The first time I visited Provincetown, Massachusetts, I was a young dyke who was escaping from personal drama in Northampton, a town known as Lesbianville, U.S.A., even back in 1989, when I followed a girlfriend there. In the six months since arriving I’d had my heart broken, had to move three times, been fired for being a lesbian, and been held up at gunpoint. When a housemate suggested I go to P-town for a few days to clear my head, I jumped at the chance. It was off-season and a lesbian inn owner she knew let me stay in one of the rooms for free. I credit the psychological space that the seaside solitude afforded me with literally saving my life.
And yet, in the ensuing decades, after I went back to my western roots, met my lovely wife, moved to California, and matured into the transgender magazine editor I am today, I never returned to P-town. Until this year. In some ways the queer tourist town hasn’t changed in the past 30 years. But I certainly have. I don’t have the kind of adrenaline-and-alcohol-fueled drama that I did in my 20s