Thursday, July 28, 2016

Is there anybody out there.....uh oh, I just aged myself.

Hi my name is Valerie and I am Jeff's mom. I read thru his posts and my heart breaks. He is so lonely for contact from ANYONE on the outside. But most especially from his community. I have only known Jeff was gay for about the last year or so, but alot of you know exactly how he feels, and he is DESPERATELY looking for someone who completely understands his feelings to communicate with him. He is a good friend, he is very thoughtful and caring and my heart breaks for his loneliness.

So, if there is anybody out there.....someone who can hear him.......please leave a comment for him or more importantly, please write to him. He laughs alot, he smiles alot, but a mother knows when her child is lonely, and he is very lonely. He needs more than his momma.

Thank you for taking the time to read his blogs, they are alot of work for me, but I hope they are helpful to Jeff and his cause, and to anyone reading his blogs.

Please write.

Jeff Utnage 823469
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

or email using, that's the only DOC approved email system for inmates.

Fundamentals Of Helping: You Have To Meet Them Where They're At

Have you ever tried to help someone and they don't want your kind of help. You can see they need something specific to be healthy, but they're asking for something that will be unhealthy. Just to be clear, here's an example: John Doe needs drug treatment and mental health trauma counseling in a therapeutic environment. So you reach out to him with this in mind. However, your shocked when John Doe asks you for money instead. You know he doesn't need money, he needs treatment. So you two are at a stalemate. Ultimately, you walk away because "he'll need to hit rock bottom first". 
There in lies the problem. John Doe isn't thinking clearly and doesn't know what he needs. You can't force it on him. So what, "oh well, I tried"? No!

Sometimes, as difficult as it may be, you just have to love them where they are. You can help them stay healthy and give them a safe place of trust. You can be a solid foundation for them. Don't tell them they are doing the right thing. Don't lie to them. But don't hurt them either. They are already hurting and don't need another self esteem blow. What they need is a solid foundation to go to when they finally wake up. What if no one is available to them they can trust? When they do get the inclination and courage to ask for the help they NEED someone should have been there for them. Period, end of story. 
I spoke with someone recently that was telling me about their struggle. They were involved in prostitution and drug use. Now they are in prison and off of drugs and thinking "clearly". So, while they were pouring their heart out to me I asked them this question "As a peer, what can I do to help you be successful? What kind of support do you need?". 
Their answer here is important to listen to carefully. It is a clear indicator of their clarity and insight of themselves. In this case the person said "drugs, lots of drugs so I can do porn". That was the end game for them. Legal prostitution, or sex work. Which I will be honest, if done as a career option I have little to say about it negatively or positively. But if chosen because you believe you can't do anything else, then I have a problem with it. 
In this case the kind of help this person needs I cannot offer. But I won't cut ties and move on. No, I am going to be a trusted friend. Help them be safe, make sure that they know two things are for sure. 1) someone loves them for the person they are, right now this moment and 2) when they are ready to get help, they will ABSOLUTELY have a FRIEND they can go to. 
While it pains me to see them make bad choices for themselves, I can't stop them. What I can do is make sure that I'm doing my best to build them up. Give them the true confidence they'll need to seek betterment. 
Meet your community where they are at. Help isn't given from the comfortability of a church pew or in the form of a carefully written check to a non profit (though they need that as well). No, what's needed is you, your commitment to love. Everything else is secondary. You won't regret it...

With Love
Jeff Utnage 
Feel free to leave comments or share. You can contact me at:
Jeff Utnage 823469
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

or email using, that's the only DOC approved email system for inmates.

Get Involved In Your Community

Getting involved matters. No matter how small you think it may be. Get involved. 
I am apart of a program called The Redemption Project. It was started in prison by an inmate and has been evolving into what it is now. It started small in 2009 with just 10 participants who completed it. Now, that number has grown to well over 3000. It went from one little class to multiple branches. 
Its entire existence is surrounding the idea that as inmates we need to be cognitively aware of our actions. Not just that, but much larger. We hold each other accountable to follow the rules, be successful using legal techniques. Sounds simple enough for the average Joe, but for the guy who was raised in a meth house by a couple of junkies, that was never taught. So to be apart of a group that holds a positive standard and gives you the opportunity to pay that gift forward, is incredible. 
Its not teaching right from wrong. Its making the right choices popular. While ostracizing negative choices. Anyone who is familiar with prison standards knows that this is monumental. Some would say its impossible. But a tide begins with a ripple and change happens slow. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, right?
As inmates who teach or facilitate this program we believe in the possibility of changing prison culture to end recidivism. Our commitment to one another is no more victims, repay society and help rebuild it. Its not a Kum Bai Ya (is that how its spelled?), its a reality, its action. 
My point is, each of us do what we can with all we've got. You should to. People in here (inmates and staff) know that we care. Genuinely. Those who you help will know that you care too. My life has been forever changed by the small step a person took to help their community. It doesn't have to end there folks, your participation matters. Its not just money that solves problems, its people and their hearts. That's what we need. If criminals (or former criminals in my case) can have hearts, so can you. 
If your to busy make it a family journey, use it to teach your children what help really means. Use it as a resume builder or college applications. Use it to feel good, to not sit by idly and reflect on what community used to be. Your apart of that problem to you know. We all are.

Get involved
With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Am I On The Right Path?

