Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Organized Spaces: Your Mind Is A Reflection Of Your Living Space

I used to have a really cluttered car. Soda bottles and extra pants on the floor board. Dirty dashboard and almost never washed it externally. It was just messy. My home wasn't much different. I took better care to be cleaner their but it was neglected to. Funny how my life's accomplishments were just as disorganized. 

In my home I had "junk" drawers and I lost items frequently because only a few things had its "place". Before you know it you have a whole household full of disorganization. 

Our minds are a reflection of our living spaces. If you living space is disorganized, so is your mind, generally speaking. 
I have a small space to live in. My whole life resides inside of a 10x15ft cell that has bunk beds. I am given a 16" x 20" metal desk with two shelves. On those shelves is all my belongings. Everything I own must fit somewhere in that space. 

When it gets cluttered, I get anxiety because it only gets cluttered when I get overwhelmed. A pattern I've noticed in myself. I may have lots and lots to do. I have a long to do list. My days are extremely busy. But I feel more confident in my ability to complete these often challenging tasks If the space that I have to work in is organized, ready for work and easy to access.

Get organized, one space at a time and let your space reflect your brain space. You'll feel better.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

The Road Hardest To Travel: Sometimes Another Road Isn't Even Available

As gay men and women, actually all of us in the LGBTI community, have had some hard emotional roads to traverse. Many end up with low self esteem which can lead to all kinds of trouble: Eating disorders, dating troubles, drug and alcohol addictions. Just to name a few. This doesn't count the ones who committed serious felonies. The people around us minimize the psychological damage done by suppressing our true identities. 

Some were fortunate enough to have parents that were progressive. Many of our families were behind the curve and had to overcome a lifetime of negative doctrine against homosexuality. Telling us to fix it, as if were broken. Or mothers crying at the words "I'm gay", as if she had just lost her son or daughter. Praying for God to deliver the child from satans grip of homosexuality or whatever. You get the idea. Tell that to a child who is still developing psychologically and the turmoil can be unimaginable.

I bring this up because if we don't talk about our past then we can't learn from it as effectively as trying to forget it. Which is impossible. Some things are awful to have to rehash, but, its those things that are toxic to our day to day lives.
Have you ever had an infection? Like MRSA or Sepsis or an abscess tooth? What happens? It hurts and effects your entire body. And it doesn't heal immediately. If you have an infection just below the skin it hurts like hell. Then, once the antibiotics kills it or the doctor removes it then it hurts a little less each day. But, the point is it hurts and it hurts bad. Bad enough that sometimes it seems easier to let it fester awhile longer instead of getting help. Which leads to bigger problems. 

Taking the road that hard to travel sometimes is necessary to get to an easier pathway, at best. 
Talking about our past can be one of the hardest and painful things to do, but it also leads to healing and peace if you do it with the right people. People who love you.

Being hurt sucks, but so does being angry. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Written Prayers From The Broken

 The thief prayed for comfort. Interesting. Not that he prayed for comfort, but for someone else's comfort. A mans head hangs low and the thief wonders why, so he asks the man "Why does you head hang low, you are a happy man?" 
"Because my best friend died today" the usually jovial man replies, and hangs his head again. Then the thief left and wrote a prayer to God for the grieving man. He gave it to him and walked away. Even the thief knows where comfort comes from.

The grieving man was surprised because what the thief wrote was from the heart. He had written to God before. This amazed the grieving man because he was a man of God, well versed in comfort from above. He kept that prayer and prayed it himself. 

There is a freedom in being able to write a letter to God and not be interrupted with your thoughts. You aren't to bad to talk to Him. You aren't to far gone to get His love. You haven't slept with to many people to be clean. It doesn't matter if your still using drugs or drinking like a fish or hooking for a fix every day like clockwork. It doesn't even matter if you've cursed Him a thousand times before. 

We are all broken. Everyone has doubt and fear and is doing something wrong. None of that matters, what matters is that I believe that many of us are designed with a natural draw to the unknown, the spiritual. We spend our days wondering if God is real or not. Asking questions like "why does He let bad things happen if He exists?". I know your confusion.

I know your broken, so am I. Probably more useless then you. God likes broken vessels, do you know why?

Because they leak. They leak His mercy and love over everything...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Problem With Emptying Yourself: You Have To Fill Up Somewhere

Some people just give and give of themselves freely. Which I think is perfectly fine. If the impression you leave on the world is that you gave everything you had, you did good.

In order to continue to give to others you have to have something left inside you to give. Love is free. Love is never ending. You can love forever. The problem? Sometimes emotions get in the way. We get depressed, irritated, angry, hurt etc. We lose focus that love is never ending inside of us and we try to tap into resources inside of us that we simply don't have. 

