The Gravity of Bullying

I wore an eye patch from third grade through sixth grade. I was the mixed-race tomboy with one eye. While my obvious differences rarely reared their ugly side in elementary school, they became my sole identifier by middle school. The first time I was called a homophobic slur was when I was referred to as a Pirate Dyke on the school bus. After my flute was stolen and thrown into the yard of an aggressive dog and the school deemed it not their problem, I changed bus stops, where I was pelted with rocks on my way home each day […]

Social Media and Relationships Part 1

Social media has certainly affected society and relationships. Years ago, we actually had to either talk to someone on a device tethered to a wall and bare callused fingers to actually dial or push buttons with numbers on them in order to speak to someone live! And, (gasp!) prior to the telephone, people actually had to write letters, in stellar penmanship and no spellcheck! Now, everything is done through texting, and yes I am guilty of it, however not only texting, but also SM (social media, like a disease!) has steered how we interact, see ourselves or hide behind a […]

The Kids are Alright

I had the absolute pleasure this weekend to get to answer some questions about trans and other LGBTQ issues for a class of young folks, they had a lot of great questions and my thoughts about the experience are all piled on top of each other like a box of necklaces I need to untangle before I can put them on display. Our panel was beautiful varied. Some of us were binary trans folks, some of us were non-binary, some of us were elder, and some of us were still in high school. The children were all younger but I […]

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day. Some cynics will avow this holiday is nothing more than another corporate means of cashing in on something called love, which should be celebrated every day with that special person in my opinion. However, it’s always nice to get chocolate, especially since dark chocolate is supposed to be a great substitute for love – or that’s what the Internet says! Some will state it’s a holiday celebrating “singleness.” Of course, the Hallmark Channel exhibits nice young and attractive white people always finding love with the same storylines, just different actors! But what exactly are we supposed to […]

Hagerstown Hopes Labor of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Hagerstown Hopes! Our organization exists to support, strengthen, and serve the LGBTQ community of Hagerstown, Maryland, and the surrounding areas. For us, this is a labor of love for our community. All of our board and committee members are volunteers, citizens who want to give back to the community and make life better in the places we call home. As always, we’ve made progress in our work and we hope you’ll join us for some of our upcoming events! Historically, there haven’t been many social opportunities for our community in Hagerstown and […]

A Community of Love

One of the things I like most about our community is that we are defined by love. It’s a simple notion that is also surprisingly complex. Unlike other communities that are defined by geography, beliefs, culture, and heritage, our community is a mishmash of members of all other communities, brought together because of who and how we love. Our community is defined by what’s in our hearts and through our actions we show the world that love is love and all love is equal. That doesn’t mean that love comes easily to us, though. Many of us were taught to […]

A Reluctant Valentine’s Plan

The last time my wife and I had Valentine’s Day off together, Barack Obama was in the middle of his first term in office. She was a college freshman, and I was preparing to transfer after attending a community college while I cleared up an outstanding student loan balance from my time at Wesleyan. We had tickets to the professional orchestra that was housed at our university and made plans to go out for dinner after the concert. To top off our romantic evening, I bought us a bottle of Boone’s Farm; and we spent the rest of the night […]

Transporting Myself

As I’m typing this first draft at 5 am on my cell phone at a friend’s house near Philadelphia, I’m surrounded by bags of my possessions. A black cat, Padfoot, is sitting on my suitcase, which contains changes of clothes, hormones, makeup, and so on. Today, we’re to go to a scheduled formal event for firefighters, and we’ll be all dressed and made up for the occasion. All of this has got me thinking about how different travel is for me now, both as a woman and a trans person. I used to hate formals. When I had to pretend […]

Regrets & Expectations

To have regrets would mean to have changed the course of the present. To state “I wish I had never met you” or “I wish I’d never done XYZ” could mean negating all the positive developments up to this point. Think about it! Would you have still achieved the goals you had? Painted that picture? Written that novel? Taken that cruise? It’s like in It’s A Wonderful Life, where George Bailey says to the angel Clarence, “I wish I’d never been born,” and he gets his wish, then sees what life would have been like had he never existed, with […]

Hagerstown Hopes Supporting Youth & Giving Back

There’s always something happening at Hagerstown Hopes. Our mission is to strengthen and support the LGBTQ community of Washington County and surrounding areas. It’s a big task, and we’re up for the challenge! Continue reading to find out more about what we’ve been doing, as well as what’s coming.When we decided to branch out into community outreach, we knew we needed to develop programs and services for our young people. LGBTQ youth often face unique challenges that are different than their straight and cisgender peers. Without support, queer youth can be vulnerable to problems their age and experience have not […]