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Letters to Our Family (July/Aug. 2017)

Greetings –

Just FYI Black & Pink is making a difference in the lives of oppressed people who happen to be incarcerated in the state of Illinois. The Chicago chapter is one to be truly proud of. They were instrumental in me being transferred here to Dixon C.C., which has a mental health unit. They made calls – they utilized social media – and they were RELENTLESS & FIERCE. I think back to the B&P of old & I smile. 🙂

Jason – You’re a visionary & an icon. It’s a privilege to still be reppin’ B&P all these years later.

I saw it go from a little newsletter mailed in a standard sized envelope to this full-fledged stuffed & edifying newsletter/magazine. This IS a movement. 🙂 I will continue to lend my voice, experiences & talents to advancing the cause of justice, equality, and dignity.

Thanks and remember – U are making a difference. I love my B& P family!!!!

w/ love – in solidarity –
Patrice (IL)

 

Dear B+P fam,

This is Emily Rayne Vladimir Severus. I’m a TransGender male to female. I’m serving time in the not so lovely state of Oklahoma “ODOC.” I’m fighting for my hormones as of today I got a copy of the “Blanket Policy” that states I have to be on “hrt” hormone replacement therapy prior to incarceration. In fact, as of today I looked up a previous stated case 851.F.Supp.2D at 250 I went to the 9t181 and found a key for Transexuals and something you can find it under key 14 it’s still the same case: Kesilek V. Maloney. It’s talking about the Blanket Policy. This is something that needs to be dealt with.

When is it okay to sit there and deny treatment because your DOC policy says prior to incarceration? Let me give you a little history why I wasn’t on them prior to incarceration from the last time I was told to have GID classification. You have to live as the assigned birth no less than 2 years than you got to live as your preferred gender no less than 2 years. You also have to undergo counseling for x amount of years. I hid myself even though I attempted suicide multiple times for 23 years. In 2013-2015 I lived as a female as best as I could but one thing stopped me as money kept me from applying hormones and also I was still undergoing counseling at the time of my arrest. It wasn’t until June 2014 I got the diagnosis then I got it confirmed by a doctor here in DOC. The one thing still remains.

You wouldn’t deny insulin to a diabetic, would you? No but I’ve heard of one case they did. The Blanket Policy for ODOC needs to end. Here’s the next problem I have no money to take it to courts in fact the previous Assistant Warden threatened to “ship” us off the yard if we even thought about putting in paper work. I’m one of the many that decides to go ahead and put ink into pen and paper and help in justice for transsexual/transgenders in Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections. Today, we as humans, need to quit being afraid and come out of hiding. Even though my name hasn’t changed due to a S.O. bill negating sex offenders to getting name changes, Nov. 2014 we need to be vigilant. My boy name at birth is Jon Matthew McDaniel Crowell and when I go through this change I can’t allow the state to keep me as Jon Matthew McDaniel Crowell as a girl/woman. We need to fight the Oklahoma Justice System and keep our rights because even though Grays are our clothing we are humans. I would like to thank my sister Isabella for the information. I’ve been receiving B+P for 2 months now and even though mental and emotional pain it causes me I’m a little joyed that she put it in there. If it wasn’t for Isabella I wouldn’t have went to the law library to check on the case.

I’m hoping to dispute a case in 10th circuit court in Denver, Colorado. For a civil suit on this case I got maybe 2 years max. For my first time of writing the Black and Pink I think I did okay on informing the family about the “ODOC” Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections Policy.

w/ Love,
Emily S. (OK)

 

Dear Black and Pink,

Hello fam! This is Jay of course. Well, I just wanted to say a few words to everybody out there across the country right now who’s either in solitary, segregation, or doesn’t feel the place they don’t want to be in. Especially to those in the Texas penal system, because in TDCJ I know how it feels all the oppression, discrimination and those who feel who can’t do a damn thing about it. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. I made a powerful decision putting my foot down and stop dealing with other people. I’ve decided to grow a pair and fight for what I believe in and the pride I have of being gay. I’m 21 years old and I’m getting too old for all the hate and I still show love to my enemies. There’s a song you should listen. It’s “Nirva-Brother.” When I heard it, it spoke to me about Brotherly love and love that God gives despite of anything we all have. Also, “KJ52 – Island of Misfit Toys” says about God loves us even if you’re gay. He said he wanted to make a song for those who didn’t fit in, To think god hates gays but no He loves everyone the same.

Nobody knows this but God created everything to fall into place even the LGBT community. He made us to show and be an example of love. We have love to everyone even if we hide hate in our hearts. I feel like I hate the person in front of me but I don’t. I dislike the person’s action of what they do. Don’t worry because one day, God will come and He will show us His love and created a new world where all the LGBT will freely show love. That’s what I believe.

I read the newspaper and I feel and find comfort in keepin’ up with the family. This is where I found to where I really belong. I’ve received also the Spanish version and I was amazed how the staff pulled it all together. Thanks to you for reachin’ the Hispanic community. I just want to say keep your head up high and not to be afraid. Fight if you have to. That’s what I’m doing. Are you?

I love you all and stay strong!

Love and in solidarity,
Jay L (TX)

 

Dear Family,

Hi all! My name is Ashley and I’m a trans* identified woman currently being housed in a male facility in the Oregon DOC. I’ve been receiving Black & Pink for a while now and have yet to see anyone from Oregon write in so I decided to write in to let everyone know what’s up for the LGBTQIA family in Oregon.

Trans* identified adults in custody with a Gender Dysphoria diagnosis in the Oregon DOC can now petition the Gender Non-Conforming TLC committee to receive state issued undergarments that align with their gender identity as well as petition to receive access to a gender affirming canteen list. In order to begin this process, they need to contact Mental Health (BHS) and inform them that you want these things. This will begin a drawn-out process that will take six months to a year to complete. But it’s so worth it! While wearing makeup bras & panties doesn’t miraculously make me feel 100% in-line, it does help alleviate some of the dissonance that I experience. This is the first time in 14 years of incarceration that I feel more like my true self and less like an actor.

We are still fighting for access to hormones and other medical affirmations. Thankfully, the ACLU of Oregon has decided to look at moving forward with at least 9 of our cases. Fingers crossed! it’s only a matter of time before all DOCs are forced to provide services.

I would like to close by sending my strength and solidarity out to all of our family inside and outside of the walls. Most, if not all, of use have faced hardships, pains and traumas that would have destroyed the wills of the “average” individual and caused them to back away from the perceived “sin” to society; But not us. We openly declare our LGBTQIA status in spite of the hardships, pains and traumas and fight back against the oppression. Remember that you are awesome, loved and deserve happiness. Stay strong my friends.

<3 Ashley (OR)

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