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Letters To Our Family (December 2016)

Hi to All My B&P Family,

I am a positive person. And I do all I can each day to pass that on to others around me. And even though I have spent almost 22 years in prison I can still say that I learn and grow constantly.

Even in the times when I am challenged by the stupidity of some staff as well as some inmates. But I realize that I must lead by example and have the conversation with others in hopes that I can educate them on how to approach trans women.

It is simple to me. I just let others see that I am a human being first. And all I want is to be respected and treated equally as the male inmates are treated. Because it can be difficult being a woman in a male facility – and I don’t allow anyone to treat me as anything other than what I represent.

So no matter how people see me, just doesn’t matter to me. I know who I am and I am secure with myself. I am strong and confident to know that anything I wish to be, I know I can achieve that.

There’s a thing I call keeping your circle closed. If you allow anyone in that circle then you have to take everything that comes along with it. And I know that I am not what everyone loves. But I love myself. So all the decisions I make involving the people I want to be associated with are my decisions only.

I can only be responsible for Lisa. It allows me to be a better person and a better listener and leader in such a dull Place. And this place is only in the right now. I know where my future is, and how to get there. So I follow that path and stay focused in my journey in life when you breathe, you have to exhale. So make the right decision, keep your circle closed and allow yourself to be surrounded by people who are better than you. You will become smarter and a more structured person.

Peace to everyone.
Lisa (CA)

 

Black & Pink Family,

How much more suffering do I have to endure here in Arkansas? The administration is trying to outlaw the LGBTQ community in the Arkansas department of corrections. They tell me there is no such thing as consensual contact between two individuals housed in prison. I got with my “partner” and we fell deeply in love. But I got put in the hole because I was intimate with my husband Joe. I am being punished for being sexually involved with the man I love. That breaks my heart and I’ve had many sleepless nights. I’m so afraid of losing him out of my life. I tell him how much I love him. We are both in the hole suffering from hot temperatures, severe heat, why am I being punished for having sex with the man I love? I am being retaliated against for being a part of the LGBTQ community. I tried to be strong and understand why people hate what they don’t understand, but sometimes I break down and cry myself sick! Arkansas prison systems say P.R.E.A. policy doesn’t allow same-sex sex in prison, they are using P.R.E.A. as a weapon towards homosexuals and transgenders where I am housed. It’s wrong and an injustice. Something needs to be done by this prison abusing P.R.E.A. policies and procedures. P.R.E.A. was implemented to eliminate prison rape, not consensual sex in prison. The unit I’m in is homophobic and transphobic. I need to know how to cope and adjust to these harsh cruel discriminatory tactics and policies. I fell like they treat me like an alien and as taboo for my beliefs and sexuality. They are trying to teach me that the way that I am is wrong. But they are wrong for acting unprofessional towards me and keeping me locked down based on phobias and not facts. I’m treated unfairly and different because of “who I am”. It’s hurtful but I’m staying strong and surviving through this struggle. This is Venus again by the way, torn and hurt emotionally. Hopefully I’ll be able to heal from these scars this prison has put on my heart. Thank you Black and Pink for giving me somewhere to turn to let my voice be heard and my tears to dry. Ya’ll are truly my friends and family. Without Black and Pink’s monthly newsletter, I don’t know where I would be. Mentally, it gives me some sincere peace of mind. To everyone who thinks you are alone in the Solitary Struggle – you’re not! There are thousands more just like us. My heart goes out to everyone who is discriminated against because of who you are. Stay strong and REAL. Never let the police see you sweat. I love you Joe!!!!!

Always your sister in the struggle,
Miss Venus W (AR)

 

Dear Family,

It’s strange for me to say that “family”. My true family had left me alone long ago but I’ve found a new family. I came to prison and was so alone but it was the family that came and showed me I was not alone. I’ve since found the mate of my dreams. This is my first time writing in to Black & Pink but I wish to tell you that I love you. We don’t seem to hear that enough but too this is a call to arms. Though many of you are not in Texas and do not know how badly we are mistreated but we can do something about it. Those of you with pens, they are your swords, you’re the wielder of a power there. Many other states offer access to items like MP3 players and tablets that allow limited access to the internet through sites like J-Pay and Corrlinks. How many of you don’t get mail because frankly your friends and family all use their computers and phones to do all the talking most of them see a stamp as a thing of the past. This puts a lot of us out of touch with them and the state knows this. They don’t want us to have that access. They don’t want us a quick easy way to reach out to our attorneys and advocates. J-Pay offers a tablet called a JP5 tablet. Texas inmates are not allowed access to it but many other states are. Pick up your pens, write to the head of the commissary in Huntsville and ask that we be allowed access to it, that it be made available to Texas inmates. Write your family and friends, have them send emails, beg, plead, threaten. Do whatever you can, we should be given the same access everyone else is. We have the same rights. Join me in this, we can make a difference. I once lost my family, now I have another, I have a mate, and we all have our pens.

With love and affection.
Yours,
Roger (TX)

 

What’s Up Family?

How are you guys doing? I send my love and respects to all my brother and sisters inside and outside.

On May 24, 2016 I was assaulted, cell-extracted, dragged out of my cell and pepper sprayed and given a rules violation report. This is because I am a strong minded black bi-sexual male who has stuck up for my rights on both of my prison terms.

I’m going to end this letter with a few thoughts. I just wanted to touch on the injustice of all the police shooting. It effects me deeply cause I am black and the police are just getting away with murder. The same way as these prison guards around the country are getting away with cruel and unusual punishment and tortuous treatment of our LGBTQ family in prison.

Carlton C. (CA)

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