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Letters to our Family (September 2014)

 

I’m a lifer in California, who has had to endure sexual and physical assaults at the hands of CDCR and inmates. I realize that the color of skin, location of living, and even gang membership separate LGBTQ family. But no human being will ever serve “life” and not seek out another human being to share emotion and friendship. I recently lost contact with a lover, a soul-mate, due to CDCR transfer. It really messed up my heart and head. Yet I will always be there for my brothers and sisters. Promote release dates, we’re stronger by the LGBTQ voices we have in freedom. Be at peace within our circles. And be a friend to one another.

Merry meet,
Naughty Girl, California

 

Dear Black and Pink family,

My name is James, but others know me as Hurricane. I have been in the Virginia Prison System for 13.5 years now, got 7 more to go with good time. It’s really sad how gays are treated here. The officers and the administration do everything they can to keep partners away from each other. They just don’t understand or care what we go through mentally and emotionally. They will put gays in cells with homophobes and people who want to rape you, and expect you to get along with them, that don’t work, you’ll end up fighting and going to the hole. It don’t matter how much paperwork you push to get moved they will set it to the side and tell you they have took care of it and they don’t, but when you go over their head they want to lock you up. They split my husband and me up for no reason at all and “Yes” I’m trying to get him back in the cell with me. I am not going to stop pushing the paperwork ’til I get him back. I know that some people feel the pain of what I’m going through right now.

Keep you’alls head up and stay strong- Know your rights, go to the Law Library, guys and gals keep writing and fighting the prison system.

Love,
James a.k.a Hurricane, Virginia

 

My name is Grace. I came across Black & Pink via my political associations with other publications and friends on the outside. I’m doing a prison term for credit card fraud and identity theft with a sentence of 2.5 to 4.5 years. I am a black transgender woman in a male medium security facility. I have been in my current facility for a couple of months after being shifted around the state due to my legal problems with several facility administrations during my prison term. Being at my current facility I must say it has been problematic with the staff and the administration, but my legal actions- addressing the Wardens and Superintendents in a legal way- has alleviated a lot of the problems that I was having in previous facilities.

Being transgender in male general population can and has caused me great agony and stress by everyone. Sadly even my gay/bi bros and sistas… only due to my being feminine and my having breasts. It bothers me because I thought that my “Family” would be at least civil with me, but due to the divisions that we LGBTQ people set forth toward each other even in these prisons, I have to be ostracized due to my appearance and gender status. When it has come to the so-called straight inmates… they are curious, quick to come at me on some “DL” stuff or they ignore but respect me. Being that New York State has a gang element that dominates the prisons, I’m usually left alone. So I am safe…

Since being in this facility as well as the previous facility I have been working on my memoir (bio) and other literary projects. Before I was led towards a criminal lifestyle, I was a Professional Theatre/Dance performer and Stage Hand in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Texas. I struggled with alcohol and drug use (Valium), as well as homelessness, as well as abandonment from Family. However, my biggest struggle has been my struggle with mental illness. When I lost my strength to perform and live an honest life… I could not deal with the loss of so much promise and positive outlooks on life.

Writing has been a savior and gift that has saved me from “Going under,” and Therapy and attending Faith-based Groups and Church has given me a “Road Map” to recover my Life back. I’m scared… but I’m dedicated to returning back to “The Living.”

Reading Black & Pink and acknowledging US and the struggles that we all have, has and continues to give me Hope, Promise and the Ability to move forward in a positive way. I’m scheduled for a parole hearing, but because I have lost “Good Time”… there is a great possibility that I will not make the Parole Board to be released ’til 2015. So I will continue to write and participate in programs, Groups and Therapy to address my Future, when it comes. Take care “Family,” and acknowledge that “It Really Can Get Better” personally when One faces their struggles, demons and estrangements. I can, and have, and continue to. Keep your head up.

 

Peace y’all,
Grace, New York

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