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Letters to our Family (March 2015)

My Black & Pink family,

I call you family not because it is a term loosely thrown around (as some might do); nor do I call you that because I have none & am starved for acceptance (though I do not have a family & am alone in this world); I, my friends, call you “family” because you understand me & what I’ve gone through, what I go through.

It’s a horrible world in which we live; finding love, affection & hope is hard. I have gone so far to remind myself that there is love in the world by branding (i.e. burning) a butterfly into my arm. When I look at it, I try & remember my mom, the most beautiful person in the world (may the God she believes so devoutly in bless her & hold her safe). But the truth is it gets harder & harder day by day. I am a strong-minded individual but all the years alone behind these walls, all the barriers I’ve built so people can’t hurt me anymore, is slowly breaking me. It’s come to the point where all I look forward to is the void when I sleep & doing morphine or heroin. I don’t even like to dream ’cause I never dream of the free world any more, only prison.

I first got locked up when I was 13. I went to California Youth Authority (kinda like child prison) when I was 15 & got out when I was 21. I was out for 6 months & then started coming to prison. I was in & out from 2005 till 2012. I’m now doing a 9-year sentence. You’d think that going in & out of prison isn’t as bad as a longer sentence, but being “out” for a few months then getting locked up then getting out again completely alienates you from everyone you know. When you get out you start to build a friendship or relationship with an individual then you’re ripped back to this world of concrete & steel & pulled away from that person. You do a short prison term or parole violation, find a good friend or a cool boyfriend & well, now your parole date’s here & you never see them again. I have effectively been put in a vacuum. I must admit my world is lonely… but then it’s been that way half my life.

I have known I was bisexual for a long time; I remember being kicked out of more than one group home for sexual activity with some of the other boys. My gender on the other hand has been somewhat of an enigma to me. I love pretty boys & trans women; I am a versatile bottom… all that’s no mystery to me, all pretty cut and dry, but sometimes I want to be all masculine & tough… others I want to prance around in slutty clothes & act femme. I wish I could just be one way or the other.
I still to this day try to keep hope. I try my damnedest to be a good person. I do find some beautiful, honest people, yes, even in prison. Even though my world is bleak, I still hold to the hope that I will not always be lonely. It gets harder day by day to hold that faith, but the drugs numb & my strength perseveres so I still hold onto it. I try & bring good words & encouragement where I can. I may be hurt, even broken, but I know that I’m not the only lost soul out there & I hope to reach out to them.

I’ve been through a lot: incarcerated, raped as a child, burned by cigarettes; I’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten; I’ve been in riots; been kidnapped, duct taped, beaten & watched my best friend shot in the face with a .45 caliber handgun & all I can say is, yeah life REALLY f***ing sucks, but so far I’ve been able to keep something to look forward to. Sometimes a drawing I’m working on, or a really good book I’m reading or even a morphine pill for the next day… but truthfully I look forward to maybe getting to know my mom. To really stay out long enough to not just know the beautiful part I know, but to get to know ALL of her. The good, the bad, everything. There’s ALWAYS hope, ALWAYS… I just hope I can always remember that. Pray for me, family.
Last thing I have to say is to my family member in the fed. First off, your name is SO cute! But really sweetie your letter touched me. I want you to know I don’t judge you. What you’ve done in the past DOES NOT sum up the whole of your personality nor is it a measure of your character. You messed up & hurt some people but, love, we ALL hurt people & it’s not fair to say your crimes are worse than mine. I can tell from your letter you’re not a bad person… like me, you’re just lonely & lost. Just remember when you’re hurting the most, baby I’m thinking of you & right by your side, lonely too.

But not matter what, keep hope. Some day you’ll meet someone like me who doesn’t care about your charges & you’ll love him & he’ll love you. Nothing’s forever baby boy, not even loneliness. You’ll be in my prayers, beautiful.

