Baltimore, the Beautiful City

Fifteen years ago today I got off a plane at BWI at the crack of dawn, and it was already 95 degrees. I arrived wearing a red leather jacket and a white cowboy hat. I didn’t want either of them to get crushed in my overstuffed luggage. Colette, my cat, was in her carrier. I’d left my California home for good: Baltimore, the beautiful city. 

I visited Baltimore in September 2001. It was a weird time to travel. Baltimore whispered to me, and I feel in love with the city. Nine months later I stepped off the plane, never to look back. 

There was an amazing energy in the air in Baltimore. It’s an energy I still feel all the time, although not as frequently or profoundly. Baltimore possesses an atmosphere of possibility unlike anything I’d ever experienced anywhere else. 

I moved knowing just four people: two old friends, who agreed to let me stay on their couch while I got on my feet. I met a couple more online: a great queer writer of erotica and theory — although not necessarily in that order — and a trans guy who was one of the lead organizers for the upcoming True Spirit conference. We will  have to talk about what True Spirit was another time.

I arrived on 2 July, started to look for a place to live 3 July, and celebrated an Independence Day feeling simultaneously heartsick about the state of the world, and scared and excited about the merits of my choice to relocate. I’d bet everything I had on this move. I didn’t have much in the way of a safety net. 

On 5 July I looked at a furnished studio and on 6 July I moved into that little apartment like a regular Mary Ann Singleton. I felt immediately absorbed.

My heart had been so drawn to the city of Baltimore, and fifteen years later I am happy to report that following my heart has never yet steered me wrong. Even as I write this in my little row house, I still think its amazing that I have been able to live in this city and contribute to it, and more to the point, I have been able to thrive here as a queer, trans artist.

I love you, Baltimore; you’ve made all my dreams have come true, and then some. Thanks for being my home. 

Rahne Alexander