I gave a short speech the other day in which I explained to a large room of people what happens to inmates when they come to prison. We hear so much hype about prison before we get here that we end up arming and armouring ourselves. Physically and figuratively.

My whole point was to explain to everyone that if we are holding a figurative sword and shield we cannot hold a hammer and nail. Or any other tool for that matter. Its impossible, you must first lay something down.

If you imagine a home or building behind you. This is a representation of you. In whatever condition your in at the moment. Maybe its a mansion, maybe its a shack barely standing. But inside you harbor all your secrets. All your “stuff.” That’s what we all defend or protect. Even you who are not incarcerated.

As inmates its vital we feel safe in our environment. Prison gangs and cars must be dismantled in order for a secure place to be established. When anyone feels threatened that threat becomes the only thing the brain processes. Its hardwired into us, remember fight or flight? Hard to concentrate on drug addiction when your busy looking for threats…

Our LGBT community is no different. Out there in the free world and in here. So many people have experienced trauma, rejection, fear etc that they are in constant survival mode. Always scanning the horizon for the next threat or potential threat. The more we do this the more “stuff” we accumulate in our building. 

So how do we change our environment to one that is no longer threatening? We set our standard of living. When we deal with people we let them know what we expect. More important than that though is love. 

You reap what you sow. If you go into your community, workplace, grocery store, walk ways and show love, then you will receive that back. Now if two people do that, it will become infectious to even those that are outsiders. You will change the climate of your community. It is possible!

With Love
Jeff Utnage