When you feeling off, call a friend or trusted person in your life and just tell them the truth. Your feeling angry or hurt and you want to feel love again. Tell them that's why your calling because you need them to just love you. 
I have developed a group that will provide peer support for the LGBT community here. My #1 goal? Make sure that each and every one of them knows that without a doubt I care about them. They will have a place to recharge their sense of love. 

Where do you fill up at? If you don't have a place, find one because there are many places to do so. Churches like All Pilgrims Christian Church or Methodist Church of Christ, both in Seattle and willing to love you through anything. Or there is me, I'll love you through anything. Why, because I know what it feels like to feel unloved and I refuse to let anyone feel like that. At least with those that are within my ability to do so. I'm kinda limited to those in this prison and those of you who choose to contact me. I love letters ! So in case you need a little recharge, I love you. Now pass it on sweetie!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

I, Gay, Do Solemnly Swear...

First off, for everyone who reads regularly, thank you, I see you. I also want to apologize for the lapse in posts that happen. Even though I write a post everyday, it sometimes takes a little longer to reach its destination. My family is posting as regularly as is possible for them currently. 
I am currently looking for someone that has time to post regularly for me though. It doesn't require much, except that you login daily and post daily. That's it, and send me page stats so I know what's being looked at and what's not. 
Btw, I don't know why I chose that title for the blog post today, it was in my head and now its not. Brain vomit, ugh! 
I found that TV got exciting again because VH1 picked up Rupauls Drag Race All Star 2!!!! I haven't been able to watch because I don't have many channels from behind these walls. But I did manage to write RuPaul once from in here and tell the Diva herself how much I wanted to watch her show, she was kind enough to send me a signed picture. Something I cherish. Thanks RuPaul!!! 
I am even more excited because on Sept. 8th on VH1 Lance Bass is hosting "Finding Prince Charming" which is airing on Logo as well. Its a gay dating show. I've never seen one and truthfully I think I had glitter coming out of my pores because I was so excited. Even my roommate, who is an old queen himself, was like "uh, what's wrong with you tonight?" because I was clapping and laughing and hootin and hollerin at my TV as each of the all stars got up there and performed. I was even mimicking the moves.
It was funny because I am around hardened felons all day who are the testosterone filled manly men but as soon as I talk about drag queens their little ears perk up and all of a sudden they are inching closer. They usually make fun of me and do manly things like flex and begin to hawk loogies and talk about fags this and fags that. But it doesn't stop them from listening. LOL! 
That's all for today.

I am trying to keep things consistent, I could use some help with that though, if anyone is interested, email me!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Friday, August 26, 2016

Is There Solidarity? Because This Gay Needs Your Help..

.My mission is to provide men and women who are incarcerated with a support system that enables us to heal properly, find and address what led us here and ultimately help provide the kind of support necessary for a successful reintegration in to society with an emphasis on the LGBTI + community.

That's my mission. I need help though. I don't want to lose you here though, so please read through this because you may be surprised at what is needed from people just like you. 

I need educational materials. Not pens and paper but self help guides. I need things that are dealing with the gay community like getting out of prostitution, drugs or homelessness. We need encouraging stories and messages of inspiration. You may read something, an article or a book that makes you think "this really impacted my life"...I need that info!! What? What impacted your life? Yeah, gimme that! I am also interested in group therapy techniques. I need exercises that we can do as a group together that will build trust and bring out things that need to be addressed. Things like childhood abuse, domestic abuse and selfishness. 

Other things we need is people willing to participate with us. Maybe you can give us an inspiring message, you know we live in a place where you may be able to do a Skype presentation from wherever you are. Our facility has that capacity, it will take some screening on the prisons part but it can be done, I've seen it. We also need local organizations to step up and be willing to communicate with us, even if its a general message, we need that.

We need books, if you are financially able to help, you don't have to throw some random dude in prison a bunch of money and hope it gets used for a good purpose. There are channels and accounts set up through DOC that are only for specific groups, like LGBTI Peer Support. But you can also send them to me as an individual and I will donate them to our library, where I can legally share it with the entire LGBT community here. I've already donated over 50 books and just absolutely can't wait to get more. In addition to books we will be asking for donations for next years Pride event here in prison where I intend to have a banquet for about 250 people. I have to have the funds raised in advance though. 

We need letters and cards that are encouraging.

I need someone to build this website from a blog to an actual site with tabbed pages. I'd like a home page, a links page, a projects page and a few others where I can still have this blog but also have fixed and focused information that is easy to find and direct people to. I need someone to help here, either by doing it themselves or helping fund it. 

