King and Queen of Hagerstown Pride!

Hagerstown Hopes is thrilled to congratulate Maranda Rights and Chase Anthony on their respective wins as Queen and King of Hagerstown Pride 2020! Competition was fierce among all of the deserving contestants, including first runner-up to the Queen, Siren Kelly, and first runner up to the King, Damian Poe. We would like to thank everyone who competed, as well as our Queen and King of Hagerstown Pride 2019, Chasity Vain and Butch Kelly. (front, left to right): Ashley Bannks, president of Hagerstown Hopes and Queen of Hagerstown Pride 2017; Maranda Rights, Queen of Hagerstown Pride 2020; and Stephanie Micheals. (center): […]

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 […]

A Holiday Plea

As I write this, I want to start by saying that today is November 30th and I was over this year’s holiday season by 3:15 pm on Thanksgiving. Which, considering my shift that day did not start until 3, is a pretty quick turnaround from me walking in just minutes prior with a bellyful of turkey, excited to see the decorations outside of the hotel in all of their winter glory. I had yesterday off, and while spending the day with my wife, my dog, and in my quiet, peaceful house helped rekindle that magic, coming back to work today […]

About Hatching

Trans folks call ourselves eggs when we talk about “the time before.” The people we had to be, the roles we had to act out, those were our shells. Realizing you’re trans is “hatching.” We talk a lot about the hatching, breaking free of the restraints that gave us a shape and form that didn’t belong to us. I have a strange relationship with my shell. It hurt me. It hurt me to be in that form, pretending to be that person. It nearly killed me. And so I’m struggling with this other feeling I feel towards it – gratitude. […]

Remembrance, Solidarity and Strength: Hagerstown Hopes and TDoR

November 20th is a day that is known to transgender folks across the world. It is our solemn memorial to those who have lost their lives for the strength and conviction to live their lives authentically. Transgender Day of Remembrance is not a joyous day, but its reverence to the trans community transcends our individual comforts. Transgender Day of Remembrance also happens to be the day that I realized I had found my home with Hagerstown Hopes. Two months prior, I had received a phone call from the board president, Jeff Rohrer, that I had been chosen to join a […]

A Phone Number to My Soul

Changing one’s name takes a lot of effort, anguish, work, and patience. So why do we do it? Why are names so important to us as transgender people? Over the last few years, but particularly the last few months, I’ve lived the experience of crafting a name for myself and then wearing it into the world. And sometimes I ask myself why I am going through all this stress. They say that to name a thing is to own it. My dead name was given to me by people who cared for me, enforced by people and systems that had […]

Guilt and Empty Places

Thanksgiving is a weird holiday. We stopped getting together as an extended family before I was eight. Then until I was almost finished with high school, my parents, siblings, and occasionally my grandmother would go to Shoney’s for the buffet. My mother worked at Wal-Mart, and she obviously didn’t want to cook for a demanding family of varied tastes before being screamed at by customers who couldn’t find the TV or toy they “needed.” When I was home for Thanksgiving break from college, we went to Cracker Barrel as a family, and now as an adult, both my wife and […]

Hagerstown Hopes Supports Trans Community, Youth, and Arts

This is an exciting time of year for us at Hagerstown Hopes. We recently elected a new board of directors, as well as an executive board of officers. Along the way, we’ve met a number of passionate, dedicated individuals committed to strengthening, supporting, and serving our community. Together, we’re working to provide activities, programs, and services that are needed in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas. November is an important month for our trans community, and we hope you’ll join us in celebrating and supporting our trans community, as well as remembering those we’ve lost over the past year. The mayor […]

November’s Other Memorial Day

The riot began in the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969. Some say it started with a thrown brick. Others say it was a tossed shot glass dubbed “The shot glass heard ‘round the world”. It happened at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, after years of police harassment and repeated raids on gay bars. A line had finally been crossed and the Stonewall Riots sparked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ movement. There has been much discussion about the role transwomen played at Stonewall. Termed transvestites or drag queens or transsexuals at the time, two […]

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 […]