Neil and I

During one of my weekend trips with my baton teacher to a competition in Ohio, my parents sent me with a Rush cassette for my Walkman. It was Permanent Waves, and I rewound “The Spirit of the Radio” so much the tape was ruined by the time I crossed back into Maryland the next evening. I want to say that Rush – specifically, Neil Peart – is the reason I became a drummer, mediocre or not. But honestly, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to play the drums. I’m a second generation band geek, the child of […]

A Boy, Interrupted

Pre-puberty me wasn’t much different from the rest of the little boys I identified with. I played baseball, loved Nintendo, and had dirty, scraped knees and holed-up jeans. Even at ballet or baton twirling, two extremely effeminate things, it was okay, because my brother also participated in them. Baton twirling is something I don’t talk about as an adult. It’s the most clock-able thing about me. I also don’t have a lot of good memories involving it. The combination of trans and not being the pretty little blonde girl who loved pink meant that competitive baton twirling did not want […]

Hagerstown Hopes Roars Into the 20s!

As we say hello to a brand-new decade, I proudly proclaim that 2019 was the most expansive and successful year for Hagerstown Hopes yet! First off, we just want to say a tremendously heartfelt thank you to all of our volunteers, patrons, and allies. We could not do anything without each and every single one of your bodies, minds, and ideas. And what a year it has been! From adding a spousal group that meets concurrently as our Trans Group, to getting our Youth Group up and running, and putting on the first pride prom for Washington County and the […]

The Force is with Me

Star Wars is my favourite thing. Obviously, I love my wife, pets, and family / friends more than Star Wars, but as for physical items, Star Wars wins, and has for a vast majority of my life. I was six or seven when in an attempt to enjoy child-free silence and get some work done, my father, flipping through the channels, stopped at the beginning of the trash compactor scene. When I used that moment to remark that I like space and science, I opened Pandora’s box with a sledgehammer. I have had a Star Wars cake every single year […]

A Holiday Plea

As I write this, I want to start by saying that today is November 30th and I was over this year’s holiday season by 3:15 pm on Thanksgiving. Which, considering my shift that day did not start until 3, is a pretty quick turnaround from me walking in just minutes prior with a bellyful of turkey, excited to see the decorations outside of the hotel in all of their winter glory. I had yesterday off, and while spending the day with my wife, my dog, and in my quiet, peaceful house helped rekindle that magic, coming back to work today […]

Remembrance, Solidarity and Strength: Hagerstown Hopes and TDoR

November 20th is a day that is known to transgender folks across the world. It is our solemn memorial to those who have lost their lives for the strength and conviction to live their lives authentically. Transgender Day of Remembrance is not a joyous day, but its reverence to the trans community transcends our individual comforts. Transgender Day of Remembrance also happens to be the day that I realized I had found my home with Hagerstown Hopes. Two months prior, I had received a phone call from the board president, Jeff Rohrer, that I had been chosen to join a […]

Guilt and Empty Places

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday. We stopped getting together as an extended family before I was eight. Then until I was almost finished with high school, my parents, siblings, and occasionally my grandmother would go to Shoney’s for the buffet. My mother worked at Wal-Mart, and she obviously didn’t want to cook for a demanding family of varied tastes before being screamed at by customers who couldn’t find the TV or toy they “needed.” When I was home for Thanksgiving break from college, we went to Cracker Barrel as a family, and now as an adult, both my wife and […]

Haircuts, Masculinity, and Me

I’ve been thinking about growing my hair out. Since 14, I’ve been slowly cutting it back, with the exception of senior year of high school, when I donned an afro that left people sitting behind me in class frustrated. These days, it’s shaved on the sides, with a fade at the top that I sometimes allow to grow to a length such that one ringlet of a curl can be seen. My journey with hair has been, well, arduous. As a child, it was my telltale giveaway that I was assigned female at birth. My grass-stained jeans and backwards cap […]

A Vote Against Vote Courting

I loathe election season. The former-wanting-to-be-president child within me would scream if they heard adult me utter those words, but here we are. We have a dozen candidates for president, the cycle of pandering ads with dramatic effects is just starting, and I am completely over it. Former teenage anarchist cobwebs aside, I am here to remind those seeking to be elected into office of something that has increasingly become imperative to me. I am not seeking to be courted. While I get to spend the next year of my life listening to people who have never met me – […]

America’s Pastime and Me

I remember getting my first baseball glove. I was five, and it was from Kay-Bee Toys. Growing up there was a vacant lot between my house and our neighbor’s to the right, so every spring and summer I would drag cinder blocks across the grass and make a diamond. Sometimes I would get the other kids in the neighborhood to play a full pick-up game with me, but usually it was just my brother, father, and myself. When I was ten, I begged my parents to buy me a tee-ball set, but only because it had a genuine rubber home […]