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 […]

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 […]

Problematic Policies

Sometimes being busy is a good problem to have. I say this because the last few months for me and the gang at Hagerstown Hopes have been nothing but busy. Now that we’ve established a presence in the community, we’ve been asked to participate in, contribute to, and partner with more organizations than I can think of without making a list and scrolling through my ever-growing inbox of emails. At a certain point I realized that the world really is changing quickly and that we no longer have to ask to be included because others want to include us. This […]

One Year Later

The last year of my life is a blur, a series of events that feels like one long day. Sure, there are highlights and landmarks, events that stand out and memories I’ll never forget; but still, all the days run together and I often find myself remembering having a conversation, but not with whom or when. Or, I remember an event, but not when it took place. It’s almost as though I’ve lost all sense of time. This occurred to me a few days ago when I was leaving a meeting at the Hagerstown Hopes Hub. We had met to […]

Bye Bye Beardie

If you knew me and had to point me out in a crowd, you would probably say, “He’s the guy with the beard.” If there was any confusion, you would probably clarify with, “No, the guy with the beard. The big one,” and everyone would know who you were talking about. That’s because over the last two years my beard has become my calling card, the thing that most people associate with me. It didn’t start out that way. I had maintained a relatively neat and professional-looking beard for years because of dress codes and such. Then my barber went […]

The Importance of Prom

Do you remember the advice you were given when you were a teenager? I do. Lots of adults – whether they were parents, teachers, or family friends – all shared similar words of wisdom, most of which began with the word “don’t”: Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex (or don’t have sex without protection). Looking back, it seems that most of the advice I was given was about what not to do. On the rare occasion that the advice was meant to encourage me to do something, it was usually practical things like working hard and […]

Dealing with Disappointment

Last week I was writing from the moon. I’d just had a big disappointment, the kind that turns your world upside down and inside out. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. I questioned everything I thought I knew about myself, my place in a suddenly strange world, and what my future would bring. I was ashamed and, what made the terrible even worse was that I felt that I had somehow ruined everything and had no one else to blame but myself. And that’s exactly why I chose to write about it. Everyone has disappointments and we all […]

Writing From the Moon

A few days ago, I died. Well, not really, but I felt like I did. I found out that the opportunity everyone assured me I would have was no longer possible. And, because this opportunity was no longer possible, neither was the incredible life I was so sure I’d have as a result of it. Years of work went into earning this opportunity, and its presence played a significant role in every decision I’ve made in my life over the better part of the last decade. This opportunity would be the catalyst, the thing that would make everything that so […]

The Things We Don’t Talk About

If you’ve read my articles online, you may have noticed in my bio that I knit. I’m really, really good at knitting, but it’s not something I talk about in mixed company. It’s not something I open with when meeting new people; instead, it’s something I share when the time is right, and I feel comfortable. I’m secure with myself and I’m proud of my ability to be able to draft a pattern for a sweater in five minutes or less, but I also know that when a gay man mentions a “feminine” hobby like knitting, even the most progressive […]

The Work and Why I Do It

A few days ago, I went to trivia night with some new friends. Midway through the game the question asked which composer had written the Hungarian Rhapsodies, an easy win for us because our team includes two trained musicians. We immediately set to the kind of frenzied, whispered conversation that makes trivia so much fun. We agreed that it was a sneaky question because Brahms was best known for his Hungarian Dances, but Liszt had in fact written the Hungarian Rhapsodies. A few minutes later the answer was announced. Some teams groaned and others cheered. Then, as we enjoyed the […]