With so much opposition and the free community silent I have to do a heart check. Am I wasting my time? Am I even doing the right thing? Am I making a difference?
I have to consider this question but I'll be honest, I won't dwell on it to long. My objective isn't recognition. Sometimes I do need a heart check though. Am I still doing this for the right reasons? That's my concern. Have I lost myself? 
I will say a simple prayer; God, keep me in Your shadow and on Your path. Let all light reflect back to You. Keep me humble, continue to show Your love through me. Amen.
That's all that matters.
When you don't get the kudos or the atta boys that keep your ego fed this is when your motives shine. This is when a pure heart is discovered. Love is loving someone even when they don't love themselves or you. Love is unconditional support. I can say this at least, I'm loving those who dont even love themselves. I get snide remarks all the time about it. Little jabs from those around me, hinting that its difficult to be my friend when I'm surrounded by so many undesirable people. Undesirable to who? 
I'm doing the right thing, even though it makes me unpopular. I'm not going to stop showing support and legitimate human care to those around me, even when they won't show it to themselves. They won't go on believing that they're not worth loving. They will be without excuse because someone they can see loved them, me. 

Don't lose heart. Keep going, isn't it worth it if just one person becomes a better person?
With Love
Jeff Utnage

Suicide: Don't Forget About Me

I have been trying to write about a time in my life when I went silent. I had poisoned myself and knew I had to be silent for a specific amount of time to keep from being treated with the anecdote. Ultimately I was treated and saved but no thanks to me. I fought all the way. When I realized my plan was foiled I was upset. I wanted to die. 
When I reflect on that time and the emotions that it involved I realize I am still raw with emotion. I remember what it felt like to feel defeated, unloved, unworthy of life. I know what it feels like when you decide that death is the answer. But, I also know what it means to come through that.
I want to pose a question to anyone considering suicide: What about me? You haven't given me a chance. What if I need you? I will take it personally, btw. 
I remember sitting in a hospital bed with a rotating set of nurses who had to sit with me 24 hours a day. They hated me because I didn't talk back to them. They would shift their feet and sigh loudly and talk to me posing mundane questions and all the while just instilling in me how worthless I felt. After a few days they would complain as if I wasn't even there anymore. Except one lady. She was black and small. She had bright red lipstick that stuck out against the hospital. She worked graveyard. She would come in and just talk to me. As if I was human, as if I mattered. The fact that I didn't respond was no matter to her. She just kept on talking, she even read to me. 
She extended a non-judgemental hand. One that I am wanting to extend to you. One that anyone who reads this needs to extend to those around them. 
Give me a chance to be your friend. Maybe you don't need me, maybe I need you. When I say "With Love", I mean that. I have been loved by the strangest of strangers, let me have the honor of getting to know how wonderful you are. What a gift you would be to me if I could get one letter, one tiny email. You are needed, friend. By me if no one else.

Jeff Utnage 823469
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA. 98520

or on 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

To Anyone With Incarcerated Friends Or Family

Have you ever thought of how to help your loved one while they are in prison? I'm not just talking about LGBT either. I mean anyone. 
First, let me tell you something about prison. In prison, you have tough choices to make. Choices that involve stigmas and isolation. For instance, when you first come to prison you have the OPTION to join a prison gang. I don't care what prison you go to, its an option. There are alternatives to prison gangs no matter the custody level. If some race is telling you to click up and put in work to keep safe, you can request to be transferred to special needs or protective custody yards. This means that your now in a place filled with people that don't want to hurt other people or be hurt. Yeah, terrible isn't it? Sounds awful, a place where I can do my own time, be left alone and do things concentrate on what led me here...yeah...terrible idea.
When your loved one calls you or you see them and they are getting covered in pitch forks or pirate ships or 14 88 or lightning bolts or iron crosses and saying its just a prison, its not. Its a choice they have made and as people of the community you should know that this isn't a band of brothers fighting for survival, these are men who are terrifying. They extort, they bully, they do drugs, they rape, they manipulate and intimidate. This isn't being done for protection, its being done for control. Its being done so they feel superior to someone else. Sound like the young man you raised? If it doesn't and you or want them to be healthy when they get out of this place you can change this for them. 
You have to take an active role in their lives. First tell them you don't want them to be apart of the prison gang life. Let them know that you know there are alternatives that keep them safe besides their "homies". Tell them that racism isn't OK and that you know what prison gangs do. Remind them that none of those things are going to help them stay out of prison. In fact, desensitization to violence and bullying others is only going to increase their likelihood of returning and creating another victim.
If they won't listen to you and respect you, then cut them off financially. Tell them that you won't support their endeavors. Make them write only. Let them know that you love them, but your only going to support positive behaviors. When they denounce their prison gangs and stop politicking in the prison system, then you'll be a support to them. I say financially because when you belong to a prison gang, your loyalty is to them and them only. Your resources (you) is the gangs resource. That ten bucks a week you send for hygiene and snacks is more then likely going towards gambling and block rent and dues and drugs. Even if they don't do them, their partners do.
This can be a place of healing. We control whether or not we come back. If we as inmates are being held to a higher standard by our loved ones we have a better chance of not coming back. Coming back means we are going to have to create another victim. Being in a prison gang or hating sex offenders or extorting those that are weaker puts them and others at risk. It feeds a mentality that will never be satisfied. One that is unhealthy and won't bring your loved one back the same. But you need to be active. You have to tell them you DONT accept their lifestyle and you won't support it.

