Jason Perry (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)
Jason Perry enlisted in the Marine Corps just out of high school at age 18. After 11 years and nine months of service that found him stationed at Camp LeJeune, N.C., and Quantico, Va., in addition to brief deployments to Okinawa, Japan and Iraq, he was medically discharged and has settled into a new life in Sterling, Va., after two years of treatment in Bethesda.
On Jan. 5 as his drag alter ego Charity B., he was crowned Miss Gaye America D.C.
“I was actually in shock,” he says. “I didn’t know what was going on.” Once it sunk in, Perry says he was “excited and elated.”
“I was glad I was able to carry on for the family members who’d won previously,” he says.
Drag mother Destiny B. Childs got him started in drag about six years ago.
“We were just having a good time drinking one night and they said I might do well with my high cheekbones and stuff like that, so we tried it,” he says. “I enjoy it for the entertainment portion. It’s not a job for me.”
Perry has been seeing someone for about four months but they don’t live together. He likes Sterling because it’s out of the “hustle and bustle” of D.C.
“I like having a yard where I can play with the dog,” he says.
The 31-year-old McLoud, Okla., native is a full-time student and hopes to finish an information technologies degree in the next few years.
He enjoys sculling, landscaping and drag in his free time. And “spending time with my amazing boyfriend and my dog.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I came out in 2004 after my mother passed. The hardest was to my best friend and fiancée at the time.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I don’t have any one individual whom I consider my hero. Everyone who puts forth the effort and strives for our community is a hero to me.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
To answer the question one might have to ask which night you are referring to.
Describe your dream wedding.
This one is a toughie, but easily answered with “Whichever the other groom actually shows up to.”
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Wounded Warriors program for the service members who have given some or all in service of our nation. This goes for spouses as well.
What historical outcome would you change?
I wouldn’t change any in all honesty. I know it sounds cold considering what has happened in the past, but the past is what has made us what and who we are today.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
I know it sounds harsh, maybe cold, but there would be two: the Oklahoma bombing and 9-11. Both were while I was sitting in a class in Oklahoma.
On what do you insist?
I insist mainly on stopping the backstabbing and hypocrisy that live within our community.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Mentioning that I enjoyed a wonderful Wednesday evening of Beach Blanket Bingo at Freddie’s Beach Bar and Grille, in Arlington, hosted by Regina Jozet Adams and Ophelia Bottoms. It starts promptly at 8 p.m. Did that sound a little like an advertisement?
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“The Neverending Rollercoaster of Life”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would stay just the way I am.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Listen and learn, use advice given to make things happen for the community.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
I would walk across hot coals for the one I love; this only follows second to my real mother.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The idea that drag queens are these purse carrying, lisp spoken, feminine individuals.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I would say constantly going out. Sometimes staying in for a nice night with my boyfriend is the best custom there can be.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
Currently the Miss Gaye America D.C. crown. I have joined the sisterhood of so many before me to include my drag sister, Alexandra B. Childs, and drag mother, Destiny B Childs.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Nothing more than I did at that time. I have enjoyed learning the things I have over these past 14 years.
The Marine Corps brought me to Northern Virginia in 2004. After I was deployed in 2007 and then medically returned in 2008 from Iraq, I spent some time in Maryland. Since I didn’t have any main family left in my home state I decided to settle my roots out here. I have gained many friends and some of those friends I call my family. Being out here just feels right.