To all my family, I love you, (and a shout-out to all my clowns LMFAO WHOOP! WHOOP!…word son…lol…hehe!), no but really,
Tommy, CA

 

Dear B&P family,

I’ve been receiving B&P for 5 months and I love the letters and support they give. So I decided to write myself.

I’m a 21-year-old bi trans woman and for the first time, I love myself. I say that because up until last year (Aug/Sep 2013) I’ve lived to be what those around me want me to be and never myself. Whether it was the chosen oldest or the scapegoat, my brother used me for his crimes against my other brothers. Every time I tried to be me I was sent to crazy doctors because I was rebelling and acting out of character or was told I was weird (still am).
But no more, I AM MY OWN PERSON: that is what I need to tell you my brothers and sisters. YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON. Don’t let family, friends, guards, mental health [practitioners], inmates, or anyone tell you who you are. So keep your heads up, family. It gets better but only you can make it that way.

I’ve had my share of triumphs, legally changing my name and discovering who I am, and I’ve had my downers, the people not recognizing and inmates’ disrespect, but I keep my head up and plow through. There are a great many things I haven’t done (or have done) that I wish with all my heart and soul I should have done (or not have done). But life is full of choices and we have to make them and the one choice we need to make is to be ourselves and not let others dictate who, what, when, where, how, and why. I wish all of you the best and hope you find your road.

In love and understanding,
Michelle

 

Hellow how is the family doing? Well your brother is alright. My name is Anthony but everybody calls me Antbang. I’m in prison in Ohio and I’m a bisexual male. This is my first time writing an article to the B&P family. First off I want to send much love to my LGBTQ brothers and sisters and everyone who supports us.

I’ve known I’m bisexual since I was 12 year old, I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 18 years old. At first people didn’t accept it, I learned how to block out the people hating on me. There’s always someone trying to bring me down. When I was 12 year old I turned to the street and started selling drugs, and carrying firearms. I also started to gang bang and hurt people to block out my pain inside. It didn’t really hit me until later in life what my actions were doing.

I faced death at age 22 year old after being shot by the police and charged with 5 counts of murder. I had no choice but to really see things for what they were. I had made my bed, it was time to lay in it. I was blessed to only get 20 years for 2 counts of manslaughter.
Since I’ve been locked up I’ve witnessed the abuse and harassment that gay and transexual people go through. I witnessed people in the prison system shed nothing but darkness on our LGBTQ community. I matured over the years, I used to be wild and full of violence. I am not the flamboyant type but I love the flamboyant type. They don’t understand the pressure we face every day.

All my LGBTQ community, stay strong.
Much love!
Anthony, Ohio

 

Black and Pink family,

For the last two months I’ve been reading some of the letters, stories, and poems in the Black and Pink newspaper. I sent my request to subscribe to the paper, but have been reading another inmate’s copy.
In some of the letters and poetry, and even in people I’ve met face-to-face, people are going through some of the religious animosity brought on by some misinformed Christians. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying Christianity is misleading or misinforming. I myself am a Christian. An Episcopalian to be more exact.

What I am saying is that before you allow yourself to feel condemned, get more informed. There is a book titled “God Believes in Love” and is by Gene Robinson who is an openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church. See, the New Testament was originally written in Greek. Gene Robinson will take you through those New Testament verses that people “claim” to condemn homosexuality.

Gene Robinson had presented his findings to the Council of the Episcopalian church. It resulted in the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the church. And the support of same- sex marriage. And just because you want to be a good Christian does not mean that you have to turn straight. ALWAYS FORWARD, NEVER STRAIGHT!

After reading the book you can decide for yourselves about your faith and sexuality. Pass the info to your friends and family said they also can learn.You can probably find the book at any Episcopal bookstore, maybe some other bookstores. If you don’t have anywhere else to buy or find the book, here is the address of an Episcopal bookstore in Seattle, Washington: Episcopal Bookstore, 3837 Stone Way N., Seattle, WA 98103

Keep your heads up! Don’t lose faith!

Sincerely,
Brandon in Idaho

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