Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2-19-2016


I stood by the bathroom and waited. There were four of them standing inside the little room talking. I politely stood outside and waited for a few to clear out so I could use the place. Two came out and another stood inside looking out through the window at me smiling. I didn't know him. He had tried to speak to me several times and I all but ignored him. His presence always made me feel uncomfortable. It was something about him that spoke to my instinct, every fiber of my being told me to stay clear and I did.
He stood there smiling and then turned around to use one of the three stalls. I had been standing there waiting politely for a few minutes now and had to urinate badly. So against my better judgement I went in anyway. There were three stalls, the end one was being used by a muslim, he was sitting down, the other (the smiling one) was urinating in the closest one to the door. This left me the middle one. I almost turned around and waited again but thought; were all men and this is prison, we should all be used to this kind of exposure and I have never come across as a peeping tom or sexually advancing to anyone. So I stepped in the middle stall and that's when he spoke.
He said "uh-oh" and the sitting man, whom I could see because there are no stall dividers curled himself up on the toilet as small as he could to hid as much skin as possible and the other began making lewd comments about fags in bathrooms and chuckling to himself. I struggled to finish now because for some reason I was embarrassed. I felt my cheeks turn red from shame and felt I had done something wrong that implied I had encroached on them and not a public space. That man was successful in making me feel ashamed when all I was doing was peeing, in the only place I could. There are no other bathrooms to use, only that one. He had set it up like that to intentionally embarrass me, intentionally waiting just so that he could create an awkward situation and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing. I had no idea what was about to happen in there, there were several men in there at first one of which was significantly larger then me and smiling at me. I boldly went in there because I can't...won't live in fear.
Out of the possibilities that could have happened in that bathroom I left there with the least noticeable of them. After all it was just my pride that was hurt, but it just as well could have been something much more serious. And what could I have done? 
So I left there when I was finished and was angry that he had done that. My nerves were shaken and my body tense. I went back to my work area and was kind of suspended in thought. Unsure if I should tell anyone at all, they would not understand anyway. They would tell me I was over-reacting or something. Maybe I was over-reacting? Perhaps, but after I just couldn't shake the anger I went to a fellow worker and explained what had happened. I tried to confide in a straight man who proclaimed to protect the weak among his people. He told me that should have expected that and that after all, I was gay.
What the hell does that mean? The other guys malice was my fault? 

And people wonder why I beg for a support group to confide in. I tried to confide in a straight man and was completely embarrassed again. I can't wait to finally get some support.

With Love, stay strong fellow LGBTQ family! Don't let anyone treat you badly.

Jeff Utnage

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