Dear Black & Pink Family,
Greetings, from all places, Wyoming. My name is Kevin but I go by Shannon, how all my friends know me. I kill my number in a few months and will return to Seattle where I belong. I too share the same battles in our prison systems and have been a positive force for other transsexuals who will come after me. Although my demands have never been met- the right to have make-up or the same as what’s allowed in women’s facilities. I hope to leave my mark before I go.
Real freedom is being comfortable in your own skin and I encourage you all to realize the one and only thing that destroys all humans is fear. When I realized I was tripping over the little things because my fear of worrying about what others thought, I was more able to focus on just becoming me and enriching my life with what I could. So I learned Spanish and Hebrew and I began to teach those around me about Gender Identity and how I view things vs how others view them, and that we aren’t the wildebeests of society or a roadside attraction. In fact there are more admirers of TS than you might know. So I encourage all of you to step away from the ball and chains that keep you from flourishing. From this experience and me being a musician, I plan to take this back to those who have a voice in the entertainment field and plan to make a difference in the world. Help the new fish coming in and become a mentor for that GLBTQ who’s doing their first time down and be their support.
Let’s start being the family that strives together to overcome our fears, persecutions, and prejudices. Uniting with the common goal to live in a harmonious world of love and understanding. John Lennon said it best- “Give Peace a Chance.” Who’s willing to go first?
Peace & Love,
Dear Black & Pink Brothers, Sisters, and Many Family,
Greetings and Blessed Be, I greet you all with Love and Joy and Sadness and Loneliness from the Texas Dept of Criminal Injustice- Corruption-filled Institutional Division. My name is Robert, I am a 40 year old Gay man serving a 16 year aggravated sentence on a wrongful conviction. Currently trying to find legal help with my appeal, but that isn’t what this is about.
This is about coming out and being persecuted because of it by the prison Chaplain here on this unit. Last week I went to the unit Chaplain and told him that I needed to speak to him because I felt like I should speak to him about discriminating against and verbally attacking the members of the LGBTQ Community. He asked me why I would protect this community and I told him that I am Bi/Queer, and then I told him that if I informed his boss about what he was saying, he would lose his job. He said, “Look you faggot and you abomination, you can’t do anything to stop me because they won’t do anything about it.”
It’s things like this that happen in TDCJ-CID, and we have to put up with the abuse and discrimination or else we fight back and we are “still in the wrong” no matter what we do. A couple of weeks ago, a young man (Queen) here was raped and nobody did anything about it as far as I know. The PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) doesn’t seem to do any good in some places.
Anyway, the Chaplain won’t help anyone who is Gay, Lesbian, etc. According to him we are trash. Now, here is my question: If an Administrative Official can get away with this kind of abuse and discrimination without consequences, should we expect that if he wanted to do so, he could kill one of us and get away with it?
A few weeks ago, another Gay guy died of sudden cardiac arrest and then exactly 10 days later another guy who wasn’t Gay died of the exact same thing. In fact, they died at almost the exact same time, only 10 minutes difference. The guards aren’t even trained to operate emergency resuscitation equipment. We are assigned to a designated medical, psychiatric, sex offender unit where there is supposed to be trained medical personnel here 24 hours a day. In point of fact, there are no medical staff here from maybe 6:00 pm to 4:00 or 5:00 am, and nobody will do anything to correct the situation.
I’ll let you go now. May you all be blessed. I hope to hear from you soon.
Robert, aka Wiccan Guy
My Saving Family,
Hello Gals and Guys, Geeks and Freaks, Peers and Queers. This is Billy down Texas way, crying his eyes out! As I sit writing my loving family who cares for me at Black & Pink, I realized today, the day after Thanksgiving, just how much pain I’m in, and what a beautiful gift I have in having each of you who write to Black & Pink.
Before I go any further, I want to say something very important, so listen up: For those of you who write in for the first time and share just a few words with us- with me- those I feel are the most important words in this Newspaper, this movement. Thanks each of you. You kept me from such a dark place on a holiday, that means so much to me. I, Billy, feel you are the most important people at this table, thank you!
This past Thanksgiving holiday, for me, was the worst I’ve had since I’ve been locked up. But God is good, and the night before the next issue of Black & Pink found its way to me on my new unit. I had been moved and it was out of retaliation for filing on a number of officers for their “repeated sexual harassment.” It started after a story I wrote for Black & Pink, “Health Advice,” in the May 2013 issue. No, no, I do not regret a printed word. Not one! Now reading our new issue and what’s going before Governor Brown in CA about condoms in prison…
But I digress. Anyway, when I filed a Step One Grievance, I was called in and it was investigated and they told me, “I don’t want to file this.” I let them know, “Yes, I did and a copy and complaint went outside the unit as well.” So I guess you could say, Billy rung that bell. Someone heard it too.
Since then I’ve been shipped all over this state. They have a term for the way I was treated- it’s called “Diesel Therapy.” That’s where they put you on a chain bus and ride you around.
Well, here I sit now. This unit is a disciplinary unit. So can you tell me why I was moved here to this huge unit, and now I don’t have a TV in my cell (hint hint). Anyway, the first place I was sent I never should have walking on to. I won’t go into the insanity of that, but why am I here? I did not get a disciplinary case, I’m still a G II, S III, that’s the lowest custody level I’m allowed due to medical reasons. I just got tired of the constant abuse. The old Billy would have lashed out months ago, but that’s not me anymore. Black & Pink, it’s readers and writers, have a great deal to do with this change in me.
So even though yesterday was just awful, thank you! This is what Billy needs from you. First your prayers. I’m not going to let this go. Laws are changing and I’m tired. Anyone on the outside can read more and write comments to me at my blog betweenthebars.org/blogs/429
I love you all and I know with every fiber in me that my higher power was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself, and that’s get this issue of Black & Pink into my hands when I needed it the most!
In Unity, ‘Til the Toe Tags,
Peace, Billy, Texas
Dear B&P Brothers & Sisters,
First and foremost, I am a Gay white male of 28 years of age. I’m also a Wiccan. For the time being, I am in a Maryland prison. I personally have not been the victim of any hate crime. In that regard, I have been lucky. I am currently incarcerated for a crime I did not commit, but due to my being poor and being in a very corrupt region of Maryland at the time, I was found guilty. I often find it difficult to not hate those whom treat me badly, so I make my prayers, meditate, and try to find peace within myself. I have been imprisoned for six years. I have met more than my fair share of homophobes, yet I will not be beaten. For all of you, I pray you do well and find your peace. Blessed Be!
In eternal support,
Richard aka Acal, Maryland
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