Karen Kendra Holmes: My Journey

The question you may be asking is “Who is Karen Kendra Holmes?” To start things off, I am an advocate for the transgender community. But let me take you back to the time before I became an advocate for my fellow sisters and brothers in the community. I recall as early as 13 years of age when I started dressing in clothes designed for women. I wasn’t sure why or when I decided to do that, but I felt right within myself to wear women’s clothing and I was more comfortable with myself when I did. For years I purchased […]

Hagerstown Hopes Gears Up for Hagerstown Pride!

Happy Pride from all of us at Hagerstown Hopes! This is one of our favorite times of year, a season of community, fun, and celebration for the LGBTQ community. We’ve been hard at work planning and making preparations for Hagerstown Pride. Along the way, we’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to add a few events leading up to the Hagerstown Pride festival, scheduled for July 13th from noon to 6 pm in the Central Parking Lot in downtown Hagerstown. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate Pride season! Pride season begins with our Pride Kickoff Night Out at […]

The Banner

Having been in marching band for six years, I’m no stranger to parades. My school participated in all kinds of parades, celebrating virtually every holiday and local festival imaginable. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we would march and play to commemorate the opening of an envelope. I thought I’d seen it all, then I marched in the Baltimore Pride parade and realized my years of middle and high school band had not prepared me for a Pride parade. At all. When I was asked to march in the parade, I immediately said yes. After all, I knew […]

Late Night Dates and Nostalgia

Every night is the same in my life. After we put the pup to bed in his crate for the night, we head upstairs for our own nightly unwind before bed. Usually, since I work until 11, we are also scarfing down our dinner as we slowly transition. Part of our ritual is vehemently searching for something to watch. Currently, we are caught up on most everything we watch and until our summer shows begin again, we are usually watching “Judge Judy” videos on Youtube while my wife suggests literally anything else. Usually she suggests movies, which is a quagmire, […]

Time for Rodeo School! Calling all wannabe cowboys & cowgirls

So what’s a rodeo school? A rodeo school is a play-day event that’s dedicated to learning how to perform the events in a gay rodeo. At a gay rodeo, you’ll find traditional rodeo events such as barrel racing, bull riding, and calf roping. Gay rodeos also add in some fun crowd-pleasing camp events that even those who don’t know how to ride a horse or have never been around livestock can do. The three added camp events that you’ll find at a gay rodeo are goat dressing (a team relay race to put underwear on a goat), steer decorating (a […]

Who Makes the Rules?

I am so tired of parent shaming, I might have to explode. What gives someone the right to criticize other people’s parenting styles? Who makes these rules that people seem to want to enforce at random? I’ve never seen the list and I’ll bet you haven’t either. Today was one of those days when the parent shaming statements were too loud to ignore. Someone didn’t like the way a four year old was dressed. His parents must be horrible. I saw the kid wearing shorts, shirt, socks, and shoes. He was dressed. End of discussion. Someone else didn’t like that […]

Hagerstown Hopes Kicks Off Pride Season

Happy Pride from all of us at Hagerstown Hopes! This is one of our favorite times of year, a season of community, fun, and celebration for the LGBTQ community. We’ve been hard at work planning and making preparations for Hagerstown Pride. Along the way, we’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to add a few events leading up to the Hagerstown Pride festival, scheduled for July 13th from noon to 6 pm in the Central Parking Lot in downtown Hagerstown. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate Pride season. Pride season begins with our Pride Kickoff Night Out at […]

Communal Pride

Less than 24 hours ago, I was sitting in a room with a dozen and a half other trans and enby [non-binary] folks from the Delaware-Virginia-Maryland area and I found myself feeling homesick. Homesick is the incorrect word. I was surrounded by the most trans and enby folks I have ever been around at the same time, and seeing each and every one of these amazing people shine and share their stories and triumphs was something that I have not been able to see in person in my activism and advocacy. I was the lone Western Marylander, and I realized […]

The Wounds of the Closet

We wouldn’t have Pride if we didn’t have the closet first. The closet isn’t a good place to be. It’s dark, it’s lonely, and, over time, becomes a kind of prison. It’s a difficult problem everyone in our community has faced because the closet exists for a reason: it keeps us safe, helps us maintain relationships with people we care about, and, in some cases, is necessary for survival. Each of us has a different relationship with the closet. Living in rural Maryland, I’ve met a number of people of all ages, genders, and sexualities who have an active relationship […]

Hagerstown Hopes: Pride, Youth Group, and More!

We’re on a roll at Hagerstown Hopes and we’re excited to tell you all about what we’ve been up to! Earlier in the month we participated in Washington County Gives, a day of giving and fundraising for nonprofits in Washington County. The bad news is that we’re still awaiting a final total of funds raised. The good news is that the delay is due to the sponsoring organization’s calculations of matching funds, as well as cash prizes awarded for a variety of criteria. As of now, we believe we’ve raised at least $3,000. We had some of the most generous […]