Prisoners submissions

Supporting and Defending the Rights of Others

When I was inducted into the US Navy, I raised my right hand and swore to, “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As a young 18 year old, the true meaning of that oath did not develop in my moral compass until many years later. A prison sentence, the ‘thank you’ from a beautiful person and maturity, set me on a path to advocate the “Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, for all people.

The social structure of the prison yard is comparable to high school cliques. People will form groups based on race, sexuality, area code, religion or gang affiliation. I never initiated conversations with people I didn’t know and mostly kept to myself. Since I knew other offenders who were veterans and who identified with the LGBTQ community in the prison, I was called over to a small group of people and there I met Fancy. Fancy turned towards me, looked me in the eye and asked if I had served in the military. I replied, “Yes, I served for 14 years”.  Fancy stuck out his right hand and said, “I want to thank you for your service”.  The first one of my peers to thank me for my service in the seven years of my incarceration was someone different from myself. It dawned on me at that moment that I swore to defend ALL people’s rights – even those whose life style I knew nothing about. Then, a new door in my life was opened to a new group of people who I had overlooked in the past and now I wanted to embrace them. I wanted to learn how I could better assist in their struggles.

The gift that Fancy gave me that summer afternoon in the prison yard, I will never forget. That gift is respect, understanding and most important – love. While the germinal seed that Fancy planted in my soul continues to grow, I have made some awesome new friends along the way. The main message for all active duty military, reserves, National Guard and veterans is to remember the Oath of Enlistment and what we stand for as a people. Shon Pernice #1236421 Moberly C.C. POB 7, Moberly MO 65270

I Am Tranz

Myself, I am a male to female Tranz and though I’m proud as I can be, I’m horribly oppressed. Imagine a Tranz woman forced to live as a man. She cried herself to sleep and has covered her mirror so she doesn’t have to see the face she’s forced to wear. She is told that she’s lying about being a Tranz and is only trying to entice the men! That is my reality at The South Carolina Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program.

Somehow, this place slips by every civil rights law. I have no idea how they get away with such horrors as my LGBT family endure. I’d like to tell y’all about it, in hopes of the truth getting out: the only description I can give – disgusting! Though I insist upon proper pronoun use, I’m met with smirks and references to the gender on my birth certificate. I’m mocked by the staff to the point of me crying. I’m prohibited basic necessities such as clothes and hygiene products specified as for women. I have seen one of my Tranz sisters heavily reprimanded for simply painting her toe nails! She went to LOCKUP.

The “program” claims it is less restrictive than prison. It was very common for gay inmates to use colour pencils for make-up, yet it is aggressively prohibited in the LESS RESTRICTIVE THAN PRISON facility. In fact SCDC has begun to allow HRT [hormone replacement treatment], yet again it’s shot down here. Does their status as a “private facility” warrant such discrimination? Who do I need to ask this question?

South Carolina is the center of white, Christian conservatism in the South. This is my opinion. Anything outside of their approval window is to be mercilessly smashed! It is a constant struggle to manifest individuality and it’s exhausting. Like I said, I cry myself to sleep every night in unbearable agony. Sometimes I contemplate ending the pain permanently but I will not let my momma suffer that way. No dice, I love my mom. She supports me emotionally but just never will understand this place.

It’s just so unbelievable, you would have to listen to inmates tell it.  Nobody believes it or else don’t want to have anything to do with icky sex offender FAGGOTS. By the way, my female name is Rachel Evangelista. I adopted Mother Blanca Evangelista’s last name because I want to be like her when I grow up (Tranzform). Christopher Whaley c/o 4546 Broadriver Rd. Columbia SC 29210

It’s a Great Day to Be Alive

Sisters and Brothers. Our LGBTQI Community has many resources to help us with suicide, anxiety and depression and we need to help each other access them. These mental health issues are not to be taken lightly. In fact, they are to be taken head on.

We need to know how to seek help if we find ourselves in the struggles of depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.  It’s said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. We as a people are stronger in truth – truth in who we are as human beings! Understanding our identity gives us strength. This strength allows us to uplift, embrace, encourage, educate and nurse each other.

These are common issues. They are not Queer Plagues. We do need to understand that we as LGBTQI people, have a huge family that we can lean on for support and encouragement.

UltraViolet is one of our most valuable resources. My dear loved ones, do not think that you are alone. Know that you are loved. There are 168 hours in one week. Take 10 of those hours and invest in yourself. Work out, read self-help books, anything for self-improvement. Make friends and Build Bridges!  Steven (White Raven) Turner #128259, POB 4000, Florence AZ 85132

Congratulations and Welcome Out

Tony Justich (from Oshkosh C.I.) “Thanks 4 all your support”

Robert Curtis (from Donovan S.P.) “…once I get settled, I will write you with my new address”

Jacob Snipes (from Bertie C.I.) “…no longer incarcerated … after 17 ½ long years inside the beast!”

Jeffrey Sexton (from Daniel Unit) “Thanks!  You will be in my heart.”

