The Boy with the Bicycle

Outside of my life as an activist / columnist / freelance musician, the job that keeps a roof over my head and entirely too much pizza in my diet is as a front desk agent for a hotel. Most of my shifts are uneventful, the most exciting part of the evening being the 15 minutes I eat my salad. The night I met Bo was no exception. It is not uncommon to have people ask to wait inside our lobby to escape the elements in the winter, and the night I met Bo was one of those. It was an […]

Can I Have This Dance?

This week is adoption week for Kassandra. Yes, we’ve changed the spelling of her name. We’re rehearsing for the questions the judge might ask her. She confidently announces that, “I’m Kassa” or “I’m three years old,” all while holding up five fingers. Our adoption ritual is simple. We go before the judge, listen while he or she talks about how wondrous adoption is, take pictures, and then take the crowd to lunch. This is our 17th adoption and we’ve done it with every one. But, the biggest part of our adoption ritual is celebrating the adoptee. Less than half of […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Prom, Youth Outreach, and Hagerstown Pride Updates

Spring is here and we at Hagerstown Hopes are excited to tell you all about the projects we’ve been working on all winter. Ever since we branched out into outreach and serving our community, we’ve been working on developing services for young people. There have been a number of challenges (it’s been understandably difficult getting materials and resources into public schools) and we’re happy to announce that all of our work is starting to pay off. We are proud to announce that we will be throwing our first LGBTQIA Prom on Saturday, April 20th at the Ramada Plaza in Hagerstown. […]

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 […]

Good Parents Bad Son

My earliest memories that are not of me donning miniature versions of my father’s work outfit and carrying around my own tools, are of my mother explaining to me why my brother and I did not look like our parents. While many biracial and black children adopted by white parents grow up in homes that do not push the enrichment of their child’s biological culture and heritage; my parents always encouraged us to explore our roots, and would go out of their comfort zone to ensure we always knew how fiercely we were loved, and how proud we should be […]

Family Traditions

The past few days, my house has been filled with a variety of renditions of the Happy Birthday song. It’s been a couple of months since we had a birthday in the house and Kassandra apparently really likes that song. This all came about after she and I went to a baby’s first birthday party on Saturday. It was such a special day. The birthday girl was adorable, and the house was filled with people in a party mood. Kids ran around, playing games. Parents chatted with each other. One of my older daughters was there, so while I held […]

Hagerstown Hopes Continues Outreach Work, Plans Prom and Drag Bingo

Hagerstown Hopes has been on a roll lately! Following our contribution to Shepherd University’s 2019 V-Day celebration (Let’s Talk About Sex and Gender), board member Asher Kennedy recently represented Hagerstown Hopes at Shepherd University’s second annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference. Kennedy presented “The Grey Area: Transgender Life and Liberty in America,” a presentation highlighting the experiences of transgender persons in America from pre-American to modern times, along with the social and political issues affecting those in the community. The conference was free and open to both Shepherd students and the general public. Those attending received a handout of information about […]

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 […]

Mid-March Musings

Six months ago, a hometown friend posted that the local LGBTQ group has a couple of vacancies on its board of directors. A year prior, this friend had encouraged me to work with him at said group. He was trying to get a trans support group started, and the occasional rant apparently made me someone worth contacting, somehow. I was six months on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and was not feeling as “masculine” as other transmen appeared on Instagram; and obviously I was not good enough. Instead of articulating that as I just did, I dragged my feet answering messages, […]

There is Hope

Many of my children have mental health diagnoses. In fact, many children who go through the foster care system have mental health diagnoses, too. I remember when I was first starting off as a foster parent. Every kid in my home had a diagnosis. I began to notice a trend. Depending on their age, the kids all had the same diagnosis. The teens had Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The little ones all had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In our county, the same psychiatrist examined them all. I began to doubt the diagnoses and worked with our medical and mental health providers […]