So you see, what we need is help, these are things you can do. I need people who can look up stats and research and send it to me. News on gay movements and the latest in genetic research information, things that will affirm our identities were designed and not chosen.
I need to know of accepting religious places for LGBT people. Christian and other religions.

Yeah, simple things that are impossible for me, but that's why we have Solidarity, right?

Don't be silent, you can make a difference and help a whole bunch of people with some simple things. I promise I won't bite!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Faggot Who Knows His Place: Only Accepted When I'm Submissive

I've seen Roots. The slave owners family think its cute when the slave wants to read. As if that's impossible. So I imagine them being thrown a book, because what's the harm, their never going to read anyhow.

Then the slave learns to read anyway. But quietly, once the owner finds out it clicks, it registers. They're capable of education. That would mean they are equal. The implication there is that one man has wrongfully and shamefully held down another man and forced his entire race into bondage because of his own laziness and entitlement. His shortcomings, he pinned on another man to make up for.

Fast forward to today and here I am in prison a gay white man. I took a program and learned a little. Everyone thought it was cute. The fag found his voice, how charming. Then this fag fixed a few problems within himself. "Oh," they say, "good for you" . Then when I say "I can help others like me," they throw me a book, like the slave owner did. The throw it by saying "sure, send me what you got". Then people begin to talk. Because I did. People realized I wasn't kidding or giving up. So I was discluded from any more programs. While others are chosen and brought in, I have to ask. While others are so busy they can't keep up, I have to beg. Yet I am consistently forgotten, except by those who know the struggle. Who have experienced discrimination.

People, listen to me when I say that yeah, you may have to bang on a door to get it to open, but don't stop banging. Keep kicking it because people out there who have equality already are realizing that they have held us down, they are realizing that we are human and we are coming...we are coming to face them so we can help our people come out of oppression and experience life as equal. They don't want to open doors for us because then they'll have to look us in the eye and their shame will haunt them. They know its wrong. Only willing to teach me so long as I know my place among the lowly.

I'll keep banging because I'm tired of being the submissive faggot who knows his place. I do know my place, right next to you and I won't stop until I get there. My voice, our voice will be heard. Or I will spend my last breath trying.

With Love & A Determined Heart
Jeff Utnage

To know more about my struggle in here please write me at:

Jeff Utnage 823469
H4-B-130- U
Stafford Creek Correction Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520

Or email me through, you'll need my name and DOC# which is Jeff Utnage. 823469

Beauty Through Wounds

Ever had a near death experience, one that made you appreciate life again? Perhaps something less traumatic then that? I've noticed something about trauma for many people I run across, its a source of strength. 

Almost everyone I know has endured some sort of trauma in their life. Whether its loss, war, abuse or something else. In fact, I think everyone I know has. 

I think the need to draw strength from our pains has stemmed from not wanting them to shape us negatively. Not wanting the events in our lives to completely define us in a single way. 

Everyone's idea of trauma is different. Everyone's ability to cope with it is even more different. No need to be a psychology expert to know that. There is no cookie cutter way to deal with our wounds. But I find that nearly everyone I talk to wants to be a better person or use it to help better someone. Many want to use their emotional and physical scars to love. Isn't that something?

I think that's beautiful. Its tragic the amount of suffering and pain our world is experiencing, but its beautiful to see that so many are trying to love more as a result. 

Maybe I'm just a fool with a pair of filtered lenses seeing what I want to see, but that's what I see. Funny because before I came to prison all I seen was hate and death and pain. Everyone was an enemy. Now, through my wounds, I am the opposite side of that coin and its stunningly beautiful over here...

With Love
Jeff Utnage
Why I Believe The Things I Do

A new friend asked me recently, who is not gay, "I don't get why you believe in God, doesn't the bible bother you?". I thought this was a good question so I want to address it. 

First, everyone has a point in which they would believe in a Supreme entity such as God. Some point could be reached in which they would say to themselves "OK, I've seen Him, He's real". Whatever that 'proof' would be. Having said that, my 'proof' was provided and that's it. I won't go back because if I said there was no God I feel I would be lying.

This is why I am Christian because I have no choice but to believe in God, because to me He's proven His Himself. I understand that not everyone gets that. Cool, no problem. But as for me and my temple (my body), I worship God. So whatever the Bible says I have to negotiate through the brain of a gay man. I believe in God, I also believe He made me gay, period. 

I am not a mistake or the result of a curse. I was made intentionally and for a purpose and I could care less what anyone has to say about it. Let alone some sad screecher preacher who uses the Word of my God to promote segregation and make refusing service to Gods creations OK. Good luck reconciling that to Him btw, the first question He's going to ask in regards to that is "How is refusing to serve love?". (I am referring to pastors who refuse to marry same sex couples or businesses that refuse to serve same sex marriages or events).

