Ultra Violet – Fall 2021

(download .pdf of UltraViolet – Fall 2021)

IN THIS ISSUE

WITCHELM Drops Condoms, Abortion Pills on Texas
Events
-March for Our Reproductive Rights
Gay Shame Guillotines Honeybear
-Gay Shame’s leaflet
Patricia Maginnis
Close Prisons, Not Change Them
Finding focus, the need to know, and the Parade of Horribles
VISION Act Delayed
ON EMT HATE
Prisoners submissions
-Supporting and Defending the Rights of Others
-I Am Tranz
-It’s a Great Day to Be Alive
-Congratulations and Welcome Out
-UV Rejected
-Hi Everyone
-Transgender Debate
-Shorts from Inside
Twenty Years Since 9/11: Who’s Safer? Afghanistan, 9/11 and No End to History
UESF Supports BDS!
The MOCHA Column
Free our Sister, Free Ourselves, Free Abortion on Demand (1969-1970 chant outside NYC Women’s House of Detention)

WITCHELM Drops Condoms, Abortion Pills on Texas

photo illustration

In the wee hours of September 11, 2021, two planes appeared out of nowhere in the skies above El Paso and Houston, Texas. As terrified spectators fled and shrieked, two mushroom clouds drifted toward the ground. Upon impact, the parachutes burst open, revealing millions of condoms and doses of Plan B (emergency contraception) and the mifepristone-misoprostol combination popularly known as RU486.

A tornado-like vortex created by the departing vessels blew the bounty far and wide, and shrieks of fear turned to whoops of joy as women stuffed the anti-pregnancy charms into bras, purses and pockets.

Also plucked from the winds (but miraculously not finding their way into any bodies of water) were copies of a leaflet proclaiming:

Greetings Siblings:

We, the Women’s Intergallactic Troglodyte Conspiracy to Harbor Extraterrestrial Little Monsters (WITCHELM) have heard your cries for freedom and come bearing gifts. May your lives be joyful and all your children be chosen, and may the revolution come speedily in our day.

Live Long and Prosper.

P.S. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 666666, Planet XX, Andromeda Galaxy VIVIVI

Events

March for Our Reproductive Rights

Saturday, October 2, 2021

11:00 AM  12:30 PM

Line up at Grove & Hyde St, near Civic Center Area
March will be down Market Street to Embarcdero

There will be NO rally or speakers before or after the march

Masks will be Required

Practice Social Distancing

Bring your family, friends, signs, water, mask, check the weather and dress with layers and comfy shoes

#ProChoice #MarchForOurRights #MarchForReproductiveJustice

Finding focus, the need to know, and the Parade of Horribles

By Lisa

I’m not sure when I first learned the phrase “parade of horribles” but long enough ago that I didn’t realize it isn’t something everyone says.  In legalese it means a cascade of bad results that could happen in the future if one decision is made now. But it is mostly used when the actual effects of a decision are largely unknown, not when the effects are predictable.  It is, in short, a way of deflecting the real meaningful discussion by introducing a lot of speculative bad things that could happen but are entirely unknown.  We have seen a lot of this in the struggle for LGBTQI and BIPOC rights . . . the queers will be the end of procreation, or worse, they will procreate and make all queer children…. a pride parade will undermine community morals… Queer teachers will corrupt their students, queer marriage will undermine the value of straight marriage, trans people using bathrooms or even existing will cause the end of the world or lesbians or something.

And of course we are seeing it with climate change and covid vaccines.  Rather than a rational transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy that includes conservation, efficiency and community control, the giant corporations are insisting it has to be done their way with massive industrial projects and, oh by the way, the corporations will still keep drilling for oil and gas and burning fossil fuels for more energy and plastics to pollute all the lands and waters, because if you don’t let us do that the AC might go out on a hot summer day or you won’t have a plastic bag for your groceries or even a plastic tube for your IV when you get to the hospital with your climate induced asthma. I won’t even try to explain the parade of horribles that has been concocted to dissuade people from taking vaccines— magnetism being just the latest one I heard (shesh, these people should wish they had some magnetism!). 

A parade of horribles is not easy to counter directly, because it is hard to prove a negative, but it can be countered by going to the source of the issue and not getting distracted by the parade. The real horribles are already in progress, the collapse of ecosystems and extinction of species across the globe and the suffering of people for corporate greed—but the corporate cronies keep trying to distract us from real solutions with the parade.