Frankie Brabent (from Oshkosh C.I.) …once I’m set up on the outs, I will send you an email and some love too.”

UV Rejected

Our Summer 2021 issue was rejected  by prison authorities at Walton CI in Florida, Apparently on pages 2-3, there were dangerously inflammatory words and on page 8, an article that discussed white supremacy attitudes and privileges was deemed racist [???].

One of our subscribers incarcerated at that prison sent us the form with the comment, “seems like they gay bashing!!!” What do you think?

graphic pencil drawing
graphic by: Sal Castro #3189203, 501 The City Dr South, Orange CA 97868

Hi Everyone

By Lisa Strawn

It has been 10 months [13 now] since I got out of San Quentin. I have made it out here only because I am a fighter. So I need all to know that when you have the moments when you are tired and you want to quit, well – you can’t because we need you out here. I never had it easy and always had to fight and for now, I don’t have to fight so hard.

I’m always committed to fighting for all inside and I mean all. It isn’t just Trans and LGBTQ people. It is all. And as I go about my daily life, all of you are thought about by me. No, I’m sorry I can’t write letters. Time does not permit. But I’m always gonna be a part of UltraViolet. They are family and so are all of you.

I need to tell you that I never thought I would be free and yes, I did work hard to be free and you all must do the same; no matter what. We have those who can’t be themselves for whatever the reason and it’s for us to show that we can be who we are.

Keep the light you have shining bright and stay focused. Help those who need the help but be good to yourself, always.  Be safe everyone and you are not forgotten.

I recently saw Caitlyn Jenner at a media event. She tried to hug me and I wouldn’t. I told the press, “Just because I’m Trans doesn’t mean I roll with her. I won’t vote for her because she bashed the LGBTQ community.”

Transgender Debate

Why are we debating the validity of the Transgender movement? I think, at its most fundamental level, we are looking at and questioning the function of sex and gender. So, now the question becomes: what does it mean to be a man or woman? What does that look like in action, in practice, in the here and now daily life. The questions about our roles in society are being asked. Questions like; what does a man or woman look like? How do they act? How do they have sex? These are the questions we are really asking when we wonder: what is a man or a woman?

These are not new questions, nor is it a new conflict. The very word ‘faggot’ comes from the close association between the kindling (and the fire) used to burn queers alive. (As well as witches, pagans and heretics.) The word alone should tell us what we are dealing with.

Why would I, born male and wearing a skirt and lipstick, bother people so much? Why does what I wear matter to anyone? It does, that’s for sure. More than 46% of Americans think that gender non-conformance is an aberration, un-natural, wrong, sick, evil. That’s over half our country! Why?

We live in a culture, the ‘Dominant Culture’ that has relegated women to the level of second class citizen (or worse). Those brave few who have stepped out of bounds all through history have been both vilified/killed and celebrated, often simultaneously. The outrage is even greater when a man takes on the role of a woman. Among the People of the Book (Jewish, Christian, Moslem) if a man stepped into the role of a woman, they could expect to be put to death. As though being female was lesser and that a man demeaned the value of man-ness by being feminine!?!

To this day it is illegal to be gay in many countries. Until only a few years ago, it was illegal in this country for gay people to have sex with each other. In many states it was the legal equivalent to bestiality. WTF!! The very idea that a person knows better than God? Hell no! If God made you a man, then man up. God doesn’t make mistakes!

So to get back to the original question, the question of what defines a man or woman. It seems that the only thing that really matters is how you feel about yourself.  I have been guilty of thinking that men must be like ‘this’ and women must be like ‘that’. I didn’t know any better and as a child I accepted the lessons of the Dominant Culture. I was a man. Men don’t cry. Only women show their feelings. I couldn’t wear make-up and I certainly couldn’t like other boys! I now realize how screwed up this all was and how it caused me so much trouble. Because men do cry and women are brave and strong. The rules I applied to each gender were completely bogus. Now that I am finally allowed (finally brave enough) to express my own identity, these rules/roles are being re-visited. I am truly a girl and I am strong and that’s okay. I am not unique either.

I was a stone cold coward. What people thought of me was so much more important than how I felt about myself. It still is really because I still present as male with some of my friends and family. The fear is real. And though I know 90% of it is just fear and not actual danger, I still can’t believe it. The only reason I ever came out as “gay” was because I was so in love with someone that could not hide or deny it. I would have gladly traded all the world’s love for his. Sadly I still would.