Help us get out of here safe and reformed. We are going to come out changed men, either for the worse or for the better. Demand that we come out better. If that means they have to practice tolerance of different crimes and races...oh well, so does everyone else in the world.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Clinton Policy VS Trump Policy: As A Gay Felon I'm Torn

I identify as a gay man. Which naturally leaves me traditionally more Democratic. But in reality I am also a felon and we all know that Mr. Clinton caused one of the biggest mass incarcerations of US history. Which we are now still trying to undo.
As a felon I recognize there are two kinds of inmates. Those who want to change and those who don't. Its easy to identify them. One clicks up and becomes a gang member and rages against the system and follows the prison politic system (which is following segregation and establishing hierarchy by charges, where murder is the most respected and sex crimes are the least). The other does things to improve himself and those around him. They tend to become known quickly, either way. 
Some need to be in prison because they don't want to change, therefore they are still dangers to society. Some can be let out though, in fact many can. Right now were letting out the wrong ones. The repeat offenders are drug addicts. Clogging up the system. So many get released every year and the numbers are jaded as a result. That's how truly rehabilitated men get passed up for parole. Why let him out when we just let out 2000 men this year. Sounds good until you look at the recidivism rate of their crimes. out of 2000 drug offenders the national average says that roughly 65% are coming back. That means 1300 more crimes and even more importantly, 1300 more victims. 
So that's my fear on Mrs. Clinton being elected. My fear on Trump being elected is reversing equal rights movements. Specifically the LGBT+ movement, which includes gay marriage equality and transgender bathroom use rights, to name a few things. Trump appears to sympathize with extremism, no matter the cause. He had skin heads or Nazi sympathizers working his campaign in the Carolina's and has commented at least once in reversing our marriage equality law. This is intolerable. We won't even talk about his refusal to denounce the KKK support. Still.
I am hard pressed. Where so many of the LGBT+ community are already voting Democratic as fast as possible I am still unsure. I don't have the right to vote, that was taken away from me. But I do have the right to weigh in. Bes believe I will, and am. 
My heart tells me that even though I want mass incarceration to end and I want society to see the good men and women who come out of here and the beautiful things they've done, Clinton will protect the rights of LGBT equality becaude her party has taken that political stance. Where as Republican officials hide behind a book someone else interpreted for them (the Bible) and stand behind Puritanical rules that they themselves can't follow.
I am devoutly Christian, but even I see the irrationality of their protecting the right to discriminate. Even if Trump was Pro-gay and a friend of LGBT, his party will inevitably demand he follow traditional Republican views.

So sad Trump, we could have been great together but your narrow minded views on minorities isolates you from all of us. You did that yourself. When a civil rights war is still raging on you must know what side of the "wall" you need to be on.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

What Does It Mean To Love?

What Does It Mean To Love?

Love isn't judgement
Love isn't "you need to change"
Love isn't puffed up
Love isn't ego
Love isn't hurt feelings
Love isn't resentment
Love isn't "I love you, but hate your sin"
Love isn't words
Love isn't put downs
Love isn't pessimistic
Love isn't wrong

Love is kind
Love is accepting
Love is challenging
Love is "I love you anyway"
Love is blind
Love is worth your time
Love is not concerned with your sexuality
Love is our goal

Love isn't physical or verbal. Love is just flat out acceptance. Its the "I'm going to meet you where your at because I don't care about your mistakes". Love is something I didn't know fully until someone loved me unconditionally. You know what? It felt good. Not like a one time physical release or a full stomach kind of good. But the kind that overwhelmed you with tears because you can't help it kind of good. The kind where you feel safe and secure to be you because there's at least one person who knows exactly who you are and says "I still love you".

I would like you to add to the list of what love is. Leave a comment of what love is to you, it may just change someones life...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Is Straight Guys Joking About Gay Things A Way Of Coping?

One guy is at a public urinal, he's obviously using it. His buddy walks up with a bowl of oatmeal. Why is anybody's guess. He stands there, granted there was a stall divider, and begins razzing him about him conversating while urinating.
I just happen to be using the urinal next to the guy being razzed. I began to laugh because no homosexual reference has been made, yet. I know its coming though. He leans on the stall divider while his friend, who has now pinched things off, begins to warn him "you better not!". Now I wasn't looking, not even peripherally, but the panic in his voice was enough to tell me his buddy was trying to feed him oatmeal while he was peeing. 
While extremely funny to me, the unpointed reference to homosexuality was implied: this is what gays do. The the guy attempting to urinate just says it "stop being such a fag bro!". Then he looked at me and rolls his eyes. A moment later he continued his endeavor. 
I went to wash my hands and the whole thing was just flat out peculiar. That whole show was done for two reasons that I know of. One, to make his buddy laugh and two, because inside they had some idea that this is what gays do...feed each other oatmeal while they pee'd??? What in the heck gave them that idea?
There was no logic in the joke, while I admit his friend becoming uncomfortable with the threat of oatmeal on one side and the possibility of the raging fag on his right seeing his junk (as if!!!!!), was funny. It got me thinking why are gays associated with ridiculous things? Like feeding oatmeal to each other on the pot? Who does that? That's just one example of what I'm talking about. Why am I the butt of that joke and should I be offended? In short, I'm not because I found humor in it. But, in that last sentence holds the key. Were they joking around to come to terms with me? Perhaps the guy peeing had made a comment beforehand about having to use the urinal next to a gay guy. When it happened, maybe this was a display, a sort of peacocking to relax the nervousness? I am not sure. But I wonder how many jokes should we as LGBT allow to make others comfortable. After all, the very mention of gay in some homes strikes fear in the inhabitants. Why, I don't know. I'm as harmless as a field mouse now that I'm out. I hate violence and honestly I would much rather let someone think they are right or superior before I would get physical. I take privacy seriously and have no desire to invade anyone's personal bubble now or ever. In fact, I assume everyone is straight until I know better because when they're straight there off the market and I never even consider them a sexual partner. I could care less about them sexually.

Do they believe that though? No! So, I guess let them joke, but I don't understand it completely. I won't tell them it confuses me but it makes me uncomfortable to know that I am being used.

Just a thought.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

P.S. Whatever you do, do it in love.

Your Church Survives Off Of Donations: Don't Agree With The Doctrine? Stop Supporting Them!

