March 4, 2015 at 2:59 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: X-Jay/Chris Jennings
Chris Jennings, X-Jay, Chris Jay, gay news, Washington Blade

X-Jay/Chris Jennings self-portrait (Photo by Chris Jay)

The D.C. Kings, Washington’s drag king troupe, is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month.

The group performs at Scandal at Comet Ping Pong (5037 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) on March 6 at 10 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door. And on March 20, the Kings will be at the Lodge (21614 National Pike) in Boonsboro, Md., for an 11 p.m. show. Details at dckings.com.

Over 15 years, more than 400 kings have performed with the group in more than 500 shows including monthly performances over 180 consecutive months. Ken Vegas, the group’s founder, says the Kings are known for their gender-variant performance art that includes everything from male impersonation, singing, lip syncing, skits and more.

X-Jay started coming to Washington a year and a half ago when he photographed the D.C. Kings. He works by day as Chris Jennings and is co-producer of Chocolate City Burlesque and Cabaret.

The 34-year-old Columbia, Md., native is in a relationship with Che Monique and lives in Hyattsville, Md. X-Jay enjoys Instagram and Netflix in his free time.

 

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

I have been out since I was 18. I think the hardest person to tell was someone I never got to tell. I wish I told my Grandmother before she passed away. She was my closest friend and she never knew the real me.

 

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

Ellen. She has managed to become an icon beyond her sexual orientation. I admire that. I hope that one day we all can live beyond our labels.

 

 

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

Phase 1 was a place I learned to be myself. That bar helped me become comfortable in my own skin. Plus I met my amazing girlfriend there.

 

 

Describe your dream wedding. 

My dream wedding will be on the beach. I want to rent a big beach house and have my close friends and family there to celebrate over a weekend! The ceremony will be at sunset with my guests armed with paper lanterns (bio-degradable) to be lifted after the big kiss. I just want my wedding pictures to be amazing and that would make a great shot!

 

 

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

I have a growing concern about the ongoing issues surrounding our safety in regards to the police. I know that with social media  these instances have been brought to a broader audience and we are receiving the information quicker than before, but this is not new. It is not an emergent social issue. These situations have existed since the end of the Civil War. We need to refocus our perception of minorities in this country. We should not live in a state of fear of one another.

 

 

What historical outcome would you change? 

I wouldn’t change anything. Good or bad, it’s our history that defines us.

 

 

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

It’s a tie between Michael Jackson’s death and the birth of the Internet.

 

 

On what do you insist? 

That my people are treated well. I love people. I want everyone to find success and I hate bullies. I have a high respect for my close friends and family and I want what is best for them.

 

 

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

Last Facebook post: “I need to make a hashtag for the stories about my mom. Ideas?”

 

 

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

“This Is Just The Beginning”

 

 

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

Nothing. I think the path that was given to us at birth is a path worth traveling. I’m gay and I want to ride it out. I wouldn’t change anything.

 

 

What do you believe in beyond the physical world?  

If you mean a higher power, then yes I believe in God.

 

 

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Don’t forget that classism exists in our community. Sometimes I feel like we don’t advocate for the minorities within our community.

 

 

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

Love

 

 

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

That butch lesbians want to be men. I do not want to be a man. I love the person I am becoming and I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“But I’m a Cheerleader” will always be one of my favorites!

 

 

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Getting jumbo slices after getting drunk at the bar. I think some people do it just because it’s the thing to do.

 

 

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

2015 Best of Gay D.C. Best Visual Artist!

 

 

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

I wish I would have known the person I am today.

 

 

Why Washington? 

I feel like we are in the center of everything here. I love this city!

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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