From Shaylanna: “What seems to be a constant issue is the staff and officers of all ranks,” she wrote. “They make jokes, sarcastic remarks, and biased statements about us, usually to other prisoners or in front of other prisoners…. There used to be this one CO [correctional officer] who would always harass me and threaten me. One of his main statements was, ‘This ain’t a female’s prison, you’re in the wrong place, bitch-boy.’ It’s extremely unprofessional in an environment that can become violent in seconds.”
Penned In: Letters Reveal the Lives of Transgender Women in Prison
July 2, 2014
Lydon roots the sexual violence in prisons as part of the inherent framework of prisons. “Prisons are sexually violent spaces,” he stated. “We need to challenge the idea that we can end sexual violence in prisons without ending the framework that encourages this violence. With the idea of prison rape elimination, the elimination is starting in the wrong place.”
-What Does Texas Governor’s Announcement that the State Won’t Adopt Prison Rape Elimination Act Mean for Texans Behind Bars?
April 4, 2014
Organizations are working to resist the dehumanization of incarcerated people by building community that transgresses prison walls.
-5 Things to Know About Prison Abolition and the Prison Industrial Complex
March 21, 2014
“There are 639 people locked up in this jail as of yesterday. Almost everyone locked up here is awaiting trial. Black and Pink members have been locked up here over the past year-and-a-half or so. And thankfully … we’ve bailed them all out. But there are still 639 people that we need on this side of the wall.”
December 11, 2013
Artist: Bobby Brown
“We know that trans people are disproportionately poor even before transition,” noted Reverend Jason Lydon of Black and Pink, a group that supports LGBTQ people in prison. “We [also] know that Chelsea Manning joined to get away from her family and had no opportunities.”
-The Dubious Distinction of Being the First Out Trans Woman in Military Prison
September 18 2013
“People who do things that are heroic and exceptional and benefit humanity in major ways, as Chelsea Manning did, and speak truth to power, as Chelsea Manning did, that all shifts back to us being trans rather than who we are and what we’ve done,” they said. Let’s talk about the heroine’s actions, not how she was once called a hero.
–NEWS TO US: MS. MANNING GOES TO WASHINGTON
August 27 2013
“The prison industrial complex controls, polices, and probes bodies and this is especially true for queer and trans people in it.” Shuman said it was important to “amplify voices from the inside and to create support for them” and added that they were appalled at the amount of violence faced by youth from guards: “It’s fucked up. The system is fucked.”
–Activists protest sexual abuse of incarcerated youth
August 4 2012
“Black and Pink and Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC) convened an event called The Summit—a gathering of formerly incarcerated, convicted, policed and court-involved LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) people in New England—in April, and have since continued their efforts in abolishing the prison industrial complex and challenging discrimination and abuses faced by prisoners, particularly LGBTQ young people of color.”
–The Summit Shines Light on LGBTQ Prisoner Rights
June 23 2013
I mean, we talk about this system as being hypothetically a PIC, but when you are actually in a prison, where you are incarcerated, you’re stripped of so much humanity. So I really enjoy writing to folks on the inside. It’s a huge “fuck you!” to the system because they give them numbers, they strip them of an identity, and then you get to do the reverse of that: which is like, “yo, you’re still my friend.”
–Empathy is cool: A short and sweet interview with Moon of Black and Pink, Chicago
June 1 2013
“The criminalization of how we survive is a central part of how the court and prison systems fill themselves with queer people, gender non-conforming people, and people of color. Homeless youth are disproportionately LGBT.”
–BLACK & PINK: An interview with the radical nominee for Pride’s Grand Marshal
May 10 2013
“My immediate response [to sex ioffender registries] is as an abolitionist: This is not going to bring us forward to transformative justice,” Lydon said. “They need to go.” Lydon said that his experience with sex offender registries comes from his past work as a Unitarian Universalist minister, in which he spoke openly about the need to have frank conversations about adult-minor sexual relations, as well as from knowing several friends on SORs.
–Bars For Life: LGBTQs and sex offender registries
May 8 2013
De’Lonta’s case is one faced by a number of trans-men and women around the United States. Currently, there is no written legislation regarding the issue of gender identity in prison.
–Gender Identity Disorder and the Prison System
March 14 2013
“Having a pen-pal from Black & Pink gives LGBT prisoners someone to confide in and it also lessens our chances of harassment by staff because they will notice that we have a non-department civilian to hear our complaints. My experience of queerness and being in the prison industrial complex is horrifying. ”
–Mail Can Save Lives
February 8 2013
The State needs to be on put on trial
for failing you when you were in swaddling clothes
The State was negligent in seeing you through to young adulthood
Even worse, the State is deliberately machinized to fail millions of yous
so you can be put away metaphorically forever
The paperwork against you guarantee this.
Rehabilitation is a hoax.
–Letter to A Prisoner with Black and Pink
December 18 2012
There is, however, another (potential) readership that I must address briefly as well — the folks who think prison is lovely and that prisoners are treated entirely too well. Clearly, my dears, you have yet to visit a prison or have friends and family incarcerated.
–Why I Support Black & Pink
September 29 2011
“We get these touching letters from artists saying that the opportunity to create these works is saving their life, making it so they can face another day in confinement,” says Lydon.
–Art is the New Black and Pink
August 29 2011
Everyone has different experiences based on all sorts of aspects of their identity, there’s not a monolithic experience of queer and trans folks. Race, age, gender identity and expression, ability, and all other identities that we carry with us impact our experience as well. However, queer and trans folks in general have a far higher rate of experiencing sexual violence.
–Black and Pink for Prisoner Justice Day
August 30 2010
“I was 14 years old and I was sitting on my front porch with my sister, the dude I was messing with at the time, and a friend of mine, and out of the blue I jumped up out of my lawn chair and I said, “I’m tired of living this way. I’m tired of living in denial of who I am and what makes me happy, the way that God made me.”
–Black and Pink Issue 3: Coming Out as Trans
“It began as letter writing in my home, and when it about 40 prisoners interacting, I invited friends over for dinner, and said ‘you can eat this food, if you will write letters’!”
–Episode 132: Interview with Black and Pink
Artist: Kory Hunziker
“Our organizing efforts are guided by a larger goal of collective liberation. We hold strong to a feminist, anti-racist, queer liberationist, anti-capitalist, radical analysis of social, ecological, and economic struggles.”
Excerpts from Shaylanna’s notebook