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 […]

Year of the Beard

A lot happened in 2018, but for me it was the year of the beard. I’ve had a beard of varying length for years, but dress codes and social norms generally kept it in check. Every few weeks (or months) I’d go to a barber and tidy up so I would look like a respectable young man. Then my barber closed towards the end of 2017 and because I was working in a more relaxed environment, I decided to conduct my own social experiment and not trim my hair or beard for a year. Here’s what happened. At first I […]

Happy New Year from Hagerstown Hopes

Hagerstown Hopes has a lot to be thankful for and we want to thank the community for supporting us all year, but especially for helping us break a fundraising record at the recent Snow Ball & Silent Auction hosted by The Lodge. The holiday show, featuring 20-plus performers, has long been the pet project of Nicole James, reigning Miss Gay Maryland America, and has become a staple in our local community. This year, the community showed up for some great entertainment and to support Hagerstown Hopes, the beneficiary of the night. In just three short hours, the community raised over […]

Baby, It’s Time to Talk About Consent

This has been a year filled with headlines and social movements (#MeToo) about sexual politics, so it isn’t much of a surprise that we’re now reconsidering our feelings about the holiday song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Rather than rehash what’s already been said about a song that could easily be interpreted as inappropriate, I’d rather address the larger issue: consent. Sexual consent is a tricky topic. Each state has a different definition and our approach to consent is still evolving. Gone are the days of “no means no,” thus paving the way for the new “only yes means yes.” Many […]

Happy Holidays from Hagerstown Hopes

As 2018 comes to an end, we here at Hagerstown Hopes have been reflecting on the last year and how far we’ve come as an organization. We have you and our community to thank for that – it’s sometimes hard to believe the progress that’s been made in our small town in recent years, let alone this year. It’s been an exciting, sometimes arduous journey, to bring services and resources to the LGBTQ community in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas, and we thank you for your support. Our community center (the Hagerstown Hopes Hub) opened May 1st and ever since […]