I want to let everyone know that you have a choice in churches. If your pastor is up there preaching its OK to refuse service to any group of minorities its a choice for you to stay there. If that church has too few patrons it will die. Period. Their hatred ideals with them. 
While most people understand that they have a choice to attend a church they rarely leave it out of a personal connection. I am asking that you starve the church that promotes hate. If someone from the LGBT community cant worship there without fear of persecution then you shouldn't either. You shouldn't support such practices and starve that church. What are you starving it from? Money and your ears.

Boycott hate. Boycott those who promote divisions of minorities. Don't think its dangerous? Look at terrorism, it stems from that idea. These religious factions that splinter off into other organizations will eventually reach someone unstable enough to put into work something like Orlando again. Or the thousands of beatings and killings of LGBT people across the globe. 
If the message they are viciously bullying us with is not received and makes them lose money then the majority of them will stop preaching such things once they realize that its no longer lucrative.

I love God, God loves me and I have a right to defend His churchs integrity. It was meant to bring together, love and edify. Not persecute, isolate and be assaultive.

Starve the church, starve hate.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

My Prayer To God Tonight

I may as well pray publicly because I sure as heck am condemned publicly.

God, first and foremost I love You. Unashamedly, even when people think I'm nuts! But I do. I hold myself accountable to You. I practice what You have taught me through convictions in my heart and reading Your Word. I have to admit, sometimes I get confused and it can be terribly frustrating. But one thing I know for sure, You loved me when no one else did. Not even me. 
Your example of love has guided me into a new me. I have completely turned my life around not just for You, but because I like the man that You are creating in me. What is that man but one who loves? Why do I use that word so much? Because You have used Yourself as an example of it. I didn't know what love looked like until You found me. 
We've been through some stuff! Man, only You know...
God I know I have my problems, lots of them. I still curse a little, I think angry thoughts and I still commit adultery in my mind...frequently! In fact, as of late I haven't even tried to curb it. I just think and dream and then...You know the rest. Not that I'm justifying thinking about sex outside of marriage, but I don't have much choice at the moment. I could use a little help in that department Big about a man!? Just sayin'
Even though I know I have these problems and more I can't think of at the moment, I am having issues with my brothers and sisters. Or, Your other kids. Not all of them, just some. 
Here's the problem. They are crushing me. Not just me, us. They're using You as a means to declare an outright war on us. They point the finger at us and I guess while its pointing they think better of themselves?? I don't know what they're thinking truthfully. I am tired of defending my trust in You to some other person. They cant see what's inside of me. They don't know my heart. How can they judge if they can't see the evidence? More importantly, how is You've allowed them to do this again and again? History is just repeating itself over and over again. I'm begging You to put a stop to their garbage. 
God, LGBT+ people are Your people to. I love them and I serve You. Lord, I am begging You to show them Your love. Your unwaivering love. How can they come to You when the whole world says they are hated by You? A God who hates His creation? This isn't You. I don't know what God they serve but its not The Alpha And The Omega, The Beginning And The End. 
God, I am not going to stop telling people that You love them, gay and all. No matter what letter of the LGBTQAIPGQQ they are. If that's wrong then their blood is on my head. But I am thoroughly convinced that You love us. Period. So go ahead and send all the hateful pastors and deacons and leaders my way. I'll listen to them preach venom. I will smile and disagree politely. So long as they are busy condemning me to hell by some other God then at least they aren't telling my LGBT family anything You don't love them.

All I'm asking for is help. Help me show love and more of it. I can't love people enough. I need Your help. Please help me spread that message. 

What I won't do anymore is defend my belief in You to another person. Not anymore. I believe and that's that. I am sick of these self righteous people in here telling me that their sin is forgiveable because they are capable of repentance while because I gay I am not capable of repentance. These are Your vessels? I will listen to them politely and not return venom for venom. But I won't defend myself to them. That's Your job. I'm giving it up as of tonight because I don't have anymore fight left in me. I'm all cried out and frankly, I'm just plain sick of letting them traumatize me.

Lord, I vow to spend the rest of my life trying to love those they have hurt and I promise to do my best to show them the real You by mimicking what You've done with me... love them regardless and with big ole open arms. Listen to them when there hurt, laugh when they laugh and flirt when they flirt. I just don't believe You'd have it any other way.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

When does Religious Freedom End And Psychological Damage Begin?

Religious freedom allows for any man to use a recognized religions doctrine to be abusive. While I recognize that some use it for moral purposes I have found that there are some really bad people who use this.
I used to agree with having religion fused with our government. Having now been on the receiving end of its tone is vastly different. He government either needs to get all the way in the water or all the way out. Either step in and regulate the hate machines that ate becoming the "Christian" church (though, this is NOT Christianity!!!!) and set guidelines for verbal assault or take religion as a whole out of the law. If its God your worried about, I suspect He's already sorely dissapointed and its not because of gays or equal restroom use. 
Here's the real issue at hand. You have people running around telling other people they need to change something they can't. Let's compare this to African Americans today. Its just like a group of whites running around with white sheets on their head (because they're COWARDS!) and telling every African American that if they pray enough and believe enough tomorrow they'll wake up white and saved. 
Now imagine the psychological damage that can occur over an extended period of time. This verbal abuse leads to depression, suicides, drug use, physical assaults, mass shootings, organized terrorism and our government is protective it. 
Then they look at the people and get confused and dismayed when Orlando happens. You can't promote the isolation and eradication of a group of people and then pretend to be horrified when someone actually tries it. 
Any religious person that persecutes anyone from the LGBTQ + community, and by persecution I mean verbal abuse or physical abuse should be held accountable for the effected persons damage. Just like if you taunt a person and he commits suicide, your a bully in that situation and should be held accountable for driving him into despair. 
Religious freedom is a code word for hate in my book. Hate groups like Nazis and the KKK all operate under this umbrella of "religious freedom". Westboro Baptists ( the ones who abuse and brainwash their children by making them protest soldier burials and protest other churches) is another one. Best believe that if your church is telling you to not accept LGBT + people, they are yoked together with these organizations. If they tell you its OK to refuse service to us, or treat us poorly or throw words that will not edify us into our lives...yeah, that's the same thing those other guys do. 
Christians listen up: if your church is in the same category with the KKK then perhaps you should demand better from your church officials. They survive on your money. They can't operate without it. 

