We at Hagerstown Hopes would like to begin this article by thanking you, our readers, and the community for your continued support. Since we branched out into community outreach and began developing programs and resources, we’ve been blessed to have been supported by so many people in so many ways. None of our work would be possible without you, and we hope you’ll be pleased with the work we’ve doing and the progress we’ve been making.
Our recent Grease-themed drag bingo event, in partnership with For Otis Sake Rescue, Inc. was a huge success. All 350 tickets (and every last bingo card) were sold. I’m told Stephanie Micheals, the 50/50 Queen, set a personal fundraising record, working the crowd and raising over $1,000 for two good causes. Stephanie was joined by ChiChi Ray Colby, Araya Sparxx, Chasity Vain, Butch Kelley, Nicole James, and Ashley Bannks who all turned in fantastic performances and wowed the crowd. If you missed it, we have another Drag Bingo event scheduled for July 28th!
We also have two Nights Out coming up and we’d love to see you there! The first is April 18th at the Broad Axe from 5 to 9 pm. Located at 28 West Franklin Street in Hagerstown, the Broad Axe offers outstanding food (and drinks if you’re 21-plus) at reasonable prices. This will also be a good chance to buy your ticket for our next (and very special) Night Out in May!
As many of you know, we’ve been busy making connections in the community. Hagerstown now has an LGBTQ liaison officer with the Washington County Police Department, Transgender Day of Remembrance is now an official day of memorial, and the list goes on. This year, we’re so happy that the Hagerstown Suns, our local minor league baseball team, reached out to us and asked if we’d like to partner in creating a Pride event. Obviously we said yes, and we’re proud to announce our first ever Pride Night Out at Municipal Stadium on May 9th!
Come join us for a night of baseball, fellowship, and fun! This is a “Thirsty Thursday,” which means that beer specials start at $2 (21-plus with ID). The Suns have also generously agreed to share the profits of tickets sold by members of Hagerstown Hopes. Tickets are $9 and sales are cash only. So join us in April at the Broad Axe and get your ticket for May! This is a great partnership with the community and we hope you’ll join us for this special occasion!
We’re also gearing up for Hagerstown Pride! Hagerstown Pride is scheduled for Saturday, July 13th in the Downtown Hagerstown Central Lot, the same location as last year. Vendor spaces are filling up quickly, so please check out our vendor agreement documents (available on our Facebook page). We’re proud that last year’s Hagerstown Pride festival was a top-three festival in Hagerstown and this year we’re aiming for #1! Vendors and sponsors can contact us at email@example.com for more information!
We’ve also been working diligently to provide safe places and activities for youth in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas. Our first LGBTQIA prom is Saturday, April 20th at the Ramada Plaza in Hagerstown. The theme is “True Colors” and will be our event specifically for young people. Admission is free, and registration is required by April 13th through Eventbrite.
If you or a young person you know isn’t able to attend the prom, don’t worry! Prom will be the kickoff for our youth outreach, which we’ve been working on for months. Our outreach committee, chaired by Kelly Likely, has been developing policies, protocols, and attending to the myriad other details required when working with youth. We’re pleased with our progress and will be announcing the first meeting of the Hagerstown Hopes Youth Group soon! So, please mark your calendars and come out and see us! We look forward to meeting you!
- Brian George Hose has been an advocate for LGBTQ persons and issues all his adult life. He holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Shepherd University and looks forward to pursuing a Master's of Social Work with a focus in mental health. A former musician, Brian served as minister of music for New Light MCC for several years and incorporates music into social work practice. He lives in rural Western Maryland where he has amassed a sinful number of books, yarn, and books about yarn. He has been writing for Baltimore Out Loud since February 2016.