Good Parents Bad Son

My earliest memories that are not of me donning miniature versions of my father’s work outfit and carrying around my own tools, are of my mother explaining to me why my brother and I did not look like our parents. While many biracial and black children adopted by white parents grow up in homes that do not push the enrichment of their child’s biological culture and heritage; my parents always encouraged us to explore our roots, and would go out of their comfort zone to ensure we always knew how fiercely we were loved, and how proud we should be […]

Mid-March Musings

Six months ago, a hometown friend posted that the local LGBTQ group has a couple of vacancies on its board of directors. A year prior, this friend had encouraged me to work with him at said group. He was trying to get a trans support group started, and the occasional rant apparently made me someone worth contacting, somehow. I was six months on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and was not feeling as “masculine” as other transmen appeared on Instagram; and obviously I was not good enough. Instead of articulating that as I just did, I dragged my feet answering messages, […]

We Deserve Better

Last week I wrote testimony about Maryland HB 421, which would bring Maryland into the wonderful group of states that removes the tap dance and mountain climb that is changing the gender marker on one’s ID. It would also give a recognition for non-binary Marylanders in the form of an X instead of either gender marker. The Senate companion bill passed and has been sent over for vote to the house. Trans and non-binary Marylanders are rejoicing. This is an amazing, exciting and the exhilarating type of anxious, and I am so mad at Jussie Smollett that I want to […]

Let Us Go to Hell

For the majority of my adolescence, my rock was my faith and spirituality. Even at maximum-angst-levels, when I touted myself a Goth teenage Marxist, my black nail polish and lip-lined self was in the pew every Sunday. In high school I was an acolyte and a member of the praise band. By the time I finished high school, I was attending university with plans to become a youth pastor myself. Even as I began to understand my own sexuality and gender, it was not my decision to walk away from my faith until much later in my life. And even […]

Bad Words and Broken Memories

That is 18-year-old me in the picture with my best friend at the time. Before adulthood firmly separated our paths, we went on the adventures of sitcoms. Like most adolescent friendships, ultimately the experiences we go through are what tie us to each other forever. I’ve had the normal share of best friends forever growing up, and while we have all followed different paths, there are parts of our personalities that have been forever shaped by each other. The blurred face next to me had a flourish of hateful and ignorant rhetoric he needed to shout at my wife via […]

My Transitional Sweet Tooth

When I was in the process of getting my prescription for Testosterone, the last thing on my mind was the side effects of changing the complete hormonal balance of my body. The potential complications, many of which I should have genuinely taken seriously; were completely overshadowed by the idea that I would no longer stare at my friends with the envious gaze of someone who wanted a beard more than anything else in the world. It is an awkward time where people assume you are fourteen and you spend time angling your face in a way that gives your voice […]

To My Best Friend

Christmas Eve 2014. It is winter break, the perks of working in a college town, and the lack of structure has turned my life into chaos. It had been chaotic beforehand, ever since finishing college in 2013, my life had been falling apart around me. Never been a big fan of alcohol, I learned in my freshman year that cheap beer will never taste good, especially not coming back up walking back to your dorm; but post-college me tried hard. I am going to be blunt: I was awful to everyone in my life. Snapping at loved ones does a […]

The Past, Present, & Future

Thursday, I spoke at a local high school’s gay/straight alliance (GSA) about growing up immediately before America’s marriage equality shift. Walking the hallways, I felt the impending doom from my own youth slowly creep back over my shoulders. I was there for half an hour before meeting with the students, and during that time, I felt 15 again. Awkward, confused and trapped; all of the terrible emotions teenage me had long since buried came flooding back as I sat among the future of our community. Possibly a side-effect of second puberty, but I feel like we could learn something from […]

The Kindness of Strangers

As a short, skinny kid with an eye patch who became a short, less-skinny, permanently-winking adult, people always assumed what I could not do. As a child, people took one look and concluded that I was either feeble-minded or -bodied. I applaud my mother for always being vocal with others about that reality, but I never thought about how exhausting that must have been. Now, as an out-and-flag-wearing trans man, I realize that I’ve traded one assumption for another. Between my work for Hagerstown Hopes and my slowly-growing potential reader base, I realize that I’m constantly representing something bigger than […]

Liberty or Death

The feeling of being transgender in America The best way to describe the feeling of being a transgender American is constant nausea-inducing dread. The nausea has been as constant to me in the past two years as is finding myself having to be excused from conversations, needing a moment to compose myself, while people who continue to live in the safety of their heteronormative-ness discuss our political situation as though we are in a classroom, and not watching millions of our fellow citizens lose every freedom and protection that keeps us from becoming another statistic, from becoming another memorial or […]