PrEP is Not Enough

2017 was a record-breaking year in the US, but not in a good way. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017 saw nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, surpassing a record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 diagnoses. Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the CDC, says we’ve seen “steep and sustained increases over the last five years” in STD diagnoses. With that in mind, it’s not all that surprising that the US has the highest STD rates in the industrialized world. The statistics are alarming. Between 2013 […]

Hagerstown Hopes Giving Back and Getting Involved

It takes time to build a community. After all, a community like ours is made up of all different kinds of people: people with different likes, different opinions, different life experiences, all with different wants and needs. Factor in the geographic size of the region and creating a community becomes an intimidating task. How do you reach out to everyone and extend an invitation? Despite our name, Hagerstown Hopes is an organization dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community not just in Hagerstown but the surrounding areas as well. We’ve already been contacted by persons in West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, […]

Emerging from Emergencies

When it rains, it pours. Fresh from my run-in with rabies a few weeks ago, I found myself affected by an emergency in my social circle. When I learned of it, I was dumbfounded and caught completely off guard because, like most emergencies, nobody saw this one coming. Everything was fine until suddenly it wasn’t. Part of what makes an emergency an emergency is that the stakes are high and the outcome is uncertain. This adds extra stress and anxiety to an already tense situation because, if the worst happens, we could lose something or someone we love. It’s like […]

My Run-in With Rabies

A few days ago, I was attacked by a mouse. Thus, began one of the most memorable, and ridiculous, experiences of my adult life. It happened at about two in the morning. I woke with a start, flailing. I vaguely remember feeling something soft and fuzzy in my hand that was suddenly no longer there, followed by a soft thud against the wall and small scurrying sounds across my bedroom floor. I quickly switched on the light, terrified and confused, only to find a small trace of blood on my thumb, which throbbed with the kind of pain one usually […]

Hagerstown Hopes is Open For Business

The folks at Hagerstown Hopes have had a very busy summer. Hagerstown Pride was a huge success, with an estimated 3,000 people in attendance, dozens of vendors, and a massive outpouring of support from the local community. We are grateful to everyone who has volunteered their time, energy, and talents in supporting Hagerstown Hopes’ efforts to reach out to and get involved in our local communities. Now, after months of work, we are ready to tell you about some of the many ways we would like to support you, our community. We care about all members of our community and […]

Pride Brings Hope to Hagerstown

When Hagerstown Hopes was finalizing plans for Hagerstown Pride (held on Saturday, July 14th) members were optimistic that it would be a success. What they didn’t count on was how much of a success it would be. Thao Ta of local news outlet WDVM reported that this year’s Pride, themed “This is Me” was expected to draw up to 3,000 people. After interviewing the organizers of this year’s Pride, Thao and I discussed what Hopes will be bringing to the community. She was gracious, kind, and even posed for a selfie with me (after teaching me how to use my […]

Your Guide to Hagerstown Pride, July 14th Everyone’s coming out for it!

Pride month may be coming to a close, but things are just getting started in Hagerstown. Hagerstown Pride is scheduled for Saturday, July 14th from 11:30 am to 6 pm with “Proud: Htown Pride After Party” at The Lodge following the festivities. Hagerstown Pride is a family-friendly event and is free to the public. This year Pride is being held in the Central Lot (14 North Potomac Street) in the heart of downtown Hagerstown. It is accessible from Franklin, Washington, Potomac, and Locust streets, off the square in downtown Hagerstown. Parking is available across the street at the University District […]

Be Proud of Yourself

Going to Pride is kind of like the first day of high school. You may recognize a few faces, but there are a lot of new people you haven’t met yet. It’s an experience that can be simultaneously exhilarating and horrifying, especially if you don’t know many people in the community. And, just like the first day of high school, you may find yourself wondering if and where you fit in. Navigating gay male culture can be tricky. We live in a digital age and many of us have an online dating profile or use social networking apps to meet […]

Ins & Outs Why coming out matters

One of the things I love about our community is that there’s no right or wrong way to be queer; the only criteria for membership is that you identify as LGBTQIA-plus. This itself can be a long and arduous process. We know we belong to the community, but not necessarily where or how. Finding your tribe isn’t always easy, though. When I came out half a lifetime ago, part of me expected to find my tribe immediately. I didn’t. Most of us don’t. Many of us are still looking for our tribe. It takes time, some experimenting, and personal reflection […]

When Bois Love Girls

I’ve been thinking a lot about high school lately. You see, my nephew recently attended his first prom and I was there for the obligatory pre-prom photo extravaganza organized by a group of students from his high school. As the couples took turns posing in their prom finery, the parents in the crowd talked amongst themselves about how much prom has changed. Moms spoke of home-made gowns and dads discussed renting tuxedos from a catalog that had, at best, seven options. I remember the tuxedo I chose for my senior prom. The jacket had tails, something the conductor of a […]