. There's so many things to be scared of. And I think, I think that's totally what it is when people say that they're just afraid. They don't know how to handle it.

[00:23:41] They don't know. They haven't been exposed to it, therefore. Yeah. It's just super uncomfortable. And they would rather just look the other way and yeah. Do your thing. But I am going to stay in my bubble because this is where I'm safe and comfortable. And I don't have to think about these things

[00:23:58] Tanner: Well in the something is as if, if we were to all be exposed to it, there wouldn't be as much bullying. The kids I was bullied by were, were, were LDS. And they, they were never exposed to another gay person before. , I think that I was some people's first gay person that they ever met within the church, , because they weren't exposed to it growing up.

[00:24:20] And so it's really, it really is sad if we would have more exposure with. Within the LGBTQ community and, and being able to be more out and proud. That's why I don't care. I do not care who sees my stuff online. I, I just going back to that quote by Sylvia Rivera, it's, don't be ashamed. Don't be ashamed of you.

[00:24:44] People are going to say what they're going to say, but now at this point, I don't care. I've had enough bullying and traumatic experiences in my life that I don't care anymore because I'm going to keep pushing and being the person who I am for those who need me. I am not doing this just for me. I'm also doing it for. For the community and trained to help be an LGBTQ activist in my area. I will walk out on town and we'll do photo shoots and stuff, and I will walk our downtown and drag. And of course yeah I've gotten looks but then other people come up and want to take pictures with me and want to get to know me.

[00:25:22] And get my social media, you know what I mean? And some of these people have never even come to the bar and I've heard lots of Mormon people here in my area that are a little bit more accepting you like, Hey, how do you do that makeup? Or, or , you're so pretty. And it makes you wonder if some of them even know that I am a drag queen, or if they just think I'm a higher personality.

[00:25:43] Cause sometimes you can't tell when I'm in drag. Sometimes you cannot tell them I'm a man. So. And I'm feminine, I'm feminine as it is. And so once I get into drag, it's even more feminine and I sound like I'm going around and screaming at the top of my lungs and being like all this sass, . No so it's.

[00:26:03] It really is important that we expose our children to the LGBTQ community and that we expose them to trans individuals and we expose them to drag Queens and the queer community. And that's what I think pride is so important. PRI pride festivals are so important because that is probably one of the first, first, first ways that you can do it.

[00:26:24] And there's actually a group up here in my area that I have not been asked to join yet. They're called Reading Time with the Queens and they go to the library once a month. And these group of Queens, they do reading time with children. And when they first started, they got so much ridicule from the LDS community.

[00:26:43] And they're like, well, you don't have to bring your child. They released a statement saying, well, if you don't want to bring your child, you'll have to bring your child. It's not like we're trying to force your children to come to this reading time. If you don't want your children to become, they don't have to.

[00:26:58] This is a free event that we're hosting that we're spending our time. Because there are some parents out there that want to expose their children to this, and they're teaching them great lessons. The one drag queen is actually deaf and she teaches her and her husband actually teach ASL. And so they're teaching, they're doing reading time.

[00:27:19] They're teaching ASL teaching about the queer community and it's not like we're shoving pornography into these people's faces. We're like, that's not what they're doing. They just want to expose them to, Hey, look, they're these drag queens . And they're going to read a book with you and do a craft. It's, it's very important, , and they've done a wonderful job of doing that group.

[00:27:42] And so Yeah.

[00:27:44] Kimber: Yeah, they're humanizing a marginalized group of people. Right? I think we, we haven't, you've mentioned it a little bit in the beginning. When you did your drag show in St. George, but this issue of. Suicides, right. It's a huge issue. And it's a really huge issue within the LDS community, because on the one hand we preach unconditional loves your, your infinite worth.

[00:28:10] But out of the other side of our mouth, we're saying you get unconditional love and you have infinite worth only if you meet this criteria. Right.

[00:28:20] Tanner: If you

[00:28:20] meet this criteria totally.

[00:28:23] Kimber: And that's where this is so important because when you expose your kids to all different kinds of people, you're telling your kid, in my opinion, you're telling your kid, I love you, whoever you are you don't have to check all my boxes of what I think makes a good life. You can find out what makes you happy, and I will love you.

[00:28:45] And when you hide your kid from things like this, the lesson they are learning is okay. That is bad. That is bad. That is bad. If I identify with any of those things, I am bad and I don't get my parents love. who, what your kid identifies as is not in your control. What is in your control is how much you love them and how you show them that everyone.

[00:29:12] Is worthy of love. And even though it is scary and you may not understand, and you may not identify with someone who is gay or trans or in this LGBTQ community, there is a high likelihood that you are going to have a relative, a child, a nephew, a friend, a friend's child who identifies as LGBTQ.

[00:29:37] And you don't want to be teaching your kids to not love those people or that they aren't worthy of

[00:29:42] Tanner: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it is a major thing. So growing up, I was exposed to a couple of gay gay individuals that my mom was friends with. And so they would come over and they would hang out at the house and. I watched these, these two men kiss. And at the time I thought it was bad because I was still going to church on Sundays and grandma and grandpa.

