I have this bracelet. It’s thin and flimsy and doesn’t like to stay together very well. In fact, i’m always having to readjust it to make sure it doesn’t catch on things and just tear apart. But, it’s a rainbow bracelet. You know, the rainbow flag colors; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. Those colors for me represent freedom.

In fact, you could let me out of here today and if I couldn’t express myself as a gay man, I wouldn’t feel freedom. In here I have no real option for expression. Our clothes are khaki and white, shoes are white or black, walls are gray and white, every electronic is clear…no complaints here though. I dont need to be different from everyone else. I already am. 

That is, until a friend of mine was talking about his little rainbow bracelet he wanted for his birthday. How juvenile I thought. Just the fact that he was wanting something for his birthday was a little off, but then he was asking for a bracelet?? Accessorizing in prison! What! You can’t do that. But then I decided to make one for myself. I figured that I would just wear it for an hour or two then take it off when I caught to much heat for wearing it. 

Then something strange happened. I liked it, I found myself fidgeting with it. I became proud of it. I worry it’s going to break, or get taken. It is like an old blanket that warms me in my dark times. As I go through this dismal place where everyone looks for an in to just rip you to pieces, this stupid little bracelet brings me right back to me. It’s a symbol of my freedom, my ability to accept me.

It’s funny how something so small and ridiculous can change your outlook. Lately I have been very depressed. This little, thin piece of jewelry helps me to remember that I may have come to prison and have a potential life sentence, but I came to prison and found myself. That is priceless and I am so thankful. I hate myself for my crime, but I am so glad that I came here. This reminds me of what I have gained by coming here. It reminds me of that man that I am currently. Not the man that I was. Why I have changed, who I have changed for and who stands to gain the most. 

So, this little bracelet is a friend to me, sounds stupid and ridiculous. I know, believe me I know. But it’s true. One simple way that I can express my sexuality that doesn’t make people uncomfortable, doesn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t defile my body, doesn’t compromise my morals…

I hope that everyone finds there little rainbow bracelet in life and I hope that I find scores more. Thanks for listening. As always, feel free to contact me. You can contact me in the following ways:

jpay.com enter in my name and add to my contact list Jeff Utnage 823469 



Jeff Utnage 823469
stafford creek correction center
191 constantine way
aberdeen, WA 98520