About 7 years ago I began reaching out into the community by writing letters to LGBT organizations. I wrote hundreds of letters at first, then thousands. Out of thousands of letters I got single response in all these years, one…

It was from a man named Scott, he attended All Pilgrims Christian Church in Seattle and the letter I wrote was addressed to the church as a whole asking for LGBT christian guidance, I was really struggling with my faith back then. This man has turned up to be a great friend but the church is what threw me off. I felt connected to the church because out of the thousands of letters I wrote, God returned one. I was fine with that because I just wanted a friend to talk about God with who understood what it was like to be LGBT and a devout Christian. So I began tithing to them, because I wanted too. The church never accepted my money despite me explicitly giving it to them, they always made sure it went to Scott. To me, it was plain and simple rejection.

Fast forward to today and the exact same feelings I faced back then I still face today. Only today I have grown so much I’m hardly recognizable, my approach to life has dramatically changed. But my loneliness still remains, that hasn’t changed and neither has the fact that lost faith in the LGBT community years ago.

Its not like I think I’m owed anything, but I thought the LGBT community was all about solidarity and support, isn’t the Seattle Pride theme this year something about the Stonewall Uprising? Let’s have a big ole parade to commemorate a group of people who understood what community actually meant because without one another, they wouldn’t have survived, while barely acknowledging our existence in here. Once a year a few representatives grace us with their presence and we are supposed to be grateful, like starving dogs who lick the masters hand who both starves us and feeds us just enough to not allow us to die.

You want to know the truth? What I really think? This whole time I have given my peers in and out of prison every ounce of love I have to give. No boyfriends, no girlfriends, and every word I spoke was to lift up my community whether incarcerated or not. I eat, sleep, and bleed for the LGBT community and always will…but you know who has given me the emotional support all these years to love a community who has turned their back on me? Straight people.

They are the ones who pat my head as a cry into their shoulders and embrace me warmly when I shake. They are the ones who say “I love you Ruth” and I can feel they mean it, I mean feel it to my soul. Its straight people who have no reason to love me other than they are just loving people who make time for me to say “I am having a bad day” (Thank God for Mothers…) and “I just wanted to tell someone I am having a great day”.

I am not bitter, but disappointed. I really need my community, I am hurting and so lonely for visitors and letters that I have to send out requests for people to write me, “Hey, would you mind sending me a reply to any of the messages I’ve sent you…I just want to make sure this email stuff works…” I flat out stopped listening for mail call years ago, haven’ t gotten anything personal from anyone but my mother and a super cool lady from Canada in years. I just feel foolish sitting in our day room waiting to hear my name get called and never hearing it at all and when I do its usually around Christmas when a bunch of people send me cards with the same return address that isn’t interested in my reply. I don’t even open them anymore.

I’ve lost faith in the LGBT community’s ability to come together and offer the emotional support that is still needed. I’ve been begging for years and now my pride is telling me to get off my knees.

So thank you, straight community for doing what the LGBT community refuses, inclusion.

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With Love
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

Mail To:
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage 823469 D-610-2
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

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DOC: 823469
Name: Utnage, Jeff (though I am legally Ruth)

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