Letters to Our Family (October 2014)

Dear Black ‘n’ Pink,

Hello to all of our community! I have over the past couple of months gotten my hands on copies of the latest Black ‘n’ Pink issues. Maybe it’s the fact that I was raised in a religious household that this life confuses me daily. I don’t understand but thanks to Black ‘n’ Pink along with a counselor that I am in contact with, I have more compassion.

I was raised where “Gay” was wrong for me because that is not what God wants for me and I need to put those temptations behind me. It was a battle, it was a struggle, I began dating women with Strong Personalities and very controlling, making myself turn into a victim of spousal abuse due to me “not being a man.” Misery became a way of life because it was easier than admitting that I love men.

I’m not good at expressing myself, it’s easier to be what others want me to be than me just being me. I have never honestly come out of the “closet.” Hell no, I have been thrown out of it by everyone who meets me. They treat me differently. My good friend/boyfriend told me “it’s pretty hard to deny ‘Walker’ you have neon lights, a billboard and fairy dust that parades around you, sorry Hun!” Sadly that’s me trying not to be gay, but to be the good Christian man following the Bible as my family expects of me. So I guess I’m Gay and that is the me that I need to learn to love. I’m not sure why I am writing but this is me finally deciding to open up to who I am.

I have been awful to the people of my “family,” never associating with them, why is this? I need help building the true confidence to be real with me and to be healthy for me. Please help me to just be comfortable with who I am. I want to learn to be more supportive of me and the community.

I love the support that you give to us with your newspaper and thank you for giving us an outlet for our struggles and have unity between the community. There seems to be so much to take in when we choose to be real with who we are and to finally seek support from like individuals that we can find as becoming our “new” family. Thank you for finding your way into my life.

Walker, Idaho


Dear Black and Pink Brothers and Sisters:

As-salamu alaykum (Peace Be Upon You)! First let me say I am proud of you all for standing up for what you believe in. And I love every single one of you for that! Thank you all.

My name is Naji and I am a 48-year-old Muslim who is bisexual. I enjoy Black and Pink so much that I sent it to my daughters who are lesbian, as well and to my friend Billie. There is no doubt in my mind they are enjoying the paper as much as I have.

Anyhow, the reason I am writing is because of Teddy in Iowa. Teddy, “No One” has the right to force anyone to have sex with them! I don’t care if it’s in prison or on the streets! Because of this you have the right to sue ‘IDOC’ for not protecting you from other inmates. So, I advise you to check your policy dealing with PREA, and your local laws, as well as Federal laws about your rights to be safe from staff and inmates. I would bet my top dollar someone there has Prison Legal News as well as Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook.

People, you need to understand and know your rights. Please do not expect to be treated fairly. All DOCs are their own worst enemy. Understand your two issues are ‘Conditions of Confinement’ and ‘Safety.’ But you must put in ‘Grievances,’ or your case will be dismissed before you even get started. I don’t like the way DOC’s lawyers will behave. God please forgive me, but you may have to backdate your grievance. Anyhow, you must show the courts you tried to fix the issue with the prison officials first!

Also look to see if your prison has a Hotline. Like the one here in Arizona. Here in Arizona it’s completely anonymous and free. If I am correct all states must have something similar to the one we have. If not ask the Attorney General of your state if they plan on starting one. Use Arizona’s as an example. People don’t be afraid to tell your Attorney General about issues like this in your prison system. Tell the media about the conditions within your prison.

Teddy, I am glad you’re alive to tell your story. And I am sorry that you’re having to go through this situation. You can still be the advocate for those in your state. Again, I thank you for telling us about your situation. If I were there I would give you all the help in the world.

Anthony, Arizona


Dear B&P family!

First of all, sorry for taking so long for helping. I really appreciated receiving a Birthday Letter. It was the only one I received this year.

Between lockdowns and property searches I was unable to obtain postage and writing supplies.

I’ve already passed the March Newspaper on to someone else, so I can’t remember who wrote about HIV+ people having uninformed and unsafe sex with HIV- people.

I have been HIV+ officially since February 1988, unofficially since 1986. There is controversy as to whom and who I was infected by. Yet, that does not matter. No matter who gave me this virus, intentionally or not, I share the responsibility. I was the one who had unprotected sex, in a very high risk environment, for several years. I gave no thought of safe sex. Honestly, I never had a clue there was such a thing.

Yes, it is very wrong for someone who has HIV/AIDS to have unprotected sex, especially without informing their partner. Yet you must remember, sex with another person requires two people. Do not take it for granted your potential partner is being open and honest. Protect yourself, first and foremost. Another thing, ask your partner.

Some of us get caught up in the moment. You do not think of asking “Are you HIV positive?” before you drop your pants. For those of us who are positive, one way to remove the stigma: be honest, be open, be willing to answer questions and lead by example. We must show others that the HIV/AIDS virus does not make the person. How we handle our responsibility of handling the virus is what makes us who we are. I wish also to send a small shout out to Freaky and Angel in Texas prisons. All my love to all my family, brothers and sisters in and out of prison. Stay strong, stay safe and keep up the good fight always.

-Marvin “Cliff,” Texas


Dear Black & Pink Family,

Hello everyone, especially all my incarcerated sisters out there. My name is Lennea and I am currently in the Federal System. I had transitioned in 2002 and lived as my gender of choice (i.e. female) until I was incarcerated in February 2010. I was 40 years old when I had finally transitioned and thought it was the hardest thing I had ever done but with the greatest reward… My true happiness. Then I came to prison and realized transitioning in the ‘Real World’ wasn’t near as hard as I thought.

I have been incarcerated for four years and have battled with the system (and still do) and mostly won all battles. I am on the complete medical protocol treatment and have been since 2011. I have been issued bras and panties, they allowed me to purchase a bathrobe from the women’s facility, and really, staff and administration have been very supportive considering the institution is in the southern Bible Belt.

I will write again as I have more news. In exiting, I will say that change is hard but well worth the fight, pick up your pens, file everything you can and all items possible to our cause.

Love Always,

Lennea, Federal System Girl


Hello to all the people of Black & Pink Newspaper.

I am proud that others are out there fighting the fight against the enemies that we face as a LGBTQI community. Don’t ever give up hope, faith and love for each other!!!

I recently have come out of the restrictive housing unit (RHU) of this institution that I am currently housed, for fighting against a man that “thought” he could “punk out” a transwoman, who happened to be my best friend and cellmate. As both of us are transwomen on hormones, we took justice in our hands that day, and gave him a dose of reality- “we will NOT allow a hater to intimidate us because we’re labeled as beautiful women and weak!” I believe that he got the message. My cellmate and I received a disciplinary offense report (DOR) for battery. The guy that we defended ourselves from received a DOR for harassment, even though he had instigated the fight and punched me- Go figure!

The day after we had our brief “victory,” the other men in this institution gave us “props” for what we did that day. It was a sense of accomplishment, relief, success, etc. I strongly advise others that violence is NOT the answer! Nor do I condone it, but I will not stand around and watch another one of my family members of the LGBTQI community be harassed, hurt, or bullied for any reason regarding their sexual preference or identity. I vowed that after being abused while in prison because I am a transwoman, I will not stand and watch this hurt and disgust continue, so as long as I have a breath in my body! As of to date me and my cellmate have had no further problems.

It is very hard being a transwoman in prison, and I know other transwomen know exactly what I am talking about. Always remember my fellow trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, queer friends that WE are who we are for a reason, we have been chosen to experience life as we are because we are strong, beautiful, loving and intelligent.

Live and let live!

Adree, Idaho

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>