Louie: Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I think this our first time ever chatting in person.
Jay: Is it?
Louie: Yes. I remember seeing you at Shampoo Night Club but we never really talked.
Jay: Oh I remember those days. Too bad they closed it, right?
Louie: Yes. I used to get my dance on in that damn velvet room. So where in Philly did you grow up?
Jay: I grew up in northern liberties neighborhood which back then it didn’t have that name.
Louie: Yes! I grew up around there too before all the Ricans were pushed out.
Jay: My upbringing was awesome I experienced how a Latino American can
enjoy living in the early 80’s enjoying the culture and music both in
Spanish and English. I was the oldest in my family and I wanted to
become someone that didn’t exist in my family. I didn’t want to become
another gay male Hispanic in the “system”, like some who come over to
just live out of the government. My view of being in the United States
was to fight and strive for opportunities that some of my family members
Louie: When did you come “out”?
Jay: I came
out late when I was 27years old. It wasn’t a bad thing. My family had
wanted me to come out but I was not ready. I was battling with my
beliefs and the person who I was.
Louie: What is one thing you regret?
Jay: The one thing I regret doing is leaving my old job at the Public
Defenders Association. I have to say it was the best job and a blessing
Louie: Ya know, Mariah left Columbia for Virgin records
because of the money. “Glitter” flopped and she was released from her
contract. She has since said that was the first and last time she made a
decision based on money. I think of that whenever I am being tempted to
leave a job just for money.
Jay: I know its scary now to me
because of what happened to me. Once I left, I everything went wrong and
I lasted a year. I was fired for the first time in my life! The day I
was fired, I left the building and rain fell on me. It was like a movie.
So I headed to the bar at Woody’s to get drunk. [LMAO]
Louie: What is one thing you don’t regret?
Jay: I don’t regret being honest and blunt about things. I was told to keep my mouth shut when I was growing up. Not anymore.
Jay Ruiz, Philadelphia
Interviewed and Photographed by: Louie A. Ortiz-Fonseca