Do you know what that looks like? Have you ever stared hatred in the face and understood that you are powerless to change their mind? In here I am a circus freak, a side show that bigot minded men can’t help but stare at. I know they hate my confidence. They talk to each other about how I don’t know my place. The truth about hate is ugly and its not dead. What they all fail to realize is that I do know my place, right beside them. 

The LGBTQ community is among the most hated today in and out of prison. The difference is that in prison I have nowhere to go but the hole for protection. I cant just walk away, leave. I have to smile, excuse myself non-aggressively and walk away leaving them satisfied with public ridicule just to protect myself. 

Hatred has many faces my friends. Its crafty, a formidable foe. I deal with it as many before me have. There simply is not another choice but to understand that I cannot change, my nature is a homo-sexual man. The truth is I can deny my nature, and believe me when I say it led me here. I have changed my unhealthy and negative ways and taken full responsibility for my actions. Those who hate want me to live under that tyranny for ever, I refuse. One day I will be free, when I am free I will NOT be that pitiable, selfish and hateable monster they all want me to be.

I am not my past and neither are you. I am worthy of love, so are you. We have been down some dark roads haven’t we? Yet we don’t even know each other. Know that when I am hated I look to you and smile. Know that you can too. Smile back brothers and sisters because we are pretty, and smiling defies hate. You defeat hate with love. I love you all.

In prison there is a distinct lack of support for the gay community. We are seen as a cancer, a disease to be cured. We are separated and it is just assumed that where we are promiscuity and dishonor are as well. I have been trying to organize a very basic support group and it is being ignored. I have had to fight these very preconceived notions from the start. In fact, some staff still laughs at the idea of a LGBT support group. As if our concerns are tiny compared to theirs. 

Do not neglect those in prison. One day we will be out, among you and you should hope to God that we received help. This is a way to help each other in a very deep rooted level, emotional support. When we take the time to address ourselves among our own, we tend to not be sleeping around or drug addicts. We want to be positive resources for our communities, at least I do. I am fighting for my future and I want to fight for my communities future. In here is the front lines, it is still acceptable to segregate, men still glory in hatred here. 

A simple way to help, a support group. Yet its so scary that I am ignored. Can anyone help? I’ve written the mayor, all staff at my prison have heard my requests, yet I am forgotten. 

Please help, I am not giving up on me. I am worth investment because I won’t allow my community to suffer. I will continue to fight for us in here for rehabilitation. Because we all deserve it. It will start with men seeking support from one another in a positive and healthy environment and manner. Which a basic support system that meets regularly we can identify our needs and address them systematically. What is so scary about that. DOC (Department of Corrections) does not know how to help us. So I will help them identify our unique circumstances and challenges…GASP! I know, its unbelievable I care and am unwilling to submit to failure or our current topic: hate. 

Thank you for listening. 

Your brother in chains,

Jeff Utnage

Feel free to contact.