Dear Black & Pink,

The Family has helped me to accept, be proud, and comfortable with my decision to become a transsexual woman, after finally ‘coming out’ and not hiding my lifelong desire to make this wonderful transition for myself! I honestly believe that without all of you it may have taken me many more years to come out or quite possibly never. I love you all and wish everyone the best in our lives now and forever. We shall break our chains of oppression but never our bond of love and support for us all.

In Truth and Solidarity,

Kristi, Pennsylvania

 

Dear Black & Pink Family,

My name is Timothy, but everyone knows me as Blondie. Me and my Lover were given a copy of the Sept. 2013 Newspaper. I was overwhelmed with emotion by the stories I read. I’ve been in prison in South Carolina for almost 8 years now. It is really sad how gays are treated here. The officers and administration do everything they can to keep partners away from one another. But they just don’t understand or care what we go through emotionally or mentally.

Over a year ago I was in a very abusive relationship. And I felt like that was the best I could do. Then a good friend stepped up and made me realize that I could do better. I took him through hell, but he wouldn’t turn his back on me. That good friend is now my best friend, Lover, and Life Partner. I still have some healing to do, but everyday he gives me unconditional love regardless of what these officers and administrators take us through. He has taught me how to love myself and how to be loved again. I love him, and I thank God daily for him coming into my life and loving me.

Here is my advice: If you are with someone who beats on you or verbally abuses you, they do not love you. And don’t believe that you can’t do better. Because you can and will! There is someone in this world that will love you and treat you right! Keep your heads up, the sky is the limit!

Peace Family,

Blondie, South Carolina

 

Dear All LGBTQ Family Members,

Greetings and peace I send you. This is the first time I have written Black & Pink. Yet, after reading only two Newspaper issues, I felt the need to write.

First, I am a proud male-to-female transgender who is married for over 12 years to a bisexual man. We are both HIV positive and advocates of teaching others how to live productive lives. We are both ordained ministers in the Christian tradition, yet we study, practice, and encourage all to follow the path, faith, or tradition they choose to follow. No one has the corner on God, Goddess, etc. We only ask for you to do no harm. We consider ourselves as Interfaith Ministers for our LGBTQ family. Remember, no matter which path you follow, you are loved and accepted. The Creator never turns away anyone!

For those who don’t believe a prison relationship can work, my husband and I beg to differ. For the past 12 years we have been a couple. For 9 of these years we have been in different prisons, thus physically apart. What is our secret? Simple:

  1. We celebrate a monthly anniversary as a mini-way for reminding us both why we are still in love.
  2. We set down rules at the very beginning. We have a semi-open marriage, but no secrets. We greatly trust each other.
  3. We write each other in a weekly set of letters which looks like a journal. Our state Prison System does allow prisoners to write each other in some cases.
  4. We think of the other. So, I am too busy thinking of my husband’s happiness to worry about being selfish, and vice versa.
  5. We became friends long before marriage partners. We didn’t have a romantic encounter for the first six months. Not because we couldn’t (at the time we lived in cells next to each other), but to allow our friendship to grow.
  6. We never allow anyone be it a friend, family, staff, enemy, etc to put wedges between each other.
  7. Finally, we shared with each other all of our history. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Nothing was hidden, and to this day nothing is ever kept a secret.

I have a Doctorate in Divinity and Interfaith Studies. I am also a trained Peer Educator here in my prison. I conduct education classes on HIV, STI’s, Hep-C, General Health, Stress Reduction, Stress Management, etc. I love helping our LGBTQ family members especially here in prison. I can share my knowledge and answer questions in the Newspaper about these topics.

The final part of my letter is this: never allow anyone to tell you what you are worth. I have been in prison over 18 years, and before I met and fell in love for real, I suffered. I was raped twice, assaulted, used, traded, sold, etc. Custody was no help. But a very dear queen took me under her wings. She said, “We are a minority. The men are large in number, and we are not. Yet, we can have control. We can even be picky!” Remember we are a protected class of people. If you are sexually violated, file PREA paperwork; if physically assaulted, sue. And know this- you are loved, cared for, wanted, and strong.

I close with this blessing: May you find peace and be uplifted always. Know love and strength. Never give up, for we are winning the war on hate, injustice, and prejudice.

With Love & Prayers,

Rev. Dr. Kimberly, California

 

Hello My Dear Family,

Black & Pink has become more than just pen & ink to me. Each spirit who writes in to contribute to its consciousness, brings this old Queen new life and meaning. It’s Billy ya’ll from Texas, I pray all is well with each and every one of you. I wish I could given each of my family, right now, a big hug. It’s this way each and every time I read my latest issue of our Newspaper. To hear and be allowed to help with each of your struggles, gives me a sense of belonging and self worth. When I received a Thank You for an article in the May ’13 issue I had contributed, I cried. I didn’t even know anyone was really listening. I wish I could respond personally to so many of you- please know I hear you and you are in my heart.

It’s time Billy has a say in something he holds so dear. In all honesty, I don’t hold it, it has its hold on me. No one talks of the Texas Solitary Confinement part of the system, which they choose to call Ad Seg, Administrative Segregation.

After spending 11 years in that box, still to this day, that box is with me. Imagine walking in each room you enter and counting everything, including the cracks on the wall. Even though I was in that room the day before, I would count it once again hoping for just one new small crack- why? It gave me the sense of change. I’ve been out now for 6 years. I still go nights without sleep. Those years stole things from my very soul. Now in the crowded day rooms, endless lines for my basic needs- food, medicine, etc. I pray for refuge to be alone. In lines sometimes my anxiety overcomes me and I have to give up my seizure meds, placing me at risk of further harm. I will cry for no damn reason at all. One of the scariest things, I know I’m not crazy, but I can’t get my head out of that cell. It’s gotten so hard lately to even call home, I think they know I’m damaged somehow. When I used to get visits there would be periods of silence because I had forgotten how to even hold a conversation with my family. They don’t visit anymore.

Many, many times I’ve wished so share just these very words with my Black & Pink family but became so violently ill each time, I couldn’t complete it. It’s time everybody quit talking about studying the effects of solitary confinement- it’s time for something, anything, to be done. Most of the time when I try and speak of my time in Ad Seg, when trying to share the darkness I continue to fight my way out of, those who try to help cannot see into that darkness. So, I’m passed along from one mental health professional to the next. I even tried to make myself feel bad about myself as if it was all my fault. I was sentenced to do time, yes, I get that, but not be tortured or abused.

So when I say my Black and Pink family, I mean “family.” You all save me daily, I wish I could show you my past Newspapers. You’d think, this one issue was read by one million people. They are rags, LOL.

I plan to submit an essay on a very controversial subject- “self injury,” but not “self mutilation” or “self inflicted violence.” It will be about release, it will not be about suicide, so please do not mistake any of what I share as glorification or an invitation. It’s just that for some people, tears can no longer even begin to compensate for what they feel. Some deal with it the best way they know how.

I hope some of what I have written may help someone, remembering not everything applies to everyone. I love each and every one who’s part of this beautiful family. Thank you so much for being there for me and allowing me to be these for each one of ya’ll!

Peace,

Billy, Texas

 

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