“Patch was a complex person, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
I will always remember Patch, as Patch was one of the first people I’ve met when I first moved to Portland in 2015. I remember briefly volunteering to run the front desk at the Q Center. Patch came in, and we quickly hit it off. Patch seemed very sad and shared a story from earlier in the morning about being houseless, sleeping in the car, waking up, and managing to slip and fall directly outside of the car, smashing the ‘ukulele that was spent consoling and making beautiful music with. I told Patch that I was Hawaiian, and that I had an ‘ukulele at home that I would bring in to play the following week. As sad as Patch was, Patch managed to crack a smile, and when I brought my instrument in, I had the honor of having Patch play a few tunes. In fact, Patch was so inspired by my Aloha, that Patch offered others to share their musical talent at the Q Center open-mic.
Patch taught me to think outside of the box when it came to gender. It was very complex to wrap my mind around at first, being an agender person, but by the end of the conversation, I was enlightened and wanted to bring more awareness to our society on LGBTQ+ cultural sensitivity like the usage of preferred pronouns and the importance of meeting folks where they’re at; and expressing kindness in a respectful manner. When Patch told me about the preferred pronoun that fit for Patch, it was a testament of how unique and special Patch really was.
Before leaving the Q Center for my job, I was able to recruit Patch as a volunteer to take my place. Patch was a positive contribution to the Q-Center space. As a person with overlapping identities and continuous challenges, Patch was very attuned with services throughout the community, and was able to briefly attend Portland Community College. I was so proud of Patch, as we had both discussed pursuing a goal in higher education; although, I’m not sure Patch was able to finish, I am certain that the learning experiences were enjoyable, and that Patch found them enriching.
Now, I don’t know all of the details of Patch’s passing which seemed to include capitalism induced suicide according to the Memorial for Patch page on Facebook, but what I want people to remember about Patch was that Patch was a complex person, as all of us humans are. Patch was the first person to be recognized in the State of Oregon as agender, and it wasn’t at all an easy fight for Patch, but the legacy left behind provides us encouragement and hope that all folks shall be recognized the way that is most comfortable to that person, regardless of what box society manages to place us in.
I will always remember Patch, and that smile that graced us especially when music’s involved. Patch was a complex person, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Patch was special, and Patch was my friend. May we all learn from Patch, as we continue to rewrite our culture to be more inclusive, supportive, and kind.
Rest in love, Patch. Until we meet again, Aloha.