Regional Pride events in smaller towns throughout the region continue next weekend with Hagerstown Pride in Hagerstown, Md.
Hagerstown Hopes, the coordinating agency, presents its seventh annual Hagerstown Pride Festival on Saturday, July 14 from 12-6 p.m. with live entertainment, vendors, speakers, food and more. “This is Me” is this year’s theme.
Pride will be held in the Central Parking Lot in downtown Hagerstown, a new location because of renovations at the Maryland Theatre.
A kickoff show is at the Lodge (21614 National Pike, Boonsboro, Md.) on Friday, July 13 from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. with DJ Sidekick and a drag show at 10:45 p.m. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Kennedy Davenport will perform on Saturday night at 9 p.m. at the Lodge with an official after party. Full details at hagerstownhopesmd.org.
Robert Medina, strategic planning chairman and Hopes board member, got involved with the organization last fall.
“Everything is falling right into place and we are super excited about this year’s festival,” says the 34-year-old Waynesboro, Pa., native.
About 2,500 attended last year. They’re hoping for 3,000 or more this year.
Medina says Hagerstown Pride is more family friendly and community oriented than bigger events in Baltimore and Washington.
“We want everyone to feel like they belong,” he says. “We want to connect with each person and create life-long relationships.”
Medina works by day as a Realtor with RE/MAX. He’s single and came to Hagerstown five years ago. He lives in Hagerstown and enjoys his dog, movies and hanging out with friends and family in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I’ve been out for 13 years. I think the hardest person to tell was myself. I don’t think I truly accepted or even liked myself until maybe a year ago.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
I don’t really have a hero per se. I’m more motivated and inspired by my local community. If I had to pick one person it would have to be Nicole James aka Jimmy. One of the most caring individuals I have ever met and a supreme story teller.
What’s Maryland’s best nightspot, past or present?
The Lodge. When I was first coming out it was called Deer Park Lodge. That is where I first felt like I belonged somewhere. I have made these life-long friendships and relationships and that to me is truly special. You can get great music, a light show, drag shows a lot of places, but this place is about family. I don’t know where I would be without the Lodge.
Describe your dream wedding.
Haha, I don’t plan on getting married. I don’t think I have ever thought of a dream wedding.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Revitalizing our great city. I love Hagerstown.
What historical outcome would you change?
Besides the obvious recent one? I’m not sure. I’ve always been a everything-happens-for-a-reason-type-of person, even if at the moment I am not sure what the reason is.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
On what do you insist?
The path to your best life lies through helping, caring and supporting others.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
It was a quote: “The trees that are pruned, watered and nurtured by caring hands bear the greatest fruits; it is the same with people.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Remind everyone to just be who you are.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
I’m not a religious person. I’m not really sure what I believe. I do feel a lot lately that I’m being steered a certain way, so I would say that I am a ship navigating this life and just going where the wind takes me.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Always take the high road. Love and compassion.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
My friends and family.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
All of them!
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I don’t have one. I remember the first LGBT movie I saw was the “Broken Hearts Club.”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
I would hardly say they are overrated. Things like holding doors, please, thank you, etc. I don’t think we do them enough anymore. We are all “too busy” rushing around. I think we all need to work on interacting with people better, whether it be a server, bank teller, etc. Look those people in the eye and truly see them.
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I’d love to be top agent in my office at least once this year!
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks and that I am most happy when I’m helping others.
Hagerstown is home.