I’ve been thinking a lot about finding focus because I keep losing it these days. It is not just the constant emails at work but also the itch to check on the latest wildfires and whether they are contained, check the air quality near me to see if I can go out for a walk or have to close all the windows and turn on an air filter, check if the supreme court has taken away more rights today, see whether having a late period or a miscarriage can get a person jailed or fined, see how many more indigenous environmental activists have been killed or jailed, see if Biden or Haaland has listened to the Line 3 protesters yet (dream on), find out if more dead grey whales are washing up on the west coast (12 in the SF Bay area as of June this year), if the idiotic border wall is falling down or being put back up to destroy more habitat and people’s lives, if it is legal to be queer in any of the states of america, or to see how many more queers are being killed in other countries.  I count myself lucky that I am not drawn down the rabbit hole of other people’s lives on line  — what they ate for dinner (with photo), where they went, what annoys them, what they did today— but I do admit to “following” some artist friends to see what they drew/painted/sculpted/assembled recently and some chefs for dinner inspiration. It is truly endless this “firehose” of information. (Another interesting phrase, if a bit gruesome, “drinking from a firehose” means trying to absorb too much information at once but to me it sounds painful and resonates of civil rights activists being assaulted by police with high pressure water from a fire hose.)

Ultimately I am wondering why I have this wide-ranging need to know so much? Why can’t I limit my questions to the local air quality and Covid restrictions that affect my immediate daily life? Which brings me to the confusing phrase “need to know”—in the legal world, corporate boardrooms, and espionage or spy thrillers this means that only a few people who really need to know something should have the information—but the phrase also rings the other way—the need to know everything one can, right now, immediately. The second meaning tracks with the availability of huge amounts of information available nearly instantaneously for many people and the itch to know it all, now. I’m still trying to parse out what this means for me on a daily basis—what is the “need” or is it a “want” and really what do I “know” after reading all the news and tweets and grams? No answers yet, just more questions.

Gay Shame Guillotines Honeybear

By Tory

The Artists Television Access is a refreshingly funky, displacement surviving, Mission SF storefront, which donates window space to activists, one month at a time. In August, Gay Shame installed a life sized lurid golden cloth-stuffed facsimile of a headless honey bear, complete with guillotine, decapitated head and silky scarlet material to evoke a sea of blood. The window was accented with a lettered message, an acronym for Gay Shame, Guillotine All Yimbys Since Honeybears Always Mean Eviction.

photo of Gay Shame installation

This Gay Shame action was done collectively with informational leafleting, on the busy Valencia Street, now an obstacle course of outside eating tabernacles and crowds of pallid techies streaming by. The focus was to call out displacement, gentrification evictions and the role of the insidious faux-artist-cum-entrepreneur fncch, who has made a mint off of populating the windows of market rate condos with various versions of honey bear posters. Not even worth mentioning in their extreme banality, they are racist (i.e one with dreads called the Basquiat honey bear), culturally appropriative (a rainbow bear), and just plain saccharine (the covid masked honey bear).

fnnch, a loathsome arrogant whiteboy was confronted last April by local San Franciscans outside the lgbt center in front of an appalling rainbow mural of honey bears commissioned by the center, calling him out for his contribution to displacement and the whitewashing and disappearing the true local SF art culture. Fnnch, who is not even gay, was caught on video proclaiming his unctuous entitlement because he is an ”immigrant from Missouri.” Gay Shame’s installation was even more timely as it coincided with fncch’s announced honey bear deal with williams sonoma kitchenware chain on a line of plates, aprons and T-shirts.

This public Gay Shame action, much to our delight, caused quite a flap on social media and was covered in the San Francisco Chronicle and SFist. Excitingly  the SFGate art writer deemed the storefront display to be art, while proclaiming fnnch not art! fnnch called Gay Shame murderers – a bit extreme, we thought, as we had only decapitated a newspaper stuffed honey bear. YIMBYs roared in outrage on twitter. (YIMBY you might remember stands for yes in my backyard. They are a vocal front and marketing strategy for developers insidiously calling themselves “housing activists”.) They espouse increased housing density and the building of high-rise market rate condos, pushing the spurious notion that more housing for rich people will trickle down to housing for low income people. We all know how well trickle down reganomics worked for poor people. YIMBY ideology/displacement is decimating neighborhoods, displacing people, causing widespread evictions.

The Gay Shame action is an example of how creative street theater done by a small number of revolutionaries can sometimes have a significant impact. 

Gay Shame’s leaflet:

fnnch’s “cute art” is not the innocent beautification of the urban landscape; its autonomy as art-for-art’s-sake, illusory and deceptive. It’s all a public relations smokescreen disguising dispossession, displacement, and destruction that benefits investors, developers, and other capitalists (AKA YIMBYs, the State’s BFFs).

