The Golden Rule

“Our hair matches. We’re best friends.” These words came from my niece who, at three years old, is one of the happiest people I know. It was a beautiful bonding moment, one of the first in her young life that she fully understood that I am her uncle and not just a random stranger she sees from time to time. We were lucky to be able to capture the moment with a selfie (or seven), and her proud Uncle Brian has told everyone about his sweet, adorable niece and how her simple words melted his heart. Yes, it’s a great […]

Letters from The Wolfman

Ten days before Halloween, a letter was left on my front porch, sealed in a plastic bag. A neighbor found it and, having received a similar letter two days prior, called the police. We were told not to touch the letter and to await the responding officer. While we waited, my neighbor gave me an overview of the contents of his letter and his reason for concern: a mentally ill man, believing himself to be a warrior of God, was living in the woods and had written a dozen pages of rantings and ravings, Bible scriptures, and implications that he […]

What Scares Me

Halloween is my favorite time of year because I love all things spooky. It hasn’t always been this way, though. This year, instead of writing about the Snallygaster (a local monster legend) or personal spooky experiences, I’m instead going to tell you the story of how I learned to to be comfortable with fear. My body broke at 23. A rare autoimmune disease had emerged, slowly dissolving my organs to mush. When the diagnosis was given, it came with a series of ifs: If I made it out of the hospital; If my body responded to the non-standardized, experimental treatment; […]

The Big, Bad Scary

As a bona fide horror buff, one of the things I love about the genre is that it’s constantly evolving. Looking back, we can see trends. The 70s brought us religious horror with films like The Exorcist and The Omen. The 80s established the teen-slasher flick with titles like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. More recently we endured a celluloid sea of zombies before venturing into arthouse horror films like The Witch and Hereditary. What I find to be so interesting is that horror films, like all films, have to be relevant to audiences to be […]

Fathers & Sons

Part of growing up is letting go of the dreams we had as children and young adults. Most of us didn’t grow up to become astronauts or rock stars or princesses, and that’s okay. Each of us has different talents, skills, and interests that shape the person we ultimately become. All of these have a way of changing and growing over time and, during that process, we begin to accept that some things just aren’t in the cards for us. Usually that’s okay because we’ve outgrown some of our dreams, but others still sting a bit when we think about […]

LuPone vs Lindsey & the Ethics of Outing

A year and a half ago I needed a topic. The article I was planning to write fell through at the last minute and an unlikely hero emerged and saved my column. That hero is Patti LuPone. She had just performed at the 2018 Grammy Awards, singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Evita, the role that launched her award-magnet of a career. Yes, she slayed the performance, but the real story was that in singing a tribute to Weber, she also buried the hatchet in their famously longstanding feud. She gave me an article about the […]

The Perks of Pride

This seems to be the year of Pride. Over the last few years we’ve been seeing more and more small towns and communities celebrating Pride. Only a few years ago it seems that only major cities celebrated Pride; now, Pride is everywhere, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Every town has its own personality, made up of all the folks who call it home. This means that every Pride is different and is a reflection of the wants and needs of the community. Having attended several Prides already this year (with more to come), I’m happy to say that […]

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 […]