With the holiday season upon us, we at Hagerstown Hopes have been thinking about the importance of community. All of our work is meant to strengthen and support the LGBTQ community in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas, as well as the wider community. This work cannot be done alone, and we hope that you’ll join us this holiday season in bringing people together during a very special time of year.
If you live in Hagerstown, you may have already noticed a bit of holiday cheer. This year Hagerstown Hopes was invited by the City of Hagerstown to collaborate in decorating and designing this year’s Community Christmas Tree. Always looking for ways to promote inclusivity and those who serve our community, we decided to use this opportunity to support local nonprofits and businesses who give back. Over 40 ten-inch silver bulbs, complete with logos, were hung on the tree, thanking these organizations for their continued efforts. A total of 250 additional ornaments of all colors were added. We thank the City of Hagerstown for its continued support!
We’re also thankful to welcome two new members to our team. Please join us in welcoming Chase Anthony and Maranda Rights as the new King and Queen of Hagerstown Pride! The pageant, our first with cisgender competitors, included Lady Bladie, Siren Kelly, Bayley Blackwell, Ivanna Rights, and Damian Poe. Each category was won by a different competitor and the crowd enjoyed fantastic performances by all. Chase Anthony and Maranda Rights will be working closely with us in planning events and working with our outreach committee to represent Hagerstown Hopes and further our mission of inclusivity, diversity, and strengthening our community. We would also like to thank Butch Kelly and Chasity Vain, now former King and Queen of Hagerstown Pride, for their service during the past year.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get involved with Hagerstown Hopes, we hope you’ll join us in the new year! We’ve spent the last year laying the foundation for our organization. Now that we have an active youth group, trans meetup group, spouse/partner groups, healthcare resources, arts outreach, and more, we need you, the community, to tell us what’s important to you and what we can do to help the community. Your voice and your opinion matter, so please tell us what we can do to help! There are always opportunities to volunteer and to serve on a committee and we welcome you to join us!
We’ll be starting the new year by starting work on some important upcoming events. Our second LGBTQ prom is in the planning stages. Now that we have connections in our public schools, our goal is to provide our young people with the resources they need to plan the prom that they want. Our new Education Committee will also be providing education and training to library employees (and the public) in Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties. This is an excellent opportunity for us to provide much needed information and resources to the westernmost part of our state and we are grateful to the library system for their continued support.
As a reminder, our youth group meets the first Saturday of the month from 1 to 4 pm. More and more young people (ages 14 to 19) have been attending and our meetings include an activity for the kids and time to hang out and get to know each other. Our trans meetup group meets and partner/spouse group meet regularly. Check out our website for more information.
From all of us at Hagerstown Hopes, we wish you a safe, happy holiday season and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!
- 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.