For many people this topic is a hot one, but for me its mine to sort out. I have found a lot of peace and joy and personal growth from God and I know I have more coming. Why wouldn't I want everyone I meet to have that to? But I am not naive to think I have the ability to prove God to anyone.

So for those who don't believe, I love you and I want to be your friend, not because I want to turn you, but because I need friends. Real friends.

To those that believe, I love you and I want to be your friend. Because I need to be able to grow as a follower of Christ and the church that's within this prison is run by a man who promotes the hatred of homosexuals, albeit passively, but that's where I'm at. I need real friends.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Are You A One Flower Bee Or Do You Sample The Whole Field?

Since gay marriage has only recently been made legal its still hard for many people to view a long term relationship among gays realistic. The stigma has been smoky bars, bath houses and seedy movie theaters. Long relationships lasted the whole weekend. Obviously there were exceptions to this. 
I don't know how it was back in the seventies except for what I was told but the picture I get is basically a free love mind frame. 
I bring this up because dating is hard for me because my mindset is driven to establish commitment. The one flower type. But I haven't dated almost at all. Its hard for me to wrap my mind around a one night affair and be OK with it. While many men I talk to are all to happy to sleep with someone and their name is rarely important. Sex is the objective and whatever needs to be done to make that happen. 
I do admit I have fell victim to the mindset of instant gratification. But I still long for a long term relationship. In fact I'd rather have that then sex. The sex being a result of our connection rather then the objective.
I just have to wonder about my mindset being the norm. It seems I am absolutely in the minority. Some guys I run into are more apt to have a relationship so long as it involves sex. Whereas I am mainly interested in the emotional attachment and security the relationship provides.

I wish I could do a poll and find out just how many gay men think like me? Maybe I'm broken?

I know that one night stands leave me feeling used and I don't like that feeling. Like I was someone's prey. I don't want to change this part of me either. I like the fact that I know what I'm looking for out of a relationship. I've been told though that this outlook is very "womanlike" of me. Not a typical homosexual mentality.

Just wondering if that's true or not?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Love For A Thousand Husbands

When you have a spouse you share intimacy with them. This means things that no one else gets. We tend to have this exclusivity complex where we claim ownership or entitlement to all our partners intimacies. But what if you loved a thousand men? 
From a religious standpoint this sounds absurd. From a romance standpoint it sounds just as bad. After all were trained to love "the one". So we reserve our love for one person and then when we think we got them, we unleash the love gush! Drown em in love. 
But consider this. I'm not talking about sex with a thousand men or dating at all. I'm talking about giving of yourself freely to all you meet. 
Keep your marriage bed and vows, but know that love means much more then sex. Love a thousand men the same way you would love your spouse. Listen to them, help them, troubleshoot with them, help them be better people. What if you did that with everyone you met? What if one person gets suddenly loved by ten people at once? 
Its a dreamers notion I admit, but its one that I am practicing. I am giving myself to all who need it and its only making me stronger. There has been no negativity. For those who are already married, you should do it together. That way it keeps trust between you. Its a scary thing to have your partners love go elsewhere, but know that there is still apart of him no one else gets but you. 

I can't stress this enough, there are people you see everyday that truly believe that NOBODY loves them. What if your the only one that ever does? Think about that for a moment...

With Love

Jeff Utnage

I Have A Challenge For You, Find A Positive Quality In Every Person In Your Life AND Tell Them

The real challenge here is coming up with something genuinely positive that a person might not know about themselves. So that rules out things like commenting on someone's looks and things of the sort. 
I mean things like managerial skills or being able to stay at an even temperament under stress. 
I have to work with some gang members. Guys that revel in violence and promote preying on the weak. I got to talking to one of them one day and discovered that he doesn't like bullies. Strange that a man here for murder and nearly proud of it, doesn't like bullies. So this caught my attention and I began to see another side of him. Then I noticed something odd, I realized that no matter what was going on, no matter how much stress was going on he stayed happy and calm and was always able to set everyone around him at ease. Everywhere he goes he makes people feel confident and happy he's here. These are great qualities for a Project Manager and if he applied himself he could really be a great asset to a large company who needs things to get done on time and properly. 
So I told him so. Then I let it ride. He seemed uninterested. Then about one month later he pulls me aside privately and starts asking questions about where to get schooling and if he can do it from prison and if his criminal history would be a problem. 
Do you know what blows me away most about him? No one has ever told him he'd be good at anything but gang banging...ever. I was the first. 
Here is this man with an amazing skill set and he never thought it could be used outside of gang life. But in reality he's Fortune 100 material and he's been thrown away by everyone he knows. Well, he won't be thrown away by me.
So my challenge is simple, everyone you know has something about them that can be nurtured into success for them. What if no one they new told them and what if by you telling them they have a wonderful quality they don't commit a crime? What if...You just might change someone's life. 
Once you've told them, be prepared to lead them to a place that can help them develop that. A college, a mentor something useful. Don't lead them into darkness and then leave them. Help them do some legwork. Its a small price to pay to take an hour and help change a life.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Challenging Traditional Masculinity: What Do Gays Have To Prove?