Artwashing is a direct product of the complicity of people like fnnch and his fans[/stans] in the weaponization of art by real estate interests. They do this to increase property values, which forces out low-income renters of color, many of them trans or queer. We have seen it in Boyle Heights in LA; we have seen it across Manhattan, NY; we have seen it around the world, displacing tenants and houseless people with skyrocketing rents and evictions, while delivering prime real estate to developers. We see it now in the beady gaze of each Honey Bear peering out the window of a techie’s flipped TIC, each koi fish spray-painted on a sidewalk in front of hostile architecture, each mural decorating privately-owned, gated parklets built on “public” stolen Ramaytush Ohlone land.

Gay Shame says enough. Off with their heads!

Patricia Maginnis

photo

Patricia Maginnis died August 30. She was 93 and had lived a long life of fighting for every woman’s right to control her own body and her own destiny. Also known as Patricia, God The Mother, Pat was the quintessential sacrilegious anti-catholic.  She wanted more than reform, she wanted a whole system overhaul.  Pat was a laboratory technician and one of the founders of the Society for Humane Abortion (SHA) in 1962 in San Francisco. Lana Phelan and Rowena Gurner were the other members of the “Army of Three.”

The SHA sought to repeal abortion laws, endorse elective abortions, and offer women any resources it could in the meantime. These resources would come to include “the List,” an up-to-date directory of safe abortion specialists outside the country, classes on DIY abortions, and symposia where sympathetic doctors could confer with each other about the safest and best abortion techniques. More than that, the SHA was the very first American organization to advocate a pro-choice position that centered the woman, instead of the legal dilemmas of the physician—specifically, her right to privacy and choice. Rejecting the gatekeeping protocols, the committees and evaluations and red tape, the only question anyone should ask prior to approving an abortion was a simple one: whether the woman wanted it or not.

In her 20’s, Pat joined the Women’s Army Corps and was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina until she was spotted walking with a black soldier: The captain told her she was setting a bad example for other young white women and she was shipped off to Panama as punishment.

During those two years in Central America, she experienced a different kind of discrimination. She’d trained as a surgical technician, but she was assigned to the pediatrics and obstetrics wards. There, she was exposed to women suffering from botched abortions, women being forced to give birth, infants with terrible abnormalities. What she didn’t get in surgical experience, she got in perspective. “A general overview of the status of women,” Pat said in an interview with Slate in 2018. “And I wasn’t at all happy with it.”

In 1967, the DA of San Mateo County threatened to arrest anyone disseminating information about abortion so the “Army of Three” immediately scheduled classes on abortion rights. Pat and Rowena were arrested, convicted and sent to jail. Their conviction was overturned in 1973.

Alternative newspapers called her “the Che Guevara of abortion reformers.” Her ideas certainly went beyond the calls for incremental reform made by establishment groups like Planned Parenthood.

Once the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that women had a constitutional right to abortion, Pat rechanneled her activism to other issues, including gay rights and animal welfare. She also staged regular protests against the Catholic Church, criticizing its anti-abortion policies and demanding accountability in cases of sexual abuse by priests. Kate remembers seeing Pat, already in her 80’s, standing in front of the Cathedral of the Light in Oakland handing out pamphlets with her own funny and slightly lewd cartoons.

Tory says, “I remember doing abortion clinic defense in Oakland with Pat God The Mother Maginnis in the 1990’s.  One particular time I took a flying leap spectacularly breaking my wrist, in an effort to defend someone trying to access the clinic from an evil anti abortion fanatic.  Ever after that when I ran into Pat for many years, she always inquired after my wrist, fussing over me, treating me with revered respect for being a fallen soldier in the battle to save abortion.”

Barbara Hoke, an old friend of Pat said, “A precious friend and Feminist icon is gone. Patricia T Maginnis gave her all in the fight for women’s freedom, worked in the trenches protecting animals, fought racism and homophobia, lived a consistently righteous life with humor that brought the haters to their knees. The world is less friendly without you, Pat.”

graphic
cartoons by Patricia Maginnis

Close Prisons, Not Change Them

Senate Bill 132, The Transgender Respect, Agency and Dignity Act, legislation that allows incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex people to request to be housed and searched consistent with their gender identity became effective Jan. 1, 2021. SB 132 supports the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) efforts to provide a safe, humane, respectful and rehabilitative environment for the incarcerated transgender, non-binary and intersex community.

photo of Black Trans protestors

Trans women are historically more vulnerable to arrest and incarceration, due to a higher likelihood of unemployment and poverty and to discriminatory laws. California still has legislation on the books that allows police to arrest Trans women for walking on the street. Readers of UltraViolet are very aware that Trans people in prison experience particularly high rates of discrimination and violence, often at the hands of corrections officers. Trans people face incidents of sexual assault 13 times higher than that of straight inmates, according to a 2007 study from the University of California at Irvine.