Religious freedom = Legal Discrimination

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Doing The Gayest Thing I Can Think Of: Owning It

My perception of gay personalities as a whole is largely from television. It used to be that gays were depicted as promiscuous, non relationship forming and immoral. However, a more recent depiction has been extreme confidence or simply put, owning it.
Maybe that's a little of the reason I never came out when I was younger. I figured I missed that part in school where they teach you self confidence. I recognized as a young man that the LGBT community was head strong and bold. Willing to be isolated and just plain in-your-face. I kind of understood it, but largely I felt I can't come out because I lack that tenacity that TV personas had. 
Sure, there were a smattering of examples of people to afraid to come out. It inevitably ended with them coming to terms with themselves and somehow developing the will to just be themselves.
I guess I never felt I had that in me, to just "own it". Damn the consequences. It wasn't until I had already lost everything and there was nothing left to lose that I finally just came to terms with it. Even then I did it annoyingly slow. It irritated me that I would wake up still lacking confidence. I was bothered that I was still being doubted by others and that after I came out those who hated me, still hated me. I was screaming inside, I was finally accepting myself, why isn't anyone else? 
The "modern" LGBT man or woman, I have come to realize, is just as normal as every other human being. With one minor difference. Its not our sexuality or Gender Identity that sets us apart. Its our tenacity that only comes from opposition. Its our faith in ourselves to know that when no one accepted us...we did. We still do. 
It isn't something that happens overnight. Or with one incident (though it could). It happens with repeated attacks on an area of your life that you can't change. You can become an old queen that resents humanity and is gonna be as sour as the whiskey they drink. Opinions as potent and sticky as the stale cigarette smoke that clings to their boas. Or you can own it. 
We don't have to settle for the pink boa. We can evolve past the title of "Gay" and right into the title of "human". That's what were seeking, correct? Equality? To be treated the same as everyone else. That sounds great and all, but first we have to establish that differences can be brought to the table. 
Perfect example, a man recently went to the chaplain and asked him something regarding gays being put down in church. His response was " there is no gay, only sinner and non sinner". His response was clear. For him, he was demanding that gays not be recognized as an option for humanity. He believes we go against humanity.
That's what I mean. Once there are no more "hims" in the world, then we can chase the title off. Until then...

Work on owning it, unapologetically owning your sexuality. If no one accepts you for you, talk to me. I will. I will show you the same no limits love that I have been shown. Patience and unending love.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Have Fun With It

I had to give a presentation today that I have been waiting for months to get off my plate. On one hand I have my passion which is helping other people and high social interaction, on the other hand I have reality. Where I have to work and be responsible for things I don't necessarily want to be responsible for. Like work...
So this morning I reflected on what is happening in my life. I got up at 4 a.m. and instead of wasting the day in bed, I got up, made a cup of instant coffee and just began my day. I showed up to my presentation in clothes that were wet with sweat, rinse water and food splatter from food prep. My mind still frazzled from my interaction with my coworkers who are understandably upset with my continual absences. Even though I do my share of the work and most of there's just to make up for my other duties outside of work. They wanted a commitment from me, either work or my programs. Something had to give.
Honestly my mind drifts at moments like these because I want to be involved as much as possible in the programs I'm in. When I release from prison its these programs that will ensure my success because they are demanding and challenge my inner self continuously, for the better. Its these programs like The Redemption Project that has breathed life into my humanity, programs that God uses to purge out my faults and replace that space with organized duty. A duty to my fellow person to love and help. 
So I went and like any dedicated person I presented my dilemma to those around me. Then I had fun. I laughed and delivered my presentation with my fellow Redemption Project Mentors and we did great. We joked, we accomplished a monumental task together and that sense of "I did the right thing by coming here" took over.
Then, I went back to work and did my best. I cleaned more then anyone, I served most of our customers after I prepared 90% of their food before I left and then I was promptly told not to come back for a week. 
You'd think this was a bad thing. But its the best thing for the moment. I finally get a chance to enjoy some sunshine, work out or just plain be lazy. This week off is God sent and appreciated. I get to focus entirely on the things that I love. People. 
I was singing Fergies new song M.I.L.F. $ and we tried to figure out the names of all the spice girls and debated over what constitutes a boy band. My coworkers said they didn't listen to boy bands because they're gangsters. So I pointed out groups like Boys 2 Men, 112 and Bone Thugs N' Harmony. Now, they didn't agree that Bone Thugs was a boy band like NSync or Backstreet Boys but I disagree. 
The point was, life went on. We have a choice to be overwhelmed and helpless. Just enjoy the ride, its going to work out. Whatever you do, do it in love and its going to be fabulous.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Warring With Religion

There comes a point where you just have to face facts. LGBT is under attack. Mainly by religion. Whether its Christianity or Islam. 
Let me just say this before I continue. I recognize that not all Christians or Muslims are hate filled bigots using the guise of religion to justify self-serving hatred. OK, let's continue.
My facility made a decision today that has brought tons of controversy. They moved a transgendered inmate into a unit that is dominated by Christians. Huge mistake. But this isn't a facility problem, this is a global problem that is impacting LGBT+ people everywhere. Placing someone who identifies as trans. in a place where they are going to be basically psychologically tortured by other inmates under the cloak of religious freedom??? In the facilities defense that place is suppose to be the safest on the compound and in theory it sounds good. Until the religious Christians start brow beating her. Its not this direct or outright hate either. Its passive. Its done in prayer and through passive innuendoes. When they're called on it the response is "I love the person, but hate their sin". Or "we are to separate from those given to a debased mind". 
Really? How do you separate from yourself? You aren't called to judge! Your called to love. If you get to heaven and you haven't loved and forgiven, then YOUR not getting in. 