I don't typically like or even appreciate the machismo act that guys put on for each other. Instead of a warm greeting its a crouching boxers pose and a couple of left jabs. Just to make sure they both know their men. I used to feel obligated to like MMA or fighting in general. Men don't cry or show empathy. Men despise fruity cocktails and like raw meat and muscle cars and blah blah blah...
Truthfully, I don't like any of those things. I prefer a smile and a hug to a left jab and a joke any day. I don't like to punch things and even more to the point I don't like angry people. Traditional masculinity dictates that men get aggressive and beat things. That's the masculinity I was taught. 
Get up in the morning and its OK to be angry because why? Your a man and you scratch your balls until you have your first cup of coffee? Give me a break! That's a pathetic excuse. " Men aren't happy in the morning"...what???
Ever since I discovered that I had a choice, I am exercising that right honey, believe me! I have discovered that I love mornings, and that I have bangs...can you believe it, men have bangs! I prefer shaved arms and pits and I think emotionally. Yeah, like, I cry and stuff. I wonder how satin feels and if I'd look better in pink or coral? 
I could care less about horsepower or torque, but I know how to change my oil and even R & R my own transmission if I wanted to. I just have no desire to. 

I guess what I'm getting at is I don't like the box of this is strictly men stuff, this is strictly women stuff. Women already have their preset roles and functions. Things like childbirth and nursing. That's a women's role, why? Because men don't have breasts that produce milk and the last time I checked I don't have a way to carry a child inside. But how did we go from that's the main defining difference to were pissed off and angry and women are soft and nurturing? 
I don't want to wear a metal helmet and and drive a tractor and crush beer cans. I want to paint my nails and cook and help people move. Whats wrong with that? 
I want to be me. And more importantly I want you to be you. So that when we meet we get the best of one another. What's so awful about that?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Getting Back In The Swing Of Things

I do a lot of writing and when I can't get into my creative space it worries me. Typically I get this problem when I encounter high stress situations that require an immense amount of thought to get through safely. Some people can ease through this and go right back to doing whatever it was they were doing. I have a tendency to come down extra hard on myself because I don't like it when I encounter high stress situations. I tend to be extremely critical of myself. 
I think that giving credit where credit is due is healthy though. So, recently I encountered a series of high stress situations and the good news is I got through them just fine. I will say that in times past I would shut down and self destruct and everyone who believed in me would get let down, again. Not this time, this time I made progress. I held my composure all the the way through. Now, on to the critical aspects. 
I find it difficult to concentrate on anything that requires me to be creative. I am writing several short stories and have several side projects for various groups here and eah take a measure of concentration. Something I am currently lacking. Perhaps its something else, I don't know exactly. The will is present but when I sit down my head clutters up with other things I've gone through recently. I can't seem to shake them.
I do know this, I am not giving up. I am a driven man and will not accept defeat. 
So I am going to put one foot in front of the other no matter how difficult it might be and I am going to do whatever it takes to get back on track.
A major part of my stress is I have two different instances where my crime is being asked about. I have no problem talking about my past. I am ready to admit I made some terrible mistakes that I wish I could take back. I am however extremely nervous about being hated for those said mistakes and even worse, that the world will believe that I am not worth their time. That they would believe I am unchangeable. One of my biggest fears currently. I am already a changed man. I welcome help and engage in everything that might shed light on how to get my future self as far away from the man I used to be as possible.
Nevertheless, even though I fear what I am about to do, I will do it anyway because in order to get a different result you must do something different.
So I'll keep going, I'll talk about what I've done and what I'm doing to never do it again and welcome dialogue that will prevent someone else from doing it.

