LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Roselle Ledesma

Title

LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Roselle Ledesma

Subject

Queer Omaha Archives
Sexual minorities -- Nebraska -- Omaha
Interviews
Oral Histories (document genre)

Description

Click here to access the interview, LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Roselle Ledesma

Ms. Roselle Ledesma, Omaha musician and LGBTQ+ advocate, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on November 16, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. Ledesma shared information about her upbringing in Bellevue, her early love of drumming, meeting other LGBTQ+ people in the 1990's, playing in numerous local rock bands, her past romantic relationships, and bartending at the Down Under Lounge.

Biographical Sketch

Ms. Roselle Ledesma, born in San Diego, California, is a Mexican
 American, lesbian woman, LGBTQ+ advocate, and long-time Omaha musician. After graduating from Bellevue East High School in 1990, Ledesma studied Studio Art at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1990-1991, but left to pursue music and other endeavors. During the next 15 years, Ledesma did graphic design and editing work for various private photographers around Bellevue and Omaha. In 2014, Ledesma switched career paths and began bartending at the Down Under Lounge in Omaha.  

Ledesma is a life-long drummer and musician, and has been a well-known performer and multi-instrumentalist within Omaha’s music community since the early 1990’s. Ledesma has played in numerous bands, such as Lavender Couch, Sons and Daughters, Cornel Bitch, Angry Beaver, Me Jane, The Clincher, Red #9, 3rd and Delaware, Awake & Breathing, Charlotte Sometimes, Damn It Daniel, Minutes to Miles, and was a fill-in drummer for Pleiades and the Bear. Ledesma played drums in the musical performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Nebraska AIDS Project’s Night of a Thousand Stars and for the play’s award-winning run at Omaha’s Blue Barn Theater in 2004. Lavender Couch, Ledesma’s all-lesbian rock band, opened up for Ani Difranco in a small house show sometime around 1994.  

As of February 2019, Ledesma lives in Omaha with her cats, Bowie and Brody.

Interview Summary 

Ms. Roselle Ledesma, Omaha musician and LGBTQ+ advocate, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on November 16, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska. Ledesma was born in San Diego, California in the early 1970’s and grew up as the youngest of five kids in a Mexican American family. After moving to Bellevue with her family at a young age, Ledesma was introduced to the drums by her father, a musician himself, and quickly took to the instrument, teaching herself how to play by performing to the radio. 

Ledesma was a natural tomboy from a young age and gravitated toward playing with boys. She had early crushes on girls, but was not aware of what it meant to be “gay” at such an early age. While living in Germany from age 10-13 (1982-1985) as a result of her step-father's military deployment, Ledesma had her first kiss with both a girl and boy, but realized she was more drawn to girls. By age 18, Ledesma was confident enough in her sexuality and decided to start coming out to those in her life. She received acceptance from friends and family at a time when being gay was still not widely accepted. Ledesma’s mother was one of the most supportive and protective forces in her life, and encouraged her to be herself. 

After graduating from Bellevue East High School in 1990, Ledesma studied Studio Art at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1990-1991, but left to pursue music and other endeavors. Ledesma began to meet more LGBT people in her twenties at gay clubs and bars like The Run (also known as the Omaha Mining Company), The Max, Connections, The Chesterfield, James Dean, and Gilligans. During this time, individuals would sometimes wait outside of clubs to harass and attack LGBT people when they left. Ledesma and her friends remained vigilant and protective of each other. 

Throughout the 1990’s, Ledesma became a well-known performer and multi-instrumentalist within Omaha’s music community. Ledesma has played in numerous bands, such as Lavender Couch, Sons and Daughters, Cornel Bitch, Angry Beaver, Me Jane, The Clincher, Red #9, 3rd and Delaware, Awake & Breathing, Charlotte Sometimes, Damn It Daniel, Minutes to Miles, and was a fill-in drummer for Pleiades and the Bear. Ledesma played drums in the musical performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Nebraska AIDS Project’s Night of a Thousand Stars and for the play’s award-winning run at Omaha’s Blue Barn Theater in 2004. Lavender Couch, Ledesma’s all-lesbian rock band, opened up for Ani Difranco in a small house show sometime around 1994.  

When not performing with her bands and music projects, Ledesma provided graphic design and editing work for various private photographers around Bellevue and Omaha. In 2014, Ledesma switched career paths and began bartending at the Down Under Lounge in Omaha. As of February 2019, Ledesma lives in Omaha with her cats, Bowie and Brody.  

In this interview, Ledesma also discusses previous abusive relationships, sexism in the music community, and her Mexican background.

Interview Notes

Trigger warning for domestic violence.

A cat can be briefly heard in the background.

Date

2018 November 16

Creator

Luke Wegener

Publisher

University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries

Relation

LGBTQ+ Oral History Collection finding aid available at https://archives.nebraska.edu/repositories/4/resources/604

Interviewer

Luke Wegener

Interviewee

Roselle Ledesma

Duration

2:30:57

Files

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Citation

Luke Wegener, “LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Roselle Ledesma,” Queer Omaha Archives | UNO Libraries, accessed September 18, 2021, https://queeromahaarchives.omeka.net/items/show/3305.

Output Formats

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