RuPaul says we're born naked and the rest is drag, but drag doesn't have to be a dress and high heels. Drag can be re-creating a costume from a comic book, or go-go dancing in a jockstrap, or letting someone turn you into something not entirely human.
This week's guest on The Sewers of Paris (a podcast about the entertainment that's changed the lives of gay men) is artist and performer Tyler Rush. You might know him from his new kink-centric YouTube series, Watt's the Safe Word; or as Pup Amp, as he's known in the fetish community.
As grown-up identities go, Rush and Amp are both a long way from the quiet Catholic school kid who hid from constant teasing by playing videogames in his basement. When it was time to move to a new school, Rush decided to reinvent himself, and found a nerdy tribe where he not only belonged, but also could become a star by dressing up as someone else.
Costumes don't have to be a way to hide — sometimes, they're extensions of who we are, a way to amplify our assets and flaunt our hidden talents. Rather than masking his true identity, Rush found that costumes could draw him out of his shell. But when he started dressing up for anime conventions, he probably didn't expect that within a few years, he'd be undressing at conventions of a somewhat different nature.