Making Hatred Uncool:
I was discussing with a friend last night (he is straight) what the LGBTQ community in prison goes through. One of the things that I touched on was bullying and how to stop it. It’s one thing to point out the obvious, gays are targeted in prison for several reasons, but it’s another to also bring to the table a remedy.
He observed that in the last 15 years the gay movement has taken leaps and bounds towards sociological acceptance. No one can deny that. Then I began to think about what it would take to bring DOC up to speed as well. I look at it this way, the societal standard is LGBTQ acceptance. It is ok for a gay couple to marry and to live life openly and positively. Why is it not ok in prison? I am not talking about having marital relations with other inmates, I am talking about us being out in prison as well and not be targeted because of it.
Something that I hear all the time is “it’s for your own safety” which is a big crock. It’s not for our safety, its for DOC’s ease of care. If we are hiding then we do not have to be dealt with like the other minority groups here. My question is this, we come to prison to be corrected. While we are here we must correct negative behavior and learn to live appropriately among the outside world and conform to current societal standards (in a loose sense). If this is the case then why is DOC allowing segregation and not putting an end to the flawed thought that one person is better then another because of genetic differences. In other words, why is it ok to hate me? More importantly, why wont DOC do anything about it.
I don’t just bring up the problem without a solution either. There needs to be an aggressive approach to this over a long period of time. One that involved stages and a campaign of dedicated inmates and staff. We have learned that the anti-smoking campaigns aimed at teenagers is highly effective, why though? It has made it uncool to smoke, across the US it is no longer the societal “norm” to be a smoker, its now considered disgusting and for good reason, btw. So why can’t that same approach be done with LGBTQ bullying? It could start with simple things like intolerance on staff’s part when they hear vile comments aimed at degrading homosexuals. Which happen frequently, and if anyone throws a fit about it, what’s the problem, your right to hate is being infringed upon..oh well, sorry ’bout that, not sorry.
There is all kinds of things you could throw in there that would aggressively end the LGBTQ hate. It would take time, like all things but it would at least get the ball rolling and give people something to cling to, some hope. I have been so angry with administration for just flat out ignoring my suggestions of a peer support group. They aren’t officially ignoring me, they are passively putting me off as long as possible, why? I have no idea, but they are. While my proposal sits on the Superintendents desk unanswered (in fact they haven’t even contacted my sponsor, and she is on the compound!) the Superintendent is asking for proposals for programs! What is that all about? How about dealing with the current proposals…just a thought.
In the meantime we are suffering needlessly. We can help each other out to deal with these problems in here. There are problems that are unique to homosexuals and LGBTQ in prison, as recent studies show we are 6X more likely to be raped then straight men in prison, I will spare you all numbers I know…I live them. And what happens when an incident does happen? My anger will rise yet further because I have tools to prevent men from getting in those situations in the first place, and I came up with a venue to get that message out there and I have been totally ignored…no one taking the threat seriously that there is dangerous men here who are willing to cross those lines when the opportunity arises…obviously because they are here. What needs to happen, how about this, give me a chance to prove it works!