I hate this "war". Its unnecessary and is hurting a lot of people. If Gods people start hating any group of people then what distinguishes modern Christianity from the Nazis? After all, isn't that what they were about, race cleansing? A group who believes in the eradication of another group of people, I believe there is a term for that, its called genocide. Also, its unacceptable.
In prison I hear guys saying that they are OK with gays, but dislike it being shoved down their throats. When I ask what is happening to make them feel that way...there getting recognition. Can you believe that? However, these same people are all for cops being killed. How awful. Some are even saying its necessary. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about this? All of his sacrifices for peace and unity and this is what is done with it? Snipers and senseless death? 
I went to church again finally. I was told I was out of bounds by being the first one there. I knew I wasn't welcome but I was on the call out like everyone else. So I sat down where I was highly visible. Some sneered at me, some welcomed me and others began praying at my sight. 
When they started singing I wasn't into it. I was still upset, but managed through anyway. I didn't feel connected to the church. There wasn't any unity amongst them. Its only obvious that the church is very sick today. Unfortunately, many think LGBT is the reason. It couldn't be them, oh no. Its definitely the gays. 
I can tell you what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna keep on going to church. I'm gonna sing and worship God. Let them get mad and preach against me, I don't care. I'm already hated, so I might as well be rejoicing while its being done. Because that's MY choice.

With Love 
Jeff Utnage

Monday, July 18, 2016

Come On Out Honey, The Worlds Ready To See You Now

We are in a new world. Its a place that is evolving before our eyes. I found out through news and family that people are chasing around imaginary Pokemon with their phones. Grown men and women! From inside here that just seems completely unacceptable. We don't really see modern technology or "movements" that begin. Since we don't really know what Pokemon hunting is we all imagine some wild company driving around the country tossing stuffed animals in random places. Then people are "hunting" them??? 
I told that to my mother and she explained its a phone application and they are imaginary. Oh...then it all makes sense...
My point is this, if its OK in our culture to collect imaginary anything then its also OK to be gay. Come on now, this is a gay website, did you think I wasn't going to bring it back? Being homosexual or transgendered or intersex doesn't mean that you should be ashamed. You should be proud! The world may say "that's gay" as a negative but sweetie, as far as I'm concerned, it just became unique! 1%
People are always going to have opinions on other people. So long as there's two or more people theres going to be negative thoughts about the other. You aren't going to please everyone. So don't. Just yourself, focus on you. If your married to a woman and you know your gay, talk to your wife about it. Be open and transparent with her. What if this gives opportunity for real strength within the relationship? She's suppose to be your best friend. Or if your lesbian and married to a man or transgendered. Seriously, get support right now! Don't wait til tomorrow. 
Suppression of your sexual identity leads to depression and isolation of ones nature amongst their peers. That means your hiding your secret and you'll be whoever you have to be to protect it. Meaning, your not you. 
Being truthful and open about yourself to those around you makes you a better role model and parent. Parenting isn't telling your kids to be honest with you while you lie to them. Its SHOWING them things, like transparency. They need to see you struggle and overcome things people! If you don't show them they'll find someone else who will, believe that! 

Be strong, be courageous! There's a big ole' world out there waiting for you. Your NOT in prison! So don't put yourself in one. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Weathering Our Feelings: Don't Allow A Negative Action To Tear Down Positive Progress

We reach milestones on our journeys. We have to climb big mountains and fight our hearts out to gain a single step sometimes. All this is positive progress. Then something negative happens and it seems that all is lost.
Like quitting smoking. You go two weeks without a single cigarette. Then you get stressed out and without even thinking you buy a pack and light up. Its like starting all over again.
But it doesn't have to be. It can be just that one. Yeah you smoked a cigarette, but it was only one in two weeks. Relax and point out the positive. That one cigarette didn't set you back completely. If you still want to quit, your well on you way in that journey. On a side note, I haven't smoked for almost eight years now, I still dream about smoking. Keep fighting guys, I know this is a hard one.
Anyway, that negative feeling can creep in and make you feel like a failure when your not. You have come a long ways and instead of focusing on that one bump, recognize the journey so far.
Your further along then you think!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Retrospect: Life Isn't So Bad, Don't Be Afraid To Make Changes

Life happens. It just does. Things start moving' and groovin' and before you know it your in the wrong place then you intended. So you have a few choices. You can stay there or you can get back on track.
Its OK to begin again. Life gives second chances, but, it doesn't come easily. You have to just demand it. Plain and simple and the person you have to petition is yourself. Your the only inhibitor.
There are people in your life right now that may not be the healthiest. Hey, its all good. Find out who's your friend by telling them your going to make some changes and whoever decides to help and back you up...congrats! You have a friend. Those that hate and begin to doubt you. Hey, its still OK because you can use their doubt to fuel your success. No problem, you might lose a friend or all of them. But it don't matter. You'll get new ones. With a new beginning is new friends too.
Bottom line is you have the option to change your future right here right now. You have this gift called retrospect where you can look at your past and say "I don't want to do that again, so I'm not going to". Easy as that. Don't let any results of a past mistake keep you from being better.

