RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Dusty Ray Bottoms has opened up about her religious upbringing, sharing her experiences being exorcised and sent to gay conversion therapy as a teenager.
Having brought up her painful past during an episode of Drag Race, Dusty has elaborated on her past experiences in the week since her elimination - hoping to help those in a similar situation feel less alone.
"I was home for spring break from college. I was 20 when this happened, when I came out to my family. I was literally just at the lowest low," Dusty says in an interview with News Week.
She continues: "I was struggling with who I was in college. I was struggling with how I was raised and how I should be. And I just cried out to God and said ‘I can't do this anymore I need to change my life. I can't keep secrets. I need something to happen. I just need help, I don't know what to do. Am I broken?’"
Dusty says it was then that everything came to the fore.
"I went through my past to my mum and dad, and told them things that they didn't know, very traumatic things that had happened to me," she said. "When I told them these things they were devastated and heartbroken and they thought the only way that could fix the situation was for me to go to therapy."
The one-on-one sessions with a pastor started out daily, then once a week.
"It wasn't this big dramatic thing where they threw me in the car and drove me to church, or were holding me down and throwing holy water on me and they were screaming. It wasn't that dramatic," Dusty insists.
"That's what I really want people to take away from that. I wasn't mistreated growing up. My mum and dad were everything. They provided for me and they came through for me. It's just that we didn't see eye to eye on homosexuality and who I was. So growing up I never felt comfortable."
Dusty adds: "I hope if anything that people can take away from my message that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and tomorrow is a better day."
"We are working on our relationship," she said. "We definitely have a broken relationship. We don't have issues because of the therapy. We have moved past that: we have talked about it and I've forgiven them. They know that the therapy was wrong."
Still, Dusty, who is engaged to fiancé Marc Singer, says her parents continue to struggle on the subject of homosexuality.
"That does drive a wedge between us and it makes it hard for me to come home."