Local party promoter Jay Barber met D.C. event guru and hostess Rayceen Pendarvis at a town hall event at HRC in 2015 and found instant mutual admiration.
“She and (her team) are so amazing,” Barber says. “They do so many wonderful things for this community. I love their passion and genuine ability to make you feel like you’re part of a larger family community.”
Barber doesn’t really consider herself an actor, but she’ll play one for Rayceen. At “Rayceen, Fix Me Up!,” a pre-holiday mixer event on Thursday, Nov. 15, she’ll perform in the opening skit. This free event will be held at the Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St., N.W.) from 6-8 p.m. This “ice breaker” event is for LGBT people and allies seeking “new friendships and social connections.” Details here.
Barber, a Detroit native, came to D.C. five years ago “on a whim.” She identifies as trans and uses all pronouns. Follow her on Instagram at @jaywalkingdc.
“I had heard great things about D.C. from friends and family, so I decided to see if I would like it and then like turned into love,” she says.
Barber works by day with Jay Walking Productions, which creates “safe spaces for the LGBT community to party and come together.”
She’s single and lives in Chinatown. Barber enjoys art exhibits, watching friends perform, D.C. events, traveling and relaxing with music at home in her free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out since 2006 and the hardest person I had to tell was my brother. I was so nervous. When I told him, he laughed and said I knew that.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the executive director of Trans Women of Color Collective, a grass-roots initiative based in Washington, D.C. Her story will blow your mind.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I would have to say Wicked Bloom Mondays at Wicked Bloom D.C. This is a shameless plug. I promote that event and I meet some of the most amazing people every Monday.
Describe your dream wedding.
On an island somewhere with all my favorite people in the world having the biggest island party together.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about young people. I would like to see more concern toward helping young people be the best versions of themselves possible.
What historical outcome would you change?
I would have changed the outcome of the chicken wars of the 1960s. Consumers lost in the battle of governments and most Americans had no idea.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
When Common was invited to read poetry at the White House.
On what do you insist?
Compassion and empathy for fellow humans.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
Be the reason someone smiles today. Or drinks, or masturbates — whatever works.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“We Out Here”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
I would do nothing. I’m happy with my sexual orientation. It has taken time to accept who I am and I am happy.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I believe we don’t know.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
I don’t have any advice. I ask them to show people what they are capable of doing for the LGBT movement.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
The U-hauling stereotype comes up too much.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“The Women of Brewster Place.” Oprah Winfrey was the star. It’s really not a LGBT movie, but it was the first time I saw lesbians on television and I didn’t even really understand what that was. It made me smile then and I knew I had found a part of me.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
Food. We tend to make every occasion about food.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My scholarship to college. It changed my life.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
Sometimes the greatest things are on the other side of fear.
Why not? This city is absolutely amazing, if you let it be.