Friends, I have many challenges I face. All my own doing. I made horrible choices and the easiest thing to do is give up. But realizing I can be better, well...that eliminated the option of giving up...and thank God! You have a choice too.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Hair: The Seemingly Endless Battle

OK, I love the hair on my head. But I don't like it everywhere else. I used to just shave everything but that came at a risk. I cut my undercarriage with a razor and it landed me in the hospital when it became infected. Gross!
Scared I was going to nick myself again I let all my hair grow back, legs, armpits, arms...yuck. Now I can't stand it so I carefully began shaving again. I just wanted to let all of you know bow lucky you are to have access to things like waxing and laser hair removal. Things like private showers. When I start shaving in here you'd think guys would leave me alone but inevitably they ask "What are you doing over there?". Completely inappropriate and its embarrassing to tell them I am shaving my body. Not like its any of their business. 
Then comes the next question "why are you doing that?". They usually laugh about it, they can tell I'm uncomfortable but because I am known for my honesty, transparency and my openness I answer honestly. I tell them I don't like hair on my legs, that I don't like it and it makes me feel to masculine. A trait I despise in myself. I don't mind hair on my partner, this isn't a sexual thing. Its a feeling, a confidence I get from feeling...right. When my legs are smooth and my bits and pieces are shaved and the only hair on my body is on my head and eyes...I feel better about myself. Mainly because it makes me feel more feminine.
There is just one little problem. Maintenance! I have turned into a plucking machine!! Holy jeez! I'll be watching tv, or rather, listening to the TV and I'll be plucking. Men are hairy and I have literally spent hours plucking my hands and feet and arms. Its tedious work that has become a labor of love. But it takes forever!
Maybe I need to start petitioning for a better hair removal system?

With Love, plucking happy!

Jeff Utnage

Big Girl In A Man's Body: Managing Body Image

Maybe you can relate to me a little here. This issue is more geared towards women. Which is interesting because I am a man. I have body image issues. Not to try and get all clinical on you, but mine stem from being overweight most of my life. Since I was eight.
Once I got old enough to care I was in full swing with puberty and nothing could satiate my hunger. Long story short, I lost my weight when I was 29-30. Now that most of its gone I see fat on my body as if its the ultimate shame. A great big middle finger to myself. Failure. I see that I have this strange shape that doesn't look pretty or enticing. I am squared, my torso goes down into a slight "v" shape and my chest is formed with two pecs that are nearly squared. I look manish. Hair on my arms and feet, rough palms and when I look down I see someone who is obese and male. 
Notice something there? I never did until recently. Its the male part. Here is what I mean ( because you can't read my mind, or can you??), when I compare myself to my ideal body type I look at women. Women have the physique I want. When I look at magazines that have fashion I look at muscle tone and how dresses or swim wear fits their frame. Then I compare it to my own body type and think, it just doesn't add up!
I am happy with my assigned male parts, I am not happy with my assigned male physique. It took me 34 years to realize that I am a type of gender non-conforming. What exact term I don't know, but I know this. Inside of me, when I look at myself, I think about all my masculinity and how much I dislike it. It just doesn't fit how I feel inside.
Everything inside of me wants to paint my nails and try on heels and see what dresses look good on me. Do I have a color? You know how some people have a color that just looks fantastic on them? Make-up! Would I look good in make -up? But none of that matches my frame. This shell. None of it matches the worlds idea of what identifies a man as a male. I like my parts, I don't want breasts, I want to be a man. Its just...I want to be a man who has pretty nails and killer curves. 
Admittedly, I don't fully understand what this means. This is a helluva place to discover that though. There is almost no one who identifies the same here. Most straight guys are like "that's what makes you gay right? All gays wear girl crap". That's not true though. I am gay, I love me some men! Believe that! I don't want to be a girl. Many gays in here classify that as transgendered. And perhaps in a clinical umbrella I may be classified as such. No problem admitting that. 
How in the world do I deal with that? I am 5'9" and 178 pounds and extremely athletic. But I still ain't happy with my body because it doesn't match a bikini body that's been photo shopped. How do I reconcile that in my subconscious?

I could definitely use some advice, yes...from like YOU! Don't be afraid to leave comments and interact with me. I keep hoping for it one day.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Every Person = New Opportunity

Have you ever noticed that some people are social while some are not? Some people love to meet new people and hear what the have to say while some are petrified. Yet there are those who truly don't care. There's always that I guess.
I have found that I have taken on a new characteristic, or perhaps just acknowledged and already existing one. Socialization. I love it and sometimes I am no good at it. Oddly enough that doesn't seem to deter me from doing it again, only slightly differently to adjust for the previous mistake.
I'm not coming home at night and doing scientific analysis of my social habits but I think about how I felt that day and what went wrong. More importantly I think about what went right.
This makes me think about the endless opportunities. Perhaps the next person I meet may be my next business partner or boss. Maybe my friendly attitude will be the one thing that could have happened to save their life. The whole ripple effect thing. I don't know everything but this I know. Being in a small community, like prison, you get to see first hand the ramifications of both negative and positive social impacts. I know that when I fail to follow my instincts and socialize with someone who is attempting to socialize with me, there's a reason they are reaching out so passively. To many times in here the passive get manipulated and to many times I could have been the catalyst of positive change.
I don't like that feeling of knowing I could have made a difference and didn't. My own fear immobilizing my social skills. Watching someone else get used and abused and then me going " what the heck? what happened?"
We may not be able to help everyone, but what about those we can? What about them? Someone did that for me, actually more like someones. I am thankful, and the only way to pay that favor back is to prove they made a difference by doing the same...but moving forward.

Remember that your warm greeting may be small or silly to some, maybe even you. But be genuinely friendly for one week and then purposefully stop and see how many people have come to depend on your smile. At least one person will miss it. That means you've made a difference in one person, what greater achievement is there?

Today my coworkers made fun of me because I was "to friendly" to customers. I work in a place where customer service is necessary, we cook food for staff and they come in to purchase food. I take that seriously because I hope to be a waiter when I get out. So when people come in I smile, I am friendly, because I want them to know that not every inmate is conforming to one label, convict. I am a person, who happens to care. So yeah, I am to friendly, but only for a prison setting.

