Let Us Go to Hell

For the majority of my adolescence, my rock was my faith and spirituality. Even at maximum-angst-levels, when I touted myself a Goth teenage Marxist, my black nail polish and lip-lined self was in the pew every Sunday. In high school I was an acolyte and a member of the praise band. By the time I finished high school, I was attending university with plans to become a youth pastor myself. Even as I began to understand my own sexuality and gender, it was not my decision to walk away from my faith until much later in my life. And even […]

Adoption: Double-Edged Sword

For the most part, I’m a fan of adoption. I’m adopted. My brother is adopted. I have three cousins who are adopted. I have two cousins who have each adopted two children. And, as you know, I’ve adopted 16 times. Adoption is more a part of my understanding of how to make a family than any other method. As my family, we adopted some through the state foster-care system, some through private adoption, and some through agencies. The only type of adoption we have not experienced is international. Our children were all born in the US. However, one of my […]

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 […]

Bad Words and Broken Memories

That is 18-year-old me in the picture with my best friend at the time. Before adulthood firmly separated our paths, we went on the adventures of sitcoms. Like most adolescent friendships, ultimately the experiences we go through are what tie us to each other forever. I’ve had the normal share of best friends forever growing up, and while we have all followed different paths, there are parts of our personalities that have been forever shaped by each other. The blurred face next to me had a flourish of hateful and ignorant rhetoric he needed to shout at my wife via […]

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 […]

My Transitional Sweet Tooth

When I was in the process of getting my prescription for Testosterone, the last thing on my mind was the side effects of changing the complete hormonal balance of my body. The potential complications, many of which I should have genuinely taken seriously; were completely overshadowed by the idea that I would no longer stare at my friends with the envious gaze of someone who wanted a beard more than anything else in the world. It is an awkward time where people assume you are fourteen and you spend time angling your face in a way that gives your voice […]

Love the Babies

We have a new baby in our family.  Before you get too excited, you should know that it’s not my baby. This baby belongs to my daughter and her husband and is grandchild #10 for us – not counting fosters, steps, and those whose existence is unknown to me.  I know that sounds a little weird.  However, in our world, sometimes we have to accept the weird.  Let me explain how it works.  Many of our grown kids suffer with mental illness.  This is most likely the result of early trauma in their lives.  Some do not believe they have […]

Drag Show as Lifeline

I went to a drag show yesterday. So now, I know you’re asking how that’s possibly newsworthy. People go to drag shows all the time. And, I freely admit I’m one of those who goes fairly often. I love a good drag show. But, yesterday’s show was different. It started in the usual way. I arranged to meet several friends at a drag brunch in Hagerstown. Good food, good friends, a couple of drinks. You know, the usual. The restaurant arranged the seating so that many of us were at long tables. Our table had our group of four and […]