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Letters to Our Family (February 2015)

Stand Tall and Continue

When you go through trials and tribulations that’s your time to show what you are really made of, that is when you must remain faithful and might, that’s when you must stand tall and continue. The gates and the walls may confine you physically, but mentally and spiritually, there’s no confines, unless you place some on yourself, so every morning tell yourself, “Mighty and faithful I am.” People may change, times may get hard but you have inside of you the power to stand tall and continue.

“Lady” Lourisa, California

 

Dear Black and Pink Family,

Hi my name is Susie. I am transgender, I also am a peer support specialist. I graduated in Dec of 2011. Since that time I have been using my strengths to be all I was meant to be. I have wrote to you before and told you a lot of trauma that I went through in my childhood, and self-mutilation that I have done to myself. Well I am pleased to share with my wonderful family at Black & Pink that after 3 years of evaluation & assessment, in Feb of 2014 I finally put on my first Estradiol patch 0.5 mg once a week. I also take 100 mg of Spironolactone a day. This was the first for PA DOC. As I wasn’t taken it until I come to prison, I had a lot of so-called friends until my breasts started to develop. Only a few remain and that’s fine by me. Here are some of the abusive things I go through from inmates and staff, mostly CO. We have bars on our cell doors here at SCI rockview and of course I am 2 coded and on the SNU special needs unit. Every time I go to meal line or to take a shower when I come back there is salt and soap shavings all over my bed. I have found chicken bones with feathers taped to the fiberglass insulation. I get stopped at the officers’ desk and asked how big I want my breasts and when am I going to get a vagina. I send to a lot of bookstores for free books. I was receiving them on a regular basis until my hormone treatment was approved. Now I watch CO take stickers off my books when they come and they give them to the other inmates. I refuse to give in and let them win. I stand up for all our family rights. I am also trying to get female undergarments as well as to have commissary desegregated. I have been told the PA DOC has a committee meeting to decide what transgenders will be allowed to purchase.
There were so many times I just about gave up and took my life. But I don’t want to let them win. I will never ask for segregation or PC. But I also will never give up on fighting for OUR rights. I already get retaliated against but I am NOT afraid. I want everyone to know if need be I will die for our cause.
My prayer is you receive this letter and that everyone will use all their strength to be all they were meant to be. Thank you Black and Pink.

Love to all my family at Black & Pink,
Susie Lynn Moon, Pennsylvania

 

Dear Black and Pink,

Thank you so much for including me in the family with the sending of Black & Pink. I am transgender and in one of California’s prisons. At this prison we have recently started two LGBT friendly groups for anyone regardless of sexual orientation. As long as you are respectful, you may attend the weekly group. But we also have a transgender only group that meets twice a week. I do my best to keep both groups informed on issues from the outside as far as services for when anyone is paroled. I have shared your newsletter with the groups and have given the address so everyone can receive the newsletter. Our group sponsor copied the form from the May newsletter for the penpal program. I’ve sent my form in. I hope everyone else has as well. Though this prison has a lot of transgenders and gay men, this is still a prison full of ignorant people when it comes to the treatment of us. Though the groups help some talk about their issues, more needs to be done. The 602 (grievance appeals) process is timely and discouraging to say the least. I myself have no problem with doing the paperwork. Change only happens if you are persistent. Everyone in life has struggles. The LGBT community in prisons has a lot more to deal with because of stupidity and neglect. Some of the stories of your readers are very heartbreaking. I can identify with many of them. Black & Pink is an avenue for many to be heard who maybe would have never thought to tell anyone else. Sometimes it is less painful to stay silenced. Everyone is different in how they deal with situations. Regardless, Black & Pink is a voice for everyone. I hope that we can find it in our hearts to be good listeners and continue to fight for those who are silenced. Because one day they too will be heard. Be strong,

Lisa, CA

 

Hello!

I am writing because there is a serious problem in the prison system that we all need to stand up and stick together to end. I teach all the new inmates about PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act), a bill signed in 2003 to end sexual assault on inmates by staff and by other inmates. By law, this class (one hour) is to be given to everyone every time they enter state, local, or federal prisons. For the past 10 years the law has been ignored. Over the past years they have allowed a few inmates to be trained by professionals to teach this class. It is mandatory, but with only two of us in this prison of 1900 women doing it, it is a battle. They put us in a room meant to hold 6 to 8 people and cram in 10 to 15 so everyone is cranky and not listening. This just makes it easier for the bad guys to keep on raping and abusing and the victims scared, alone, and unaware of their options. Being a dyke makes me a constant target for comments that would get you fired in an office but I know how to stand up and say I’m not scared, I’m not ashamed of who I am and I will not be a victim ever again. I tried to talk to these women so they hear that prison rape is not just an urban legend or the plot for a sick porn flick- it’s real and the only way to stop it is to educate ourselves, empower ourselves and stand together united all races, genders, sexualities, ages. We need to get the word out- rape is rape whether you live in San Francisco, Miami, London, Iraq, or in prison. Check up on that person down the way who never comes out of their cell, let each other know that we aren’t alone, be what you know you are-strong, proud, human and vigilant. Together we can make them hear us. Please educate one another about safety, respect, tolerance and our basic human rights. Those don’t change because of how you dress, who you love, what you call yourself, where you live, or why you live there. I love each and every one of you and stand by your sides constantly. Never give up! We are amazing! Stop allowing them to tell you you are anything less than perfect! Spread the word about PREA; anyway I can help from my little eagle’s nest, I’m willing. Much love,

Alissa, CA

 

Dear B&P Family

Let me say that one of my sisters gave me your – our address, and I couldn’t believe it when he told me what it was. I’ve been gone a long time & barely hearing about it. I’m so happy that our Familia is coming up in the world. I used to be in a gang but got out ’cause I was tired of hiding my true self. I’m so amazed of how much we have accomplished in this cruel world. I’ve been in so many fights ’cause of these people who don’t have no respect for other human beings. Well to all my Familia, LGBT keep y’all’s heads up, don’t give up now. Not when we’ve come so far, we started from the bottom now we here, now we are a part of society. Let’s go BROTHERS & SISTERS! Stop hiding, come out & join us. I’m gay & proud: From one to another, I LOVE Y’all. Black & Pink we are a Familia and are proud of this Newspaper.

Much Love
Francisco Garcia-Pancho

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