Like all of you, we at Hagerstown Hopes are deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow the transgender military ban to go into effect. It was a surprise of the worst kind and, when the local news reached out for comment, we banded together to draft a statement:
* WE BELIEVE everyone has the right to safety and to fully participate in society without fear of discrimination and violence.
The announcement on the transgender military ban from the Supreme Court today comes as a blow to not only the transgender community, but to the LGBTQ community as a whole and its allies. For so many years the trans community has worked hard to try to educate, fight and advocate for equality in so many different areas of society. Fighting for the country you love should not be defined by gender identity, but that sacrifice and commitment you make to wear the uniform.
Each trans individual has been through their own hurdles in life and each hold their own story and obstacles. This setback is another obstacle that the trans community will overcome by not giving up to another hurdle.
To our transgender community, we are here for you. We have a monthly transgender meet up group and we welcome you with open arms. No one shall be erased.
While this statement cannot convey the multitude of feelings stirred by this decision, we hope that our trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive community members will feel safe with us and know that we are always here to help in whatever way we can. For more information about our trans meet up group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’ve also been given an exciting opportunity to support our trans community and to help educate the larger community about the issues affecting transgender persons in America. Shepherd University reached out to us for help in creating an inclusive cast for their production of The Vagina Monologues, the cornerstone of the annual V-Day celebration. V-Day is a global campaign to end violence against all women, and Shepherd would like to include the monologue “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy…Or So They Tried,” a piece written for one to four transgender, non-binary, or gender-expansive women as a modern Greek chorus sharing one voice. Eve Ensler, the playwright and force beihind V-Day, conducted many interviews with trans women and wrote a monologue addressing the ways society tries to suppress the feminine in those assigned male at birth, and how one’s true self can never be erased. We’re working to develop a trans-centered informational session as part of the V-Day celebration, addressing the ways gender violence affects the trans community. More information is coming, so please be sure to check Facebook for updates.
It’s never too late to get involved with Hagerstown Hopes and we hope you’ll join us for our next open meeting, scheduled for February 12th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. This meeting will be the first held at the Hagerstown Hopes Hub, our community center (22 North Mulberry Street, Suite 16). We will have guests from the Washington County Health Department’s PrEP Program and HIV Program to provide information about LGBTQ health resources, and we will be discussing our CARE initiative. Please be sure to read our Facebook post to learn about designated parking areas as unauthorized parking will result in your vehicle being towed. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of space, just be sure to read the signs.
You can expect some exciting announcements about our youth program, LGBTQ prom, free confidential HIV testing, our next Night Out, and more at the open meeting. Please come meet us and see the Hub, where all the magic happens!
Stay up to date with Hagerstown Hopes by liking and following us on Facebook, or by visiting our website: Hagerstownhopesmd.org We hope to see you soon!
- 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.