Don't conform to the negative people around you. Be a changer!

With Love
Jeff Utnage.

Uncomfortable Situations: When You Have To Deal With Those Who Don't Like You

This reaches beyond just the LGBT community. This applies to racism, cultural differences and a plethora of situations. 
So you and someone have it out. They let you know just how much they don't like you, in no uncertain terms. And its something you cant change like skin color or sexuality. You handle it well, you don't freak out, you don't kick their butt, you stay calm and collected. But let's say your in a professional environment where you still have to deal with this person. Still remaining professional. Now this can be a challenge. So what do you do?
I'll tell you what I do, I genuinely smile at them. I tell them to have a fantastic day. I ask if there is anything I can do for them. I wish them well and then I try not to let them occupy my mental space. I have to draw a line at perpetuating negativity. They can be negative all they want, but I don't have to. 
This is what separates diplomatic approaches from barbaric approaches. I don't have anything to prove. They already don't like me, what more is there to talk about? What more needs to be said? Just because someone doesn't like you doesn't mean you have to accept that they are your enemy. That's our choice. This obviously excludes them pushing the issue and getting physical or invading your personal boundaries. 
Sometimes we have to stare our haters right square between the eyes and we have to hold our emotions at bay. That's the way it is. We can do it, it is hard to do. But it gets easier with practice. Each time you do, you'll find that things become more like business as usual.. That perhaps the biggest jab you can deliver is to let them know that their opinion of you has zero effect on you. Its not like its anything new. Oh no, someone else who hates gays. Or, someone who's racist still exists...say it isn't so.

No its real, its out there and yes it sucks. Yes it hurts, yes it is unfair and nothing you can do about it. But, you can deliver the last word, its terrifying silence to them to be of no effect on you. Keep your head up and don't let them see you sweat. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Thanks/Praise to God



I've FINALLY reached the highest high, with you by my side

I never imagined this would be such an easy coasting, smooth sailing glide--

Lookin forward to the future, I see that we'll both always have someone in whom we can confide

Life lesson to be applied: 

TRUST IN YOUR HEART, & it will lead you to joy, happiness, & everything you need

We have something to believe in, 

A love that gives our lives meanin

Now that we serve a greater purpose than SELF, there's nothing we can't be achievin

Love, affection, affinity--

All comes along with the respect & dignity

I'm proud to say I got something worthwhile that I'm identified with

Dignified with

And to spend my life with...

Honor is sacred, we share a bond that deserves the best protection, care, attention & investment of OURSELVES possible

What does honor mean to you?

To me it means: RESPECT, the utmost value, knowing the value & worth of what you have, commitment to excellence, 

Treating you as if your a precious jewel, respect for feelings, differences, and COMMITMENT to uphold truth & honesty at all times, 


I am COMMITTED to always upholding your honor & treating you with dignity at all costs

I wouldn't have it no other way

After all you have done to prove your love to me, the least I owe you is: ALL of me...

The most I can give you is: REALNESS, this is ME, this is who I am

Opened up, exposed, vulnerable, & at your beckon & call

Do You Believe In Ghosts? Should A Christian?

Even though the Christian community continues to let me down, I am still a Christian. Its my opinion that I don't have a choice to believe. For me, just speaking for myself here, the proof my mind required to believe in something I can see has been done. 
Having said that, what about ghosts? Are they real? Or are they inventions of our subconscious mind to explain sights and sounds we can't immediately identify? Our brains are powerful analytical machines, able to process thousands of pieces of data simultaneously. Does that mean that there isn't supernatural entities? 
I haven't spent much time thinking about this, mainly because its always been a taboo subject. Are ghosts not people, but demons? I don't know for sure. That's why I haven't thought about it with any seriousness. Until today.
This morning in prayer it came to me that I should be cognizant of spiritual things and my emotions. How do I feel when I know the spirit world is active? All good questions I'd say.
Ghosts, entities, spirits...whatever you refer to them as are real in my opinion. As a man who believes the Bible there are minimal references to entities interacting with flesh and blood, but there are instances. If you read where Saul consults the medium and demands she bring up the prophet Samuel. Samuel was ticked off he was disturbed but was there talking nonetheless. Another instance is when Jesus encountered the Legion of demons. They spoke to him and entered swine as an alternative. Another instance of spiritual beings, good or bad, interacting with flesh. 
I think that as a Christian we have to believe that ghosts are real. Now, whether or not we should interact with them, that's the part that confuses me. If a ghosts or whatever invades my space or I unknowingly encounter one what should I do? Pretend its not there? Will I hurt its feelings if I ignore it. I imagine a simple old man who's been haunting his home for one hundred years and in come visitors, how rude it would be to not be polite!
On a more serious note, the very fact that we know little about the Spirit world other then it exists is reason enough to not meddle in things not understood. The Bible has been clear to leave them be, psychics and mediums are not to be used. God has given the gift of being able to interact with the spirit realm to some people. So we can't deny the validity of them. After all, if the Bible warns of using them to tell your fortune, there must be a reason. Its not because they aren't genuine. 
Why meduims exist is beyond me. I know that I don't believe they are demonized. They aren't villains to be eradicated or used as whipping posts for Christians to feel better about themselves. Perhaps God made them to confound the wise or the learned. A little wrench to show us all that God can do what He wants. We don't know everything. I'm OK with that. You know what my job is?

To love. Genuinely and legitimately love. Not point out faults, or what I perceive to be a fault in another. Even a ghost. Even of the ghost is a demon, remember the angel Michael? When he encountered Satan? Even he didn't judge him. Love all. Period. Leave the judgement up to the Big Guy.

With Love
Jeff Utnage