Virginia Beach resident Jay Corprew is many things, a loving husband, community activist, speaker, mentor and artist. On Saturday night in Richmond, he can add one more title, as he will be recognized as one of Equality Virginia’s OUTstanding Virginians for 2019.
Recently, OutWire757 was able to sit down with the ever modest Jay and his wife Shawnon to talk about being named an OUTstanding Virginian, his work with the Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia (TAP VA), leadership, being a mentor what we may see from Jay in the future. Below is an excerpt from our interview.
Why do you think you were nominated to be an OUTstanding Virginian?
“That’s a good question…maybe the fact that I’ve done so much in my community and didn’t realize within the timeframe and connected with so many in the community as well.”
Do you have a particular accomplishment you point to or think about in relation to the recognition by EV?
“I think I have two. One is the fact that I became a Board member with TAP VA purely because they helped me back when when I needed it. It’s just a mission I want to help. I want to give back. The other part is just wanting ‘it’ – it’s not that I’m wanting fame or networking or a name somewhere. I’m wanting to be a part of where it’s needed – support, safety, protection, education and advocacy.”
Do you see yourself as a natural leader?
“I’ve always been the leader type, but didn’t always want to lead…but, it’s who I was and every time I kept not doing it, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t successful. I wasn’t where I felt right. When my thirties hit, I said, “I am doing this, I am taking control.”
“I’ve always been the type where if you can do it better than me, do it and I will follow. But, if you can’t, I just want to do it.”
Do you consider yourself an introvert?
“It’s funny, because I am both introvert and extrovert – it depends on the person, the atmosphere, the mood I’m in.” Jay went onto say that. “If you’re an interesting person and have something to teach me, I thrive from that, so I enjoy it.”
Do you consider yourself a role model?
“I think I have been more so because I have recently been mentoring – or fell into mentoring. Anybody that I have helped or been in the works of helping, they have been saying that to me.”
What kind of advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
“Myself – mainly just don not give a fuck about nobody but yourself. I would say it that blunt to myself, so that it would really stick with me. I would yell at him.” Jay added, “I put others before me and that didn’t do anything for me good. I almost died from it twice. So, I would have said that and I say that to anybody. Nobody, not even me should be ahead of you or more important that what you need or what you want to do. Nobody. Think of you only. I don’t care who it is – your mom, your siblings, your significant other, I don’t care. If you want to truly do that, if it’s healthy and good for you and it makes you happy, they are going to be on board if they love you.”
What’s next in your evolution?
“I have ideas, but I’ve learned not to plan. I like to ‘wing’ things because life might take me somewhere else that I actually enjoy. Because I didn’t plan this (EV recognition), but I enjoy it.”
“A friend of mine and my chosen sister, they both say I should run for something…I think it’s interesting, they both feel I would be good. They both say it requires somebody who is not necessarily running for what they want, they are running to serve others, to make things better for others, and I am. I wouldn’t do it for me.”
Keep us updated Jay. You have our votes.
Jay and Shawnon will be at Equality Virginia’s 16th Annual Commonwealth Dinner in Richmond Saturday evening. To view Corprew’s EV profile, it is linked below.