Getting back in the swing of things is hard but either you start now or you start later. I aim to start now.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Out N Proud

Being out and proud is our right as human beings. Its not an American thing or a cultural thing. We were created this way and we should be proud were unique. Being proud of who you are shouldn't be stifled.
By being out were not "shoving" anything down anyone's throat. I irks me when I hear someone say "I stopped watching the show last night because they just had to throw a gay in there, do they have to put them everywhere?" Then they proceed to exclaim how Hollywood is pushing the gay agenda and oversaturating the public for acceptance. I beg to differ. They portraying life. If it wasn't realistic then you wouldn't work with someone who is LGBT or live in the same place as one.
Here's the joyous part of being out, were able to do everything! We have no limits and when were out and people know who we are then it gives them opportunity to strike a conversation. This leads to the discovery of similarities.
We should be shameless in who we are. Don't dilute your personality for the bigotry of someone else. We are wonderfully crafted human beings and God made us so intentionally.
Were not mistakes
Were not cursed
We were not meant to be stifled by the hatred or intolerance of another.
So be excited about life. When the bad and hurtful things come your way don't allow them to steal the joy of the wonderful. Pain happens sweetie, but that's why you have God and other Out N Proud family like me and those around you. So that you can be reminded that its seasonal.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

PS. when you do encounter hate, glitter them. Poof! You've been glitter bombed!

There Is A Science Behind Church: If You Don't Feel Good Being There, You Aren't Likely To Continue To Return

Church leaders need to hear this message from me, church goers need to hear this to. Even those who despise the church need to hear this.

Do you remember being in church and falling asleep. Or arguing with your kids about going. Do you have to talk yourself into going? Is every Sunday a hassle? 
I want to remind you what Christianity is. Its love. God designed us to react to stimulation. Remember that little thing called science? Yeah, He made that too. We react to negative stimulation and positive. 
Like when we get burned one time or even feel heat from the stove we are careful for the rest of our lives. Fearful of being burned. That's not a coincidence. Likewise when we feel loved and appreciated and useful we will always react the same way. We will seek one and reject the other.
Pastors, when you teach the Word are you displaying Gods love? Or are you spewing His wrath? How are you making your church feel? When Jesus encountered the adulterous woman, how did she feel when she left His presence. It certainly wasn't rejection, was it? No, it was love. Jesus displayed love. So should you. 
As people we are always going to gravitate to what makes us feel good. This is to our fault. As stewards of God you are to stimulate our minds to associate God with Love. This will always draw us nearer to Him. We will gravitate to what makes us feel good, remember? 
If we come to church and we fall asleep, or get bored or we're always feeling rejected or not welcome (which Jesus NEVER did and neither should YOU) then you should expect that your flock will not completely follow because when something doesn't feel good, we tend to avoid it. 
God has a way of dealing with us that makes us feel loved, even when were chastised. But it won't EVER be by your hand, always HIS. Only God knows our heart and its weak points. Only He knows when were ready. Your job is to instill HIS love inside of us. 

Shame on you all for failing your people. Correct it and correct it now before you drive us away completely. And we wonder why the church is lacks the key ingredient, love.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

What Does Real Freedom Look Like To You?

For some freedom is the outdoors or the open road. For others its gun rights or other liberties. Freedom for most looks like something. What does your freedom look like? 
For me freedom doesn't mean no more prison. For me its more a state of mind. 
Have you ever walked into a room and new immediately that there was hostility? Maybe feel it in the air? Since I assume that anyone who reads this is gay or LGBT somehow I assume that you have felt that fairly often and new it was directed at you. Imagine that everyday...I don't want to feel that anymore. It hurts and I'm tired of trying to cope with it. The stress of knowing that no matter where you go your hated is much to bear and I'm tired of just coping. I want to change it. 
Freedom for me looks like going to work with people who want to work with me. Living with people who want to live with or near me. Tipping my hat to an officer or even thanking them for their service, freedom from fear. Freedom for me looks like never having to adapt to my environment again. Freedom for me looks like friends everywhere I go and never having to wonder if I need to fight. Its never having to size someone up, just in case.

I know this, its up to me to change my atmosphere. Its my world and I intend to build it. Will you?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Not Afraid To Fight: Don't Mistake Meekness For Weakness

Standing your ground in the face of confrontation is scary sometimes. I don't like violence or violent people but where I'm at, this is where violence congregates...its prison.
We as gays need to be diligent to stay focused on our goals and future. But in the process we will run into opposition. We cannot be afraid to confront it directly and head on. 
The potential consequences is what people who manipulate use against you. No one wants to fight the big guy because its assumed his size is what leads to more pain. Bigger muscles, bigger pain. Other tactics are exposing a fault or a weak spot in someone. Or a potential social stigma that's possible, that's when fear sets in. Fear of consequences.
Holding a bad deed over your head or whatever. This is why we need to be transparent, so that when someone tries to use something against us, there's no hiding. Its already out there, there's nothing to air. Which leaves only social and physical consequences. Pain is temporary and you can always make new friends. Neither are good enough excuses to live in fear.
You have goals and if fear of failure is keeping you from trying, get on it. Face your fears head on. 
Be meek and humble. Love with reckless abandonment. But don't be weak. As LGBT+ people we are strong and have faced harsh conditions. Some of us live in a constant shadow that our world could be gone tomorrow if we say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. But when you live humbly and with love and meekness then you have nothing to have held against you. Live without fear.

