July 20, 2016 at 5:53 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Jabari M. Lyles
Jabari Lyles, gay news, Washington Blade

Jabari Lyles (Photo courtesy Lyles)

It’s all Pride all the time this weekend in Baltimore with a jam-packed events schedule.

On Friday, July 22, Baltimore TransUprising meets at Red Emma’s, Star Track presents “Intergalactic Space Travelers,” Twilight on the Terrace is at Gertrude’s, there’s a “Kings & Queens of Pride” event at Hard Rock Cafe, “Guerilla Wordfare” is at Single Carrot Theatre, Lust (a leather/fetish party) is at Grand Central and more.

The parade is at 2 p.m. Saturday with a block party held at Charles and Eager streets from 3-10 p.m. An after-party starts at 9 p.m. at Grand Central. Several events, including a high-heel race at 1:30 p.m., will bookend the parade and block party.

The festival is Sunday, July 24 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Druid Hill Park. Full details at baltimorepride.org.

Jabari Lyles, a 26-year-old Pikesville, Md., native, is the president and acting executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland and Baltimore Pride. He came to Baltimore almost four years ago to teach.

He’s single and lives in Reservoir Hill. He enjoys cooking, teaching and spending time with family and friends in his free time.

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

I’ve been officially out to the world since age 16. It wasn’t very hard to tell anyone. I had no doubts about my identity and have always enjoyed a supportive network of friends and family. Luckily for me, coming out was easy.

Who’s your LGBT hero?

Bayard Rustin. To me, he exemplifies excellence, resilience and self-love.

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

Not sure, I don’t find myself in D.C. too often.

Describe your dream wedding. 

Huge, beautiful, lots of tears, hugs and an open bar.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

Urban education, particularly urban math education. Equipping tomorrow’s leaders who are from disadvantaged neighborhoods or have scarce access to resources with the confidence and accuracy needed to excel at mathematical sciences.

What historical outcome would you change? 

I think we’d all be better if American slavery and colonization never happened and America found a way to build itself rather than on the backs of slaves. The effects of brutalization on black and brown people are still very much present today. I hope that one day America recovers from the nasty disease of racism.

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

Recently, Beyonce’s “Lemonade” premiere on HBO was a moment my friends and I will never forget. But who could forget when Kelly Clarkson won “American Idol,” or when we learned about the death of Aaliyah, Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston? Those were three artists that defined my childhood and now I live in a world without them. I also remember Googling once “What is a hashtag?”

On what do you insist? 

Kindness and respect for all things until it is no longer deserved.

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?

Advertising Twilight on the Terrace, a premium fundraising event for Baltimore Pride.

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

“Unconditional: The Endless Journey Toward Love and Justice”

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

Probably roll my eyes.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

I believe there is beauty in the mathematical and scientific patterns that exist between us and all things in the universe.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

Burnout is real! Take care of yourself, even when you feel nourished by your work. Never sacrifice your morals and show up authentically in every space.

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

True peace and liberation for all marginalized communities. Or maybe free rent!

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

Fetishization of black men and the “Mandingo” trope.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“Paris is Burning”

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Avoiding talking about poop in public. Why shame ourselves and our bodies? We all do it.

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

The Nobel Peace Prize. The recipients have done such impactful work. I revere both the award and its recipients.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

That straight boys are a waste of time.

Why Washington? 

Not yet, Washington. I’m busy in Baltimore.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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