Your Spirit and the Holidays

Recently I, along with members of Hagerstown Hopes and other community members, participated in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was a moving experience, all of us bundled against the cold while holding candles to bring light to the violence and injustices that have increasingly affected the transgender community in recent years. Asher Kennedy and I read the names and causes of death of those we lost to violence over the past year, mostly trans women of color. It all seemed so senseless and I began to wonder how, in 2018, we as a country are still struggling to accept […]

Hagerstown Hopes Crowns Queen & King of Pride

November 30th was a big night for Hagerstown Hopes and our local community. This was the night of the pageant to crown the Queen and King of Hagerstown Pride for 2019. Yes, you read that correctly – Queen and King. Pride festivals have long had a Queen of Pride, but Kings of Pride are relatively new to the scene. In an effort to better represent the diversity of our community, Hagerstown Hopes decided to open the pageant to all applicants, including cis-gender persons, to be the official spokespeople of our organization and to represent us to the public and in […]

Project Potluck

By the time you read this, the holiday season will be in full swing. My anxiety will also be in full swing because, as a nervous and incompetent cook, I will be preparing to face down my old enemy: holiday potlucks. Don’t get me wrong. Overall, I like potlucks. I like getting together with friends and loved ones and catching up. And sure, it’s nice to eat other people’s food, especially if they know how to cook. But for those of us who struggle in the kitchen, this can be a stressful time of year. Potlucks are like a “Project […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Updates and Advocacy

It’s been a busy month at Hagerstown Hopes! We’re happy to say that Golden Girls Drag Bingo, a fundraising event in partnership with For Otis Sake sold out, raising substantial funds for both our organizations. Everybody had a great time and our special Golden Girls performers put on a memorable and crowd-pleasing show. You can look forward to more drag bingo events from Hagerstown Hopes and For Otis Sake in the future! We’ve also been working to support our transgender community. On November 20th we participated in the Transgender Day of Remembrance, held in downtown Hagerstown to remember those in […]

The T in Our Community

Do you remember what the world was like 20 years ago? I do. Back then, we were not equal citizens. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was still in place, and we were still years from achieving Marriage Equality. We were not protected by policy and the murder of Matthew Shepard lingered in the back of our minds, giving validation to our worst fears – that what happened to Matthew could happen to us. I was a teenager, desperately wanting to come out and find my tribe, but afraid to do so. During those times it wasn’t uncommon for us to be […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Supports the Trans Community

This is an exciting time for us at Hagerstown Hopes. Our organization was founded to serve the LGBTQ community and this is a responsibility we take very seriously. For months we’ve been working on developing programs and activities to meet the needs of our community not only in Hagerstown, but the surrounding areas as well. Our goal is to create quality programs that benefit the community, and we’re taking every precaution and attending to every detail to ensure that things run smoothly and with minimal hiccups. Now that I have your interest, I would like to formally invite you to […]

How to Fix Hagerstown’s Image Problem

Numbers, ratings, and data are important. They influence our decisions of where to eat, what movie to see, and even where to live. That’s why I was disappointed to learn that Hagerstown had the lowest rating of ten Maryland cities included in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2018 Municipal Equality Index. HRC rates cities on a scale of 0-100, and Hagerstown received a 32. In comparison, nearby Frederick had a perfect score of 100. What’s more, we dropped six points from last year. Ouch. If you’re thinking, “Well, it’s Hagerstown, you can’t be that surprised,” you’ve already demonstrated why this is […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Improving Our Equality Rating

The Human Rights Campaign recently released its 2018 Municipal Equality Index, an evaluation that rates cities based on “how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there.” Cities are rated on a scale of 0-100 based on 49 different criteria. The process is a kind of audit, requiring the submission of paperwork and supporting documentation from city officials to HRC for evaluation. Several Maryland cities received perfect scores, but Hagerstown was not one of them. In a disappointing turn of events, Hagerstown was rated 32, making us the lowest ranked city in Maryland. […]

The Cult of Carrie: The Musical

Carrie White can never catch a break. Ever since she first appeared in Stephen King’s 1974 novel Carrie, the awkward, lonely, abused teenage heroine has been misunderstood. There have been two film adaptations of King’s novel, each offering a different perspective on the characters and events culminating in the most iconic and memorable prom scene in cinema history. But what many film fans don’t know is that Carrie has also been adapted into a musical with a legacy of its own. Like Carrie herself, Carrie: The Musical was perhaps doomed from the start. The 1988 production is one of the […]

MSO Makes Debut Recording with Sharon Isbin

It was cold and snowy on my 18th birthday, but that didn’t stop me from following through on my first decision as an adult: I would take myself to see the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. Internationally renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin would be joining the MSO to play “Troubadours,” a piece for guitar and orchestra, and my aspiring-musician self was anxious to hear something sure to be beautiful, exciting, and passionate. Isbin and the MSO, under the skillful conducting of Elizabeth Schulze, did not disappoint. As I sat in the beautiful Maryland Theatre, home of the MSO, I was mesmerized by […]