[00:30:10] And so I was like, eww mom, why are these guys kissing? And because grandma and grandpa said, that's bad. And my mom was trying to teach me that no, that's not bad. They love each other, two men can love each other. And so my mom was trying to teach me that at a young age because my mom. Had been exposed as a, as a young age to a couple of people that.

[00:30:32] were gay.

[00:30:32] And she had had friends that were gay. And so when I was at mom's house, they were, they were over and they were, they were, so she was exposing me to it. But at the same time, I would, I would go back to grandma and grandpas to go to church. And I was told. These two, these two men are, they're not, they're not living the way that that God wants us to, and it was bad and no not being who I am today.

[00:30:58] I'm like, I know my, my aunt and uncle that are super religious, probably say the same thing about me when they, when their kids go home, because that's how my, my aunt and uncle were raised. And so. I was always wearing my family. We have a lot of LDS and a lot of now LDS. And so we have get togethers.

[00:31:19] I am the queer cousin and there's only two of us that are queer me and my cousin that we actually live together. She's non she is. Gender fluid. So they are gender, gender fluid by group as a sheet. So it's really hard. And they helped me with all my wigs and they helped me with drag a lot. And so when we go to family, get togethers, we make sure that we are. We don't care. We're not, we're not going to hold back. We're gonna let our, our cousins , see who we are as people and that we are, we are trying to be that influence of , Hey, people can be who they want to be and they can. I have lot of , my grandma loves me unconditionally since then they've softened their hearts and who's going to hate someone like me.

[00:32:10] They unconditionally.

[00:32:12] Kimber: I love that.

[00:32:13] Tanner: Yeah.

[00:32:13] They, at first when I went to college, I, my mom told me, she said, so grandpa called me today. And he told me that he wishes that you would just find a girl and that this is. And I got home for summer break one year. And I told grandma and grandpa, I staying at their house actually.

[00:32:31] And I told grandma and grandpa, I said, grandma, this is how I feel. This is who I am as a person. , I'm not going to change that. I know. And my grandma's started crying with me and it was. The first breakthrough I'd had with them, because I thought that they loved me, but they didn't live a part of me.

[00:32:51] And now I know they love the whole me.

[00:32:53] So. It's it's one of those things is, is if we can love our children unconditionally and love them for who they are, we're gonna make the world of difference. And we're going to decrease the amount of suicides within the world. Every year our, our bar that. We do drag out. They actually do a suicide awareness pageant, and I was a part of it this year.

[00:33:18] And I actually helped organize that. Cause my drag mom was the person in charge of it this year. And so. We did a whole fundraiser event type thing for suicide awareness and we had allies come and it was just, it was a nice night. We had people get up and tell their stories about how they were saved or how they were, how they were close to committing suicide.

[00:33:42] Someone reached out to them and tried to help them and just show the basic kind of love of it and caring, compassionate that humans can. It's just sad that some humans can bring other humans to the point of thinking of they do not need to live on this earth any longer. And I, and I will be honest.

[00:33:58] I've been there. I have been in that situation where I felt like I wasn't enough. I couldn't live any longer. And I was just going to try and take my life and I've surpassed that. And I am now where I am now. And I'm a stronger individual today. And let me just say, it's, it's hard. It's hard being in that place of like, is my family gonna love me?

[00:34:24] And are they going to support me for who I am? And. And my am I going to be ridiculed ? Or am I going to be cast away? Like my first boyfriend was like, I'm just blessed to be put into the place where I am today so I can help other people.

[00:34:39] Kimber: That's so powerful. So if there's one message or takeaway that you want to leave our listeners with today, what would that be?

[00:34:50] Tanner: My greatest takeaway, I would like to leave with our listeners or your listeners today is that. Do what Jesus would do and just love one another unconditionally, love one another and support and uplift each other. Uplifting one another is probably one of the simplest, easiest things you can do, but also it can be hard.

[00:35:14] It can be hard if, if your mind is stuck into a place where it's. It is just just blocked and some, some people just have blinders on, but if we can learn to love one another, we can save each other.

[00:35:28] Thanks for joining me today. To get more nurturing around living an authentic life. You can follow me on Instagram at just be your bad self. Or subscribe to my weekly newsletter@justbeyourbadself.com. Your invitation this week. Find a way to show love to someone you don't understand or flat out disagree with. That may be as simple as a kind word, or maybe even holding back that biting diatribe you're itching to post on Facebook. There's always something to love about a person. Try to keep your focus there.

[00:36:09] If you enjoyed this podcast and want to leave a review, subscribe to the podcast or share it. You have my heart. Remember you are enough right now in this moment. That's it for me now. Just be your bad self.

[00:36:28]

Tanner Gilman | Oso Aqua Velvet Profile Photo

Tanner Gilman | Oso Aqua Velvet

Drag Queen

Tanner is a small town drag queen named Oso Aqua Velvet. He was born into the Mormon church to a teenage mom who raised him with help from her parents in the small town of Pocatello, Idaho.  Tanner is a theater major and, it is his exploration of the world of theater led him to drag and to becoming an activist within the LGBTQ+ community.