Thankfulness 2022

Four years ago, I started a tradition for myself. I no longer celebrate Thanksgiving in a traditional way; I don’t feel thankful that my ancestors participated in a genocide, colonizing the continent in the process. I have rebranded this day as an opportunity to reflect on Thankfulness.

Central to my thankfulness… I am blessed to have a loving partner in life. So thankful to have loving family. Blood relatives coming to hear my chorus in a few weeks. Family of choice to share a Thankfulness meal with a few hours from now. Thankful for the pecan and pumpkin pies that are making our house smell so good! Thankful we have a house…

Reflecting back on the past year, one milestone of thankfulness immediately comes to mind. March 18 – I came home from the hospital with a new right knee. Though still hobbling a bit when I walk, still needing physical therapy, still taking pain meds at night, yada yada… nevertheless I now walk without the pain that hampered me for several years. So thankful for the technology and medical expertise that made this possible!

For the first time in my life as a GALA choral singer, spanning 36 years, I took a complete leave of absence from chorus this past spring, missing not just rehearsals but the March concert itself. Back from leave for the Pride concert, I had the joyous experience of hearing our audience cheer as our new director Braeden Ayres was introduced, watching his first PGMC concert! Braeden then spent the summer programming this season, passionate about his avocation, about his new chorus, about his new city. In two weeks, we will perform three shows a sold-out holiday concert. I am thankful to be a part of this wonderful chorus!

I am beyond thankful for the three years I had with Kiko, inherited from my sister Susan and her wife Rita after they both died in the summer of 2019. A formerly-feral cat, Kiko allowed me to be her person during her last three years, happily purring on my heart every time I sat down within range. She died September 21, purring on my chest as the visiting vet sent her on from this life.

A friend of mine used to sing in a local chorus, an organization some sixty years old. I say ‘used to’ as this chorus may or may not exist in the future. There was no mask or vaccination requirement made of the singers, and within weeks of their first rehearsal in August, 17 members came down with Covid. The rest of their season is cancelled.

I am thankful to sing in a chorus with a strict vaccination/booster policy. We rehearse largely unmasked, over 120 voices strong. While a few members (4 or 5) have quarantined with Covid in the year since our return to live rehearsals, the chorus has largely been unaffected. Those members who contracted the disease all eventually returned. Covid is here to stay, sure and certain – and so is the chorus.

In recent years, with violence against LGBT+ folks on the rise, I have wondered if there might not be a watershed moment of some kind, turning the tide as happened with the 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn. The recent shootings at Club Q in Colorado Springs may prove to be such a moment, this time with Richard Fierro at the hero’s center, rather than Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie, and a crowd behind them – all who fought back at the Stonewall Inn that June night over 50 years ago.

Creation of community was the tide’s turning after Stonewall; we shall see how the tides turn after the Club Q shootings. I am thankful for the loving resilience of our community, though always sad at the need for the resilience. Regardless the circumstances necessitating resilience, whether AIDS, Covid, or violent attack, we come through. We are there for each other, and I am so blessed to call this community home. Thankful.

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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