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 […]

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 […]

Support Grows in Hagerstown

When I first met Jeff Rohrer, he shared with me a lesson he learned a long time ago: If you want something, you have to ask for it. This philosophy has served Rohrer well, helping him and his drag alter ego, Ashley Bannks, win Miss Gay Maryland America in 2002. Now, as president of local LGBTQ nonprofit Hagerstown Hopes, Rohrer is using his motto to help and serve our community, and with great success. May 1st was a big day for Hagerstown Hopes. The first day the new Hagerstown Hopes community center was open to the public coincided with Washington […]

Catching Up With Hagerstown Hopes

  The folks at Hagerstown Hopes have been very busy. For months I’ve been seeing updates via their Facebook page: exciting news of a new community center, social outings, and of course, news of the upcoming Hagerstown Pride. I recently met with Jeff Rohrer, president of Hagerstown Hopes, to learn more about what they’ll be bringing to the community. Let me tell you, it’s everything I could have asked for, and more. First on the list is the new LGBTQ community center located in Mulberry Lofts, which is expected to open very soon. Rohrer says that they’re down to a […]

How Queer Culture Influences the March for Our Lives

What do you do when you have little to lose and everything to gain? You fight for what you believe in. This sentiment has been the backbone of LGBTQ protests in countless fights for equality since the early days of the AIDS crisis. It has helped us achieve what many, including some of our own, thought to be impossible. We’ve won the battle for marriage equality, our acceptance into the military, and many civil rights we had previously been denied. Now, students and anti-gun violence protesters have taken pages from the LGBTQ playbook to address the issue of gun-related violence […]

West Virginia Teachers Lead Movement

“Can I afford to do the job I love?” It’s an important question most of us have asked ourselves, especially if our passion lends itself to nontraditional employment; after all, the “starving artist” cliché exists for a reason. But now, teachers and public employees in West Virginia have to ask themselves this question on a daily basis. Can they afford to continue doing the job they love? No one goes into teaching for the money. In West Virginia there are 680 public schools, over a quarter-million students, and 19,488 teachers. There are also 727 teacher vacancies, a problem attributed to […]