There’s No Place Like Home

1976… I turned 21 on September 1. On that date, I registered for classes at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. A few weeks earlier, I had left the cocoon of the San Francisco house I grew up in, moving 700 miles to attend college. A fateful decision, Pacific University. I could’ve gone to Hofstra University. I could’ve gone to the University of Iowa. I could’ve gone to UC Berkeley. All had accepted me. But I chose Oregon.

Two years later, I moved the thirty miles from Forest Grove into Portland. With the exception of three years away at graduate school, I have never lived anywhere else. At an age when I could not be expected to know any better, I had happened upon the place that is Home to me.

1997… Another 21 years has gone by. On June 20 of 1997, I experienced my first injection of testosterone. My physical transition had begun. By late summer, I was a baritone, no longer an alto. I was giddy as a 14-year-old boy usually is. Exhilarated. A bit terrified, having no idea how to live as a man. And at the same time, knowing that I could not continue to live as a lesbian once I realized I had misunderstood my identity all those years. Onward and forward, without the least idea what the journey would look like. I had happened upon the place that is Home to me.

2018… Another 21 years gone by. 21 years living as a man. Comfortable now living as a man, understanding better how to navigate the world and relationships with others as a man. Embracing the identity transman. Happily married for 10 years. Happily singing in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus for 11 years. A stable life. Then I went to China, on tour with PGMC. On September 1 I celebrated my 63rd birthday by singing with PGMC in the Forbidden City in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

I don’t think I will ever be able to convey in words why China changed me to the degree it did. The change was every bit as profound as every other 21 year change I’ve experienced in my life. I came back spiritually woke. I feel a sense of connectedness to life, the universe, and everything and everyone in it that I have never felt before. I have happened upon the place within that is Home to me.

OK… What does 2039 have in store for me, I wonder? I will turn 84 that year. And I fully expect that year to contain a change in my life every bit as profound as the previous three ‘21 years’ have done. Where will Home be?

A rather abrupt ending to this blog… might as well — how could I possibly have written my other ‘21 years’ in advance of their unfolding? Moving to Portland? Transitioning? Becoming religious? And at 84… becoming… … all I can safely say is, I will be Home.

Author: reidpdx

I am an honorary lesbian transman, married to a woman, singing baritone in the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. All me, all the time.

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