July 19, 2017 at 4:19 pm EST | by Joey DiGuglielmo
QUEERY: Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones, gay news, Washington Blade

Kevin Jones (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Although Kevin Jones loved going to church as a kid, the anti-gay rhetoric bothered him, especially in the ‘80s at the height of the AIDS crisis.

“I still remember feeling disturbed, bothered and even guilty when my pastor preached hateful words about gays, especially that HIV was ‘God’s gift to the gays,’” he says. “These memories and all the people who were ever harmed by those words fuel my passion for the work.”

In June, Jones became executive director of the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services in Washington. He was formerly chief of programs at the D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative and says his skills in the areas of public health, social justice and data research made it the right fit.

The Coalition is a national collaboration of community partners and health departments dedicated to preventing new HIV infections and reducing health disparities, morbidity and mortality. Find out more at uchaps.org.

“We’ve come a long way in this work but there’s more work to be done,” Jones says. “The meaningful participation of communities and health departments is vital to winning this fight.”

Jones, 40, was born in Saginaw, Mich., but spent his teen years in Detroit. He came to Washington in 2012 to work at Metro TeenAIDS. He’s single and lives in Northeast Washington.

Jones enjoys gardening, working with children and young families and traveling in his free time.

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

I’ve been out since college. Around 1997/1998. Probably my twin brother, Kenneth Jones, was the hardest to come out to. He was very out and unapologetic and I wasn’t quite there yet.

Who’s your LGBT hero? 

My twin brother. He’s the oldest by 12 minutes. He helps me to be bolder.

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

Delta Elite, Wet/the Edge

Describe your dream wedding. 

Walking through a forest for a very private ceremony between me and my life partner. We emerge from the woods to our friends and families.

What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about? 

I’m really concerned about police violence, though this is an LGBT issue. Aren’t all issues LGBT issues?

What historical outcome would you change? 

Slavery

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

The death of Whitney Houston.

On what do you insist? 

Popeyes over KFC

What was your last Facebook post or Tweet? 

“Jesus be a two piece” and a picture of Popeyes Chicken

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

“Keeping up with the Joneses”

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

Pass out pamphlets on making the “switch” to my straight friends.

What do you believe in beyond the physical world? 

My faith in God is strong, though I don’t go to church.

What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders? 

We must keep a focus on class issues within our community and movement. Class privilege will continue to divide us.

What would you walk across hot coals for? 

Popeyes chicken and/or a hurt child.

What LGBT stereotype annoys you most? 

Recently, that all gays want to get married.

What’s your favorite LGBT movie? 

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Moonlight”

What’s the most overrated social custom? 

Brunch (please don’t take my gay card).

What trophy or prize do you most covet? 

I think I still hold the third grade record for a first place prize in ancient history in Carrollton Elementary School’s academic track competition.

What do you wish you’d known at 18? 

That my fascination with Internet Relay Chat and Gay.com (between 1994-98) could lead to a career in social media. I could have created Facebook — well, maybe.

Why Washington? 

I fell in love with D.C. when I first lived here in 1998. The city was vibrant and had a rich culture. I knew I wanted to be back in D.C. at some point.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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