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 […]

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. […]