Hagerstown Pride was a huge success, and all of us at Hagerstown Hopes would like to thank everyone for their support! This was our biggest Pride to date. We estimate nearly 4,000 people braved the heat to visit, enjoy some amazing live entertainment, and spend time with our local LGBTQ community. Beacon House provided a fun, family-friendly Kid Zone, complete with games and arts and crafts projects. Butch Kelly and Chasity Vain, King and Queen of Hagerstown Pride, performed with local favorites and gave the crowd even more reasons to celebrate. Maya Montana, our headliner and former Miss Gay Maryland and Miss Gay America, gave a spectacular performance and made the day that much more special and memorable.
We would like to thank the community for supporting us, as well as the businesses, vendors, and especially our volunteers, who helped make Hagerstown Pride possible. The day began with an official proclamation from the City of Hagerstown that July is now officially LGBTQ Pride Month, another milestone in our mission to bring the community together.
As the day went on and we saw how many people, especially young people, came to celebrate and learn from our gallery of LGBTQ cultural and historical figures, we were touched to know that the world truly is changing and that our community is a part of that change. Our theme, “Love Grows,” was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that began our community’s fight for civil rights, and it was heartening to see so much love in one place. Again, we cannot thank everyone who participated enough for making Hagerstown Pride a success. We hope you had a great time!
Now that Pride season is winding down, we’re focusing our attention on other efforts. The Hagerstown Hopes Youth Group will have its first meeting Saturday, August 3rd. Youth Group will meet the first Saturday of each month and will include arts and education activities for young people. Our goal is to respond to the wants and needs of the Youth Group, so stay tuned for updates and a schedule of activities!
We’ve also been working with Shepherd University to develop inclusive programming for the academic year. Board members Asher Kennedy and Brian George Hose have presented at Shepherd University in the past and are looking forward to creating resources to educate the community. We are fortunate to have this opportunity and we look forward to bringing our outreach work to a larger audience.
Are you crafty? Do you like to sing? If so, we hope you’ll join us as we begin branching into arts outreach! One of the best ways to bring people together is to provide a common goal and activity. That’s why we’ve developed an arts plan to provide more social and educational opportunities for the community. We’re putting resources together and we expect to have updates soon. Please follow us on Facebook or visit us at HagerstownHopesMD.org to keep up with us and our work and sign up for our monthly newsletter!
We also hope you’ll join us for our next open board meeting on Tuesday, August 13th. This is your chance to meet us, ask questions, and get involved! We’ll be providing updates on our work, discussing our plans, and asking for feedback from the community. This is an especially important open meeting because we will be discussing our upcoming election to join the board of directors. If you’d like to get involved and be part of creating positive changes in the community, please let us know! Each of us has a different experience in our community, which means each of us has a unique understanding of what our community needs and how to build and strengthen our community. We hope you’ll join us because, together, we can do amazing things. 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.