Don't allow others to mistake your meekness for weaknesses. Stand up for yourself. Sure you might get a little dirty, but living in fear is not an option.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Do You Know What You Need?

As adults we have a tendency to be self sufficient. Which isn't a bad thing. However, we all have faults, we all have something to work for. Let's use Olympians as an example. 
Olympian hopefuls know that they need to train. They know they need hard work. They know they want it bad, they have a big heart for it. But they can only go so far in training before they know they need help. So they get a coach or trainer to help find their mistakes and give them the proper tools for success. The coach didn't medal, the Olympian did. The Olympian did the work and fulfilled their job, the coach did theirs. 
Its perfectly acceptable to get help. But you have to know what you want. That's your job. Only you can decide. You also have to accept that you aren't perfect and though you may have talent, you still have room to improve.
Something else we do as adults is think were to old to accomplish much else. This is our lane, were going to stay in it and be this. But you don't have to. The beauty about age is experience. Its valuable and needed for success. 
We can reinvent ourselves again and again. There is no limit to what we can do. We just need to be willing to get help, find out what we lack and begin improving. 
So, do you know what you need?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Should LGBT People Be Focused On Intolerance Or Should We Be Focused On Coping With It?

We've all felt the sting of intolerance. Whether it be at school or work or even here in prison. As gay men and women we deal with it on nearly a daily occurance. 
A big part of me wants to reach out for help in dealing with the individuals who practice bigotry. But an even bigger part of me realizes that my own personal immediate need is coping with it. I want employers to be intolerant of bigoted employees. To have a zero tolerance policy that is strictly enforced to protect harassment. But while this is being slowly adopted and taken seriously we are suffering damage from the words of those who haven't caught up yet.
Theres a saying that goes "Give a man a fish and he eats for the night. Teach a man to fish and he eats for life."

We as LGBT people are going to run into harsh views for the rest of our lives and we need to know how to cope with that. You can't remove every hater immediately, it takes time. In the mean time we need to be sharing techniques with one another to not internalize the words of others.
I don't mean "Brush it off, don't think about it". That's much to general. I mean specifics. As someone comes to you with situations they are facing they are hoping for solutions. If I come to you and tell you about the jerk who says I can't be a boxer because I'm gay and people will be to afraid to fight me because all gays have AIDS (yeah, that still is a real live belief...), I'm telling you because I need to know how to deal with that. I want your wisdom.

Teach me to fish please...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

The Gay Lens

Its my preference to be around people I identify with the most. Is that your preference? Would you be most comfortable when you knew that everyone around you thought on a similar basis? 
When I view the world its through a gay lens. I interpret things as a homosexual. When I see something or think about something its through my own vantage point. Which is somewhat different from a straight guys. 
But in what ways are we different? Sex? Dating? Literature? Music perhaps? We can like the same things, that's not what I mean. I mean this, a straight guy hears Fergies new song and bumps it because maybe he thinks she hot and it turns him on to hear her. A gay man hears that same song and bumps it because the words apply to him. Gay men want to be sexy, we want to be wanted and some even want to be objectified to a certain extent, thank you social media. 
Another example is socializing. When a straight guy meets new people many insecurities may come into play. Breath, looks, attire etc. But his acceptance based on his sexuality never comes into play in most situations. With many LGBT people its often one of the first factors. So we will approach job interviews and similar encounters different. 
Likewise when we socialize together we talk about normal things. Not all gay men are into skinny jeans and not all gay men have a thing for turning out straight guys. But its nice to be around people that are uniquely viewing the world through a gay lens. 
Your struggles are the similar. Challenges are unique to us. Like most blacks recognize that their struggle is unique to them. A young black man can rarely learn to deal with his struggles from someone who has never faced them.

As a community we need to support one another. We are all so different, none of us are cookie cutter gays. We walk all paths in life, we just do it as gay men and women. Athletes to politicians. Hair dressers to fighters. Screw ups to slobs and everything inbetween all those things.
Our differences from heterosexual people is real and tangible. We do see things different. Contrary to popular belief its not always checking out straight guys junk. Or sex at all. We think about everything that straights do. But perhaps with a little more flare.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Should Gays Fight For Transgender Rights?