Laws like California’s have also recently been passed in Connecticut and Massachusetts. These laws operate in accordance with the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which states that decisions about housing an inmate cannot be based solely on their genitalia, and requires that an incarcerated person’s views on their own personal safety must be seriously considered.

The number of people in California prisons is 99,537. There are 1,274 incarcerated people who self-identify as transgender or have symptoms of gender dysphoria; this number also includes intersex people and those who identify as gender non-conforming or non-binary. By May, 261 had applied for a transfer and 21 have been approved. No one, so far, has been outright rejected, but only 4 have actually been transferred.

SB 132 comes in the midst of an epidemic of violence against transgender people, in particular Trans women. 2020 was the most deadly year on record for Trans people, of which at least half were Black or Latinx women. And 2021 seems to be another dangerous year for Trans people, both in terms of physical attacks and legislative ones. The real answer is not more laws, good or bad. The real answer is to CLOSE THE PRISONS!

FREE THEM ALL!

VISION Act Delayed

graphic

Excerpted from the ICE Out of California coalition

September 10, 2021

The VISION Act, a bill to end the prison-to-deportation pipeline will return next year

Late Friday night the CA State Senate made the VISION Act, AB 937 by Asm. Wendy Carrillo, a two-year bill. The broadly-supported bill is expected to resume moving through the legislative process in January of 2022, and advocates are planning sustained efforts across the state to continue building momentum for the proposal.

While the VISION Act maintained backing from a majority of Democratic Senators, a handful of legislators reneged on their commitment to support in the wake of a misleading attack from a small number of police lobby groups, sparking at least four community-led protests in Orange County, Vallejo, Los Angeles, and Riverside. Advocates will continue to educate members of the legislature on the urgent need to uphold equality under the law.

Unfortunately, the delay in passing the bill will give extra time for prison officials and the predatory practices of police like San Mateo County sheriff Bolanos who will continue to collaborate with ICE.  A recent poll found that 80% agree that regardless of what country a person was born in, they should be released from prison into their community once their sentence is completed and not transferred to abusive and deadly ICE detention.

Abolish ICE!

For more info: www.iceoutofca.org and #VISIONAct

ON EMT HATE

by Clio Reese Sady

I have a diagnosis of Bipolar I with psychosis. When I’m manic and psychotic it’s like living in a dream world where you suddenly aren’t wearing shoes or socks. And pretty soon after the shoes are gone the cops or paramedics appear.

I developed a hatred for ambulances after the first time I was 5150ed. 5150 is California code for involuntary psychiatric hold. Being restrained in the back of an ambulance transformed how I saw the vehicles. Having EMTs threaten to force me to wear a spit hood really put me off emergency workers. My hatred of police had a firm hold since long before experiences being locked up on mental health. But after my first 5150 I’d stare at ambulances out the window and know they were hunting crazy people to lock away.

I can hear all the exceptions and defenses of EMTs cascading in my own mind. But I knew what I knew. There is nothing you can say that will get them to let you go once that switch has been flipped. The mouse trap that starts with losing your shoes and ends at John George Psychiatric Pavilion.

So I’ll hear the wail of a siren and remember being strapped down, remember the nurse who shoved his thumb into my jaw in a pain-compliance hold that electrified me into stillness, and seethe with EMT hate.

In the aftermath of a manic episode, it is easy to backslide on all the conclusions I arrived at during psychosis. The shame washes over my experiences and the overwhelming gravitational pull toward “they were just trying to help” drags me backwards. Maybe the nurses are burnt out, maybe the EMTs have vicarious trauma.

But if I am true to my manic psychotic self, if I keep my eyes open underwater here’s what I see: potentially deadly chemical restraint administered with impunity in concert with police. EMTs physically forcing neurodivergent  people into so-called treatment. The technologies of coercion: gurneys, straps, spit hoods, sedatives.

I want a vision of abolition that refuses forced psychiatric holds. Healing based on treatment on demand. An understanding of the carceral that includes psych wards and hospitals. An end to systems designed to punish and isolate strange behavior. Healing spaces that aren’t designed for social control. A world without police. 

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