Baltimore photographer and performer Chris Jay is hitting the road with their new photo project The Queerbook.
The Queerbook will be a collection of images of queer performers from across the United States. Inspired by their experience as a school photographer, the book will be designed in the style of a high school yearbook.
In addition to being a photographer, Chris Jay also performs as a drag king in Baltimore, MD and the D.C. metropolitan area. They had no idea that attending a drag show in 2013 would turn into a new sense of community.
“When I photographed my first drag show I saw a drag king who looked like me, [and] it felt familiar and accepting. That performer allowed me to see that there was space for me in this community,” Jay explains.
That moment changed everything for them. It gave Jay “permission to start living life authentically.” They believe queer performers have a unique ability to rally community. And, that’s exactly what Jay is doing with The Queerbook.
When asked what they hope people will get from the project, they said, “I would love for people to discover performers they may never know otherwise and to see how we all express ourselves and how different yet similar we all really are.” Jay believes The Queerbook will allow people to see the impact queer performers have on the LGBTQ community.
“This project is to showcase who we are collectively. I don’t think anything like this has ever been done and as the idea of The Queerbook developes it will be a historical record of who we are.”
The Queerbook is currently booked to travel to Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Oakland, and Seattle.
For more information or to donate to the project, visit www.thequeerbook.com.