February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Chris Will
Chris Will, gay news, Washington Blade

Chris Will (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Chris Will is donning drag for the first time next week.

On Friday, Feb. 24, he and 11 of his teammates on the Washington Scandals gay rugby team will don makeup and gowns for “Sequins & Scrums,” a benefit event at Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) to raise money for players to attend the 2018 Bingham Cup rugby tournament in Amsterdam.

“We’re hoping to subsidize the costs of airfare, housing and registration as much as possible,” says the 26-year-old Huntington Beach, Calif., native. “We want to show D.C. how much fun being a Scandal is and how we can slay anywhere — whether it’s the rugby pitch or on the stage.”

And yes, he says the butterflies he’s feeling is also part of the excitement.

“If I told you I was nervous yet excited, it would be the understatement of the century.”

Admission is free to the 8 p.m. event, to be held during D.C. Bear Crue Happy Hour. Scandals members will compete to win the judges’ approval and vie for the title Scrum Queen 2017. Details at scandalsrfc.org.

Will, who works by day as a software sales rep, joined the Scandals two-and-a-half years ago. Drag shows are fairly common for other gay rugby teams, but this is the Scandals’ first.

Will moved to the D.C. area with his family in 2006, left to attend Penn State, then returned. He enjoys music, rugby and dancing in his free time. He lives in Fairfax, Va.

How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell? 

I’ve been fully out for a year and a half. It was an almost four-year process before that where I was slowly coming out to my family and close friends, and then the day before my 25th birthday I said screw it and came out completely on Facebook. My parents were the hardest to tell, but it’s not because they were un-accepting. They were actually wonderfully accepting and they embrace who I am completely. It was the fear I had built up in my head before telling them, especially since I came out to them while I was living in their basement after college.

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Mark Bingham! He’s a gay rugby icon and was one of the passengers on Flight 93. He was part of the group that tried to take the plane back from the hijackers and kept it from crashing into D.C. Mark defied gay stereotypes, helped build the International Gay Rugby league into what it is today and had an incredible love for his country.

What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?  

Nellie’s is number one, especially for any sort of social events regarding our rugby team. They’re our main sponsor and they do so much for our organization. Uproar is a close second, though. I love how you can request the music you want to hear there, plus the staff is awesome and their sushi is delicious!

Describe your dream wedding. 

I’d invite my entire rugby team, a few close friends and family. The ceremony would be quick. The reception would be awesome — there’d be a mac ’n cheese bar, lots of tequila, a disco ball and the best. music. ever (a good mix of dance, pop and hip-hop).

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Half of my family either served or currently serves in the military, so veterans’ rights are important to me.

What historical outcome would you change? 

It definitely would’ve been nice if this last presidential race hadn’t come down to Hillary v. Trump.

What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime? 

When Gwen Stefani went solo and released one of my favorite albums of all time, “Love.Angel.Music.Baby.” People talk about how Madonna, Kylie, Janet, Mariah, etc., were their icons growing up, but being a child of the ‘90s and growing up on No Doubt, Gwen was my queen.

On what do you insist? 

Take risks in life and love and take every opportunity you have to challenge yourself and grow.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

I shared the music video for Grimes and Janelle Monae’s “Venus Fly.” If you don’t know the song or if you haven’t seen the video, you’re missing out. It’s literally THE fiercest.

If your life were a book, what would the title be? 

“Late Bloomer”

If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do? 

Stay gay, stay me. Let’s hope that never happens/ Let people explore their sexuality how they want.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I think everything happens for a reason and that fate is real. The people who come into your life and the experiences you have are all part of a bigger plan to allow you (or, at times force you) to continuously reinvent to become a better version of yourself.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Understand the struggles and fight for the protection and rights of LGBT people across all races and socio-economic classes, not just middle- to upper-class white people.

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

All the people I love in my life and/or a pot of gourmet truffle mac ’n cheese at the other end.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

When people say LGBT sports teams aren’t as legitimate as regular sports teams. Part of the reason I love being on the Washington Scandals is because we focus on the team aspect more than we do on the competitive aspect of the sport. It’s about learning rugby in a welcoming environment, creating a group of friends that you’ll keep for years, if not for life, and learning how to work together to achieve victory on the pitch from there.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“Moonlight.” I just saw it and it was absolutely amazing. Please go see it if you haven’t.

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Small talk.

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

My 2015 Washington Scandals Spirit Award.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

That I would be able to find love and support if I had come out then. I understand everyone comes out at their own pace, but one of my biggest regrets was not coming out in college and taking time to learn about myself and my sexuality back then.

Why Washington? 

My whole life is here and it’s hands down my favorite city in the country.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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