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 […]

An Open Letter to Parents of Queer Teens

When I came out (three times!) my parents were immediately supportive. Support is easy, love is easy. Unconditional love of a child and understanding that child are profoundly different. Teenagers today have a vast wealth of information and resources available with one click. When I was first trying to figure out myself, I spent hours on an extinct chat-advice site with other people just as confused as myself. Dial-up connection, way too much Mountain Dew, and my teenage angst, furiously scrolling in the hopes of making sense of everything within my brain. The information scope of today is beyond what […]

On Yearbooks, Memories, and Trans-Disconnect

The early 2000s. A mixed bag of gender identity / sexual orientation / hobbies left teenage me scrambling to find more than a couple people who understood me in anything more than simplistic terms. I was able to cultivate a handful of friendships that withstood the volatile mess that most of my 20s were, and while grateful to have those people still in my life, the more removed I am from my teenage years, the more I feel a physical wall between my present and my past My reality is one where the person who lives in my old yearbooks […]

Fall into the New Season with Hagerstown Hopes

The summer days may be winding down, but the folks at Hagerstown Hopes are only heating up! Fresh off the heels of another successful Hagerstown Pride, we recently supported our community to the north as a part of Franklin County, Pennsylvania’s annual pride celebration on August 4th. “Drag Race” star Kalorie Kardashian led the festivities with help from Hagerstown Hope’s own Queen of Pride, Miss Chasity Vain, as well as many of the area’s many talented drag superstars. It was a perfect way to wind down Pride season with a family-friendly event that truly allows Hopes to bridge new relationships […]

Pencils, Paper, Backpacks, and …… Liberties for queer students

As the August nights begin to chill it means that back-to-school season is upon us. You cannot escape the displays, school lists and giant adverts of pencils and apples that have popped up in stores and online. Even if you’re decades removed from your own schooling, it is impossible to wade through the latter half of August and not remember the smell of new school supplies and shoes. Picking out the best outfit and packing your new backpack to the brim, and anxiously awaiting seeing your friends while wondering which teachers live up to their reputations. Young me usually spent […]