 I share this personal and embarrassing fact about myself because I know I am not unique and I am overcoming my fears and putting myself out there so that we can all see that it’s possible to do so and to be okay. Amber AKA Gregory LaVallee #79373, POB 14, Concord NH 03301

Shorts from Inside

I just got your newsletter.  It’s nice to get an update on what is going on in the FREE WORLD. I have never seen any of my writings in any LGBTQ etc newsletters.  I am the Unheard Voice, a poem I wrote in 2020 because my voice is not heard.  Publish this if I’m wrong. Am I worth anyone’s time? Brinda Gee San Luis Obispo CA

I am fighting to have our civil rights in prison, to make a stand of who we are without them pushing us aside and to get policy changed for us to have equal rights even in a prison setting in the Nevada Prison System. Ms. Rachel Marie Carson City NV

Thank you for your informative paper. I need your help. I am a Non-Binary inmate who is bisexual and under SB#132, I am to be housed on SB #132 yard. [But] there are no Trans or non-binary’s here. Corcoran is very well known for corruption and being LGBTQ haters.  Please print this and help us that require SB#132 yards and housing and be transferred to prisons where by law we need to be. Dr. C.T. Marquette Corcoran CA

Thanks so much for publicizing the nazi-esq conditions in the Pennsylvania gulag system, We all deeply appreciate it !!!!  I’ll be 74 this year. I had 3 weeks of Adolf Trump’s covid shit and got my ‘Johnson” last month. Wish I could be out in the streets again putting my body on the line, my spirit is with all of you!!!! Please stay strong and safe. You are in my heart forever!  I’m a veteran of Days of Rage Chicago, Organizing Committee for the first NYC Anti War parade, hundreds of protests, sit-ins, smoke-ins, teach-ins etc. Love and power, C.T. Jones Houtzdale PA

I read the many letters from you who are fighting hard all over the country. You’re not alone. We’re strong and we’re everywhere. Please everyone donate a copy of any rehab info or LGBTQ info to your prison law library. When I was a law clerk at SATF in Corcoran CA, I put together a LGBTQ binder full of helpful info. Anyone can go to the library and get the help they need. H Meyers Bakersfield CA

Haaaaay. Thank you for the newspaper in a small county jail in Idaho. The scene is dead here, the paper and other LGBTQ+ outreaches is my only real enjoyment. To all the others out in there, know you are loved, adored, cherished, wanted and respected even when all the maggots around you abuse you. Remember, I’m here, you’re here, we’re all here together. Haters going to hate. But we’re always FABULOUS . Love to us all. “Dani” Potato Field USA

I received my first issue of UltraViolet and I am glad I did. I love how informative and important the issues at hand are in UV. Even the letters being written by inmates are important and can even make me look at myself. I’m writing this to let my family know that when Cupid strikes no matter where – Cherish it! Always communicate differences and don’t get mad and argue. Let that person know you love him/her. Plus, always fight for that person and what you believe in like it is the last day on earth because you’ll never know what events could alter your life forever. You don’t want to end up like me wondering what I could have done. Anyone is welcome to write me and I will write back. Wayne Walker #71630 High Desert SP, POB 650 Indian Springs NV 89070

I’m writing because I’m getting released in September and reading all of the stories from Transwomen helped me come out as Trans. I’ve officially been diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria and I’m soon to start hormone therapy. I’ve hidden being Trans since I was 8 and when I came out, I was 25. The great people of UV have been great and I plan on keeping in touch. Thank you so much. M Hopkins St Louis MI

Let me tell you that I am a radical egalitarian who hates social injustice in all its many myriad of forms. In fact, I stand four square against the whole system of authoritarian government and corporate capitalist plutocracy, not to mention fanatical and dogmatic religious intolerance.  In short, I hate, hate everything that’s wrong with America (or is that Amerika?) and the entire world. Anyway, because I know you comrades at LAGAI share my views on these issues, I must express my deepest love for your cause and your newspaper. AN Rea Suffield CT

Some good news! I finally got the BOP to recognize me as transgender because they’d moved me from FCI Big Springs to FCI Texarkana.  The staff here are sooo much better. Thank you for your great organization! I hope y’all are doing well in this time of global turmoil. Take care, Have Fun and Be Safe. C Parson Texarkana TX

Janice in CO said, “Thanks you for your newsletter and all that you do.”

I was just transferred to Ashland FCI. We have a large LGBTQ community here and three transgender females that I have embraced and mentored already. I will gladly and proudly share your newspaper with everyone. We also have a large LGBTQ section in our book library which makes me proud. D Pizac Ashland KY

Shout out to all my trans sisters and brothers nationwide. This hole is hard. No books, No pillow, 1 bar of state soap to shower within a week. I have no clue when I’ll get out of the hole. UltraViolet, you provide a much needed informational front. On one hand, I can wear my gender affirming underclothes but on the other hand, I can’t shave in the hold so my dysphoria is super bad. I also feel like I let my sisters down by being put in the hole. Everyone keep your head up during this crazy covid time. I got my vaccine, did you get yours? M Handlang Charleston MO

Each day is a battle to love myself and ignore the inner critic. Among the myriad stigmas and issues we face and the struggle to simply love me for me, the guards can make an already sad place even tougher. Today my spirits have been lifted as I turn the pages of UltraViolet and ralize I am not alone. Thank you for all you do to advance our communities. Love always, Allena Richie Hondo TX

Author: lagai

LAGAI-Queer Insurrection is one of the oldest radical queer liberation groups in the U.S. We publish UltraViolet, a more or less bimonthly newspaper, which is mailed free of charge to over 1500 people, including over 800 prisoners. Our website is www.lagai.org.

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