Just To Excited! My First Pride Event Ever!
It is no secret how excited I am about my community. By community I mean you guys, LGBTQPAIGQQ! Your my peeps! So as Stafford Creeks first LGBTQ cultural event gets put together I am anxiety ridden but in the best possible way. In fact, its 4:45 a.m. and I’ve been up since 3:30. Here is why:
Yesterday I had two Diversity Event members ( Diversity is a group of inmates who volunteer to plan, promote and stage cultural diversity events, before this year it was European, Spanish, Asian/Pacific Islander and African American heritage. This year SCCC has included 8 more nationally recognized topics, like LGBTQ) come to me all excited to let me know that they are officially planning the event and wanted to include me somehow. I can’t express how excited I am, its kept me up nearly all night.
What surprises me most is the range of people that are getting involved. Even more exciting is their own sense of ownership of the topic. Which makes me happy because my goal isn’t to be treated different, but equal. As it stands right now most who oppose LGBTQ for whatever reason are “fine with it so long as its not shoved down my throat”. This is a quote from a corrections officer who asked me what Intersex was after receiving an email about it. He was upset about the email saying he didn’t appreciate the propaganda because of his beliefs. So me, being the understanding gentlemen that I am, proceeded to “Flame On!” This is good because it starts the conversation on acceptance of my differences. Equality doesn’t mean that you never have to interact with me. Which is what is expected, “Well, I’m fine with gays so long as I don’t have to be around them”. This attitude is unrealistic and bigoted. This is why this event is necessary though. Because both inmates and staff have to come to terms with their environment. When I told the same group of corrections officers that they have found a genetic link in homosexuals he was almost offended. Shooting question after question at me like “so I can be tested for this?”. Which I can see his point. I am happy to report though that this group of guys is something I deal with every single day. I am used to being interrogated about LGBTQ topics and having to listen as hearts pour forth. Patiently and intently. 
Now I’m so excited because at the event, at least, I don’t have to explain anything. I can just be. I don’t have to defend against anything, I don’t have to stand there and hold my feelings as insult after insult gets thrown like stones. I get to go to a place where I can feel safe and among friends. So even though its kept me up half the night I am incredibly excited about the future and that’s a good feeling.

With Love
Jeff Utnage 823469