Happy Pride from all of us at Hagerstown Hopes! As you may know, 2019 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was the Stonewall Riots that began our community’s long journey to where we are today. Along the way we fought, and won, battles for equality and civil rights. Every member of our community has a different relationship to these events. Some were pioneers, leading the movement; others were born into a more progressive, accepting world created by those who came before them. It is our history and culture that connects us, and that’s cause for Pride and celebration!
For Hagerstown Pride, to be held in the central parking on July 13th, we chose “Love Grows” as our theme. In honor of the Stonewall Riots, we will be displaying poster-size photographs and biographies of LGBTQ pioneers who have been instrumental in our history and culture. Our goal is to bring the community together and our hope is that, through learning about those who came before us, we can better understand our place in the world and how far we as a community have come during the last half century. You can expect to learn more about well-known figures, as well as the many unsung heroes of our community. We hope you’ll enjoy the exhibit and gain a better appreciation and understanding of our community!
We’re also pleased to announce our headliner for Hagerstown Pride – Maya Montana, former Miss Gay Maryland and Miss Gay America, will be joining Butch Kelly and Chasity Vain, King and Queen of Hagerstown Pride, and your favorite local talent to deliver memorable performances all day long. Hagerstown Hopes president Jeff Rohrer shared with us how excited Maya is to be invited to headline Hagerstown Pride, adding that “She is a great human being that will be a great asset to our Pride.” We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Maya Montana back to Maryland, both at Hagerstown Pride and at The Lodge for the Pride Party.
Hagerstown Pride is a free, family-friendly event. We’ve been working with Beacon House to create a Kid Zone, complete with activities and art projects for kids. Keeping with our “Love Grows” theme, we will be supplying youngsters with materials to make their very own special Pride leaves to be displayed for the community to see. We look forward to seeing what they’ll come up with! We’ve got more fun activities for young people, so please stay tuned for more information.
This year we will also be carrying limited edition Pride t-shirts with our “Love Grows” logo. Shirts are available in sizes small to XXXL and quantities are limited. All sizes are available for $20, though our volunteers will receive a free t-shirt in thanks for their service and support. We’re always looking for volunteers, so sign up today and claim your very own t-shirt, on us. We appreciate our volunteers and want them to be able to enjoy Pride, so we’re only asking for a two-hour and 15-minute commitment. We can never have too many volunteers, so please sign up today!
Hopefully by now you’re excited about Hagerstown Pride! To make the wait easier, we’ve added a new Pride event. Join us at The Lodge on Wednesday July 10th at 6:30 pm for our first paint night! Local artist and owner of Luckee Studios, Suzee Cline-White, will be supplying materials and instruction to make your own Rainbow Sky painting. Your $30 ticket includes a 16×20 canvas, supplies, and a dollar off your first specialty drink of the night. This event is open to those 21-plus and will be followed by karaoke, dancing, and drag shows beginning at 8 pm. Come join us and get into the Pride spirit!
As always, follow us on Facebook or visit us at HagerstownHopesMD.org to learn about what we’re working on. We look forward to seeing you! Happy Pride!
- 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.