The Importance of Prom

Do you remember the advice you were given when you were a teenager? I do. Lots of adults – whether they were parents, teachers, or family friends – all shared similar words of wisdom, most of which began with the word “don’t”: Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex (or don’t have sex without protection). Looking back, it seems that most of the advice I was given was about what not to do. On the rare occasion that the advice was meant to encourage me to do something, it was usually practical things like working hard and […]

Dealing with Disappointment

Last week I was writing from the moon. I’d just had a big disappointment, the kind that turns your world upside down and inside out. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. I questioned everything I thought I knew about myself, my place in a suddenly strange world, and what my future would bring. I was ashamed and, what made the terrible even worse was that I felt that I had somehow ruined everything and had no one else to blame but myself. And that’s exactly why I chose to write about it. Everyone has disappointments and we all […]

Writing From the Moon

A few days ago, I died. Well, not really, but I felt like I did. I found out that the opportunity everyone assured me I would have was no longer possible. And, because this opportunity was no longer possible, neither was the incredible life I was so sure I’d have as a result of it. Years of work went into earning this opportunity, and its presence played a significant role in every decision I’ve made in my life over the better part of the last decade. This opportunity would be the catalyst, the thing that would make everything that so […]

The Things We Don’t Talk About

If you’ve read my articles online, you may have noticed in my bio that I knit. I’m really, really good at knitting, but it’s not something I talk about in mixed company. It’s not something I open with when meeting new people; instead, it’s something I share when the time is right, and I feel comfortable. I’m secure with myself and I’m proud of my ability to be able to draft a pattern for a sweater in five minutes or less, but I also know that when a gay man mentions a “feminine” hobby like knitting, even the most progressive […]

The Work and Why I Do It

A few days ago, I went to trivia night with some new friends. Midway through the game the question asked which composer had written the Hungarian Rhapsodies, an easy win for us because our team includes two trained musicians. We immediately set to the kind of frenzied, whispered conversation that makes trivia so much fun. We agreed that it was a sneaky question because Brahms was best known for his Hungarian Dances, but Liszt had in fact written the Hungarian Rhapsodies. A few minutes later the answer was announced. Some teams groaned and others cheered. Then, as we enjoyed the […]

Hagerstown Hopes Supports VDay

It’s been another busy month for Hagerstown Hopes. We’ve survived the snow and polar vortex and we’re excited to update you on our progress in several initiatives! We just hosted our first open meeting at our community center, the Hagerstown Hopes Hub! We hold open board meetings every other month to give the community a chance to meet us, learn more about our work, and to get involved. This was our first meeting at the Hub and we’ve been eager to show off our space. Located in Mulberry Lofts, the Hub is the center of our activities. We’ve hosted meetings […]

A Hand Worth Holding

A few months ago, I needed a date. My favorite movie (Dario Argento’s Suspiria) had been “re-imagined” by Oscar-nominated director Luca Guadagnino into what critics were calling a “grim and glorious work of madness,” centering around a coven of witches who channel and direct their magic in plain sight under the guise of a world-renowned dance company. With Tilda Swinton as the antagonist in a movie built around sexy-scary witch dancing, I knew I had to be there opening night. I also knew I needed a hand to hold. I began looking for a date in July. Presumably this would […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Trans Support and Outreach

Like all of you, we at Hagerstown Hopes are deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the transgender military ban to go into effect. It was a surprise of the worst kind and, when the local news reached out for comment, we banded together to draft a statement: … * WE BELIEVE everyone has the right to safety and to fully participate in society without fear of discrimination and violence. The announcement on the transgender military ban from the Supreme Court today comes as a blow to not only the transgender community, but to the LGBTQ community […]

Hagerstown Hopes Ramps Up For 2019

Hagerstown Hopes had a great holiday season, and we thank you for being a part of it!  Now we’re gearing up for a new year, following the recent success of the Snow Ball and Silent Auction.  The annual holiday show and personal project of Nicole James, reigning Miss Gay Maryland America, brought the community together for a night of fun with proceeds generously benefiting Hagerstown Hopes.  Santa visited for selfies, items were auctioned, and over twenty performers gave us their all in a fun and memorable show.  When it was all said and done, the community raised over $10,000 to […]

Ditch the Bucket, Get A Well

January can be cruel.  It’s the start of a new year, it’s cold, and our custom of making resolutions to be better versions of ourselves can sometimes invite unwelcome introspection into who we are and the way we live our lives.  For me, January is especially cruel because it’s also the month of my birthday, a double whammy of a reminder that the clock is ticking and I’m not getting any younger.             To be clear, I’m not afraid of getting older.  Getting older only means one thing: that we didn’t die.  That’s good, right?  Well, yes and no.  I […]