Leon Eldridge pours shots for a group of customers July 19, 2013, at Belly's Cafe in Lubbock, Texas.
Leon Eldridge talks with Stephanie Boyd, the owner of Belly's Cafe.
Eldridge said he has known Boyd since he was sixteen when he was sneaking into bars and causing other mischief.
"She was always kind of a mother figure or an aunt figure," Eldridge said. "She always kind of made sure I wasn't going insane and took care of me and kept an eye out for me when I was young and naive."
Eldridge said she is also the person who introduced him to the Metropolitan Community Church and asked him to sing there.
Leon Eldridge closes his eyes in prayer during a Sunday service at the Metropolitan Community Church.
Eldridge said his parents are both very spiritual and religious. He said his father was a preacher, although not officially ordained by a church, while his mother studied theology.
"The God perception has always been really important in my family," Eldridge said, "and I've always been very lucky to find churches that I have felt extraordinarily nurtured by."
Leon Eldridge leads the congregation in singing hymns during the "Singspiration" portion of the service at the Metropolitan Community Church.
Having been involved in music ministry since he was 16, Eldridge said music ministry has been a big part of his life.
"While I was at SMU, and even while I was at SPC [South Plains College], I worked in music ministry as a way to feed myself," Eldridge said, "and my love of the church has kind of grown."
He said he took the position at MCC, because it was a good job in a church that he felt comfortable attending.
Leon Eldridge participates in communion with Yvonne Barth, a theologian in the Metropolitan Community Church in Lubbock, Texas.
Concerning religion, specifically Christianity, Eldridge said he has many philosophical and theological ideas, but the core of his beliefs centers around the idea that the Bible is outdated, and it should not be taken literally.
"If there is a God," Eldridge said, "and that God being an omnipresent, omnipotent God, created us and knew who we were before he even created our spirit, then he wouldn't have created a flaw if he's perfect."
He goes on to say that he thinks the human conception of Christianity is skewed, because the Bible was not written by a divine power, but rather, Eldridge said it written by spiritual men who he said were supposed divine vessels.
I think of God as sexless," Eldridge said, "and I think he views our spirit as the same....or she."
Leon Eldridge begins the process of transforming into Bohemia Rothschild by showering and shaving at his home on July 28, 2013, in Lubbock, Texas.
Leon Eldridge said he has been doing drag for six years. It started when he would attend theme parties, and he said that because he wanted to be the most outrageous person there, he would dress as a woman.
He said that when he first began dressing in drag he would dress in what he calls "gender-fuck" in which he would blur the line between masculinity and femininity.
"You might wear a tuxedo and six-inch heels and a face full of makeup," Eldridge said, "or you might wear a ball gown and makeup but no wig."
Depending on the look he's going for, Leon Eldridge said he applies several different layers of makeup.
He said he generally tries to keep his look natural, but some drag queens use makeup that is more dramatic and similar to makeup used in stage performances.
Eldridge said this is because it draws focus to the eyes, which he said are typically the most ambiguous or feminine features on a man's face.
Leon Eldridge continues his transformation into Bohemia Rothschild.
The whole process takes one to two hours with jewelry being one of the last things that Eldridge will put on before leaving the house.
Leon Eldridge secures his wig as he prepares to go to Club Luxor.
Leon Eldridge, dressed as Bohemia Rothschild, poses for one final photo before leaving for the gay nightclub, Club Luxor.
"Drag is art," Eldridge said, "and it's this really heightened sense of what we view the feminine character to be.
He said dressing in drag is analogous to other art forms, such as painting.
"You don't talk about painting the bowl of fruit to look like fruit," Eldridge said. He talked about how when you're an artist everything is exaggerated. Even minimalists, he said, exaggerate what isn't there.
Some people, however, are not as open-minded in their views. Eldridge said that one night when he had just moved back to Lubbock he was trying to get his boyfriend, who was at Klusoz Martini Lounge, to drive him home, and he was attacked by a group of men outside the lounge.
"They just beat the shit out of me, because I said 'boyfriend,'" Eldridge said shaking his head. "I shouldn't have said 'boyfriend.'"
Bohemia Rothschild shows her moves on the dance floor at Club Luxor.
Leon Eldridge shares a laugh with his friend Stuart Williams, pictured here as drag queen Acaicai Phillips, whom is Just starting to dress seriously in drag.
Bohemia Rothschild and Acaicai Phillips watch as local drag queen Odyssey Whitney performs in a drag pageant at Club Luxor. Both drag queens and kings performed for the judges.
Bohemia Rothschild walks arm-in-arm with friend, Zachary Bradner after a night of drinking, dancing, and entertainment at Club Luxor.
Leon Eldridge, slips off his pantyhose as he dresses down from being Bohemia Rothschild.
Eldridge said that, while being Bohemia is fun, it's also a lot of work, so he's glad to become himself again afterwards.
Leon Eldridge smokes a cigarette and settles in for the night at his home.
Eldridge said drag has been an exciting adventure, because he gets to experiment, not just with gender identity, but with his own identity as a person. He said it's a very freeing experience.
"I think that there's a lot of pressure from society on what qualifies as masculine and feminine, or what makes you a man and what makes you a woman," Eldridge said, "and I think that everything is kind of on a spectrum."