Interesting dynamic that separation has occurred for some on transgender acceptance within the gay community. I suppose some of that stems from transgendered people wanting to be recognized as their internal gender and not a man turning into a woman, for example. I get that this would make them straight and not technically connected to homosexuality.
I get that some want to be labeled as nothing other then their gender, and some don't even want that label. I get it. I support you. The problem with that is this; as people come to terms with themselves later in life they seek help with coping. In order to seek help they need to be able to find like individuals who have direct experience with their situation. Their mentality, their struggle. A woman who was born a woman in all physical and mental and spiritual respects may empathize with a woman born into a mans body but will hardly be able to say she's experienced with that emotional toll. Nor would gays for that matter. Only people who have been there done that. For this purpose, a label is demanded. Not for separation purposes, though with categories of anything judgement inevitably follows, but for purposes of identification amid peers. Your peers need to be able to find you in a crowd.
Gays and transgender people need to be there for one another not because we directly understand the other but because we are a small minority group as it is and the enemy wants us broken into smaller bite size pieces for easier destruction. If we split now our momentum for equality will be begin to splinter too, this is unacceptable on any level.
But this same mindset needs to be adopted by all peoples. Not just LGBT. LGBT needs to support #blacklivesmatter and vice versa. The same with any group who seeks justice and equal representation. 

We all become victims when those around us fall due to oppression and bigotry against any group. We all bare the burden of violence and bloodshed when we stand by as passive witnesses in our communities. This means allowing segregation, isolation, the destruction of cultures within our communities. Stand up and help. Its not up to the police or the government or your .45. Its up to your heart and creativity. Its up to all of us.

Love and love in abundance.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Your Enough. I Have Something To Say

I have a message for all of you. Something you should have heard over and over again by now. Your enough. Your good enough. Repeat it to yourself out loud, tell the people around you your reading something so you don't look nuts:

I'm enough
I'm good enough right now

You shouldn't have to hear this from a stranger but I'm glad your hearing it from me. You have doubts about your worth, your intelligence, your competency, your datability, your lovability. Let me tell you, your good enough for all those things. 
Do you know how many people I've run across that secretly think they aren't good enough for love? Or for a promotion? They allow their lack of confidence to hold them back, their lack of self worth. Not to be confused with ego. So listen to me carefully. Your OK. Everything is all right. Your good enough and if you think you lack something like a character trait, guess what? You can learn it quickly, you just have to close your eyes and jump in. Just do it. 
Your love for the world is hidden, your skills as a beautiful human being my children are going to need. Not just mine, all of our children need interaction with people who know that they have something to offer, themselves.

So let me be one of hopefully thousands of people who tell you, your good enough.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

What I'm Learning About LGBT Rights From The Civil Rights Movement(s).

I'm reading a book called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Its not a book I would typically read but am glad that I am. Its captivating and I find myself wanting to dig deeper into the message. 
One of the main themes so far is civil rights. Particularly black rights and the discrimination that is still prevalent in our judicial system. I read this as a white male who grew up in Tornado Ally hopscotching both sides of the Missouri River until I was 15, when we moved to Washington State. I am also a gay male who has experienced serious discrimination of my own on several fronts. So I parallel my current fight with other civil rights "fights". 
This realization that I have much in common with the other minority communities (which if we look at ourselves collectively, the straight white male is the minority) has caused me to start studying their history. Where better to start then in my prisons law library.
Which, made me feel dumb because I know nothing of law and I don't understand what's going on. I look for defined law terms and it sends me to specific cases. Cases in which I don't know how to interpret. But I furrow my brow and scribble notes so I don't feel completely inadequate. 
What I have managed to figure out is that we are revising standards that were written for a debased mindset. Let me explain. 
Interracial coupling. Some courts deemed it criminal and called interracial children "mongrels". This applies to me because all three of my children are interracial. I dare anyone to refer to them as mongrels... This was the viewpoint of our lawmakers and it stemmed from the same men who followed Christianity and Puritanical beliefs. They believed in race purity, the proof is in their viewpoint above. 
I mean to say this, if our ( I mean Americans) can evolve past our forefathers beliefs on race purity then I believe we can evolve past beliefs in LGBT discrimination. Don't believe its happening? Talk to any number of correction officers in Washington state, the most liberal state in the country. While many are equal opportunists there are a few infectious individuals who hang onto ancient beliefs that LGBT people are less then and a disease on society. To them, having to recognize me as equal is just as absurd and unlikely as abolishing slavery. With this difference being African Americans cannot conceal their skin color whereas LGBT people can sometimes remain undetectable. 
The same racism that plagues the black community and Asian community and Muslim community is also being practiced against the LGBT community. 

That's what I'm learning about. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

What Is A Hero? Who Is A Hero?

In short, you. Hero's don't fly around the globe in tights and have supernatural powers. Except maybe really thick skin.
A hero is someone willing to stand up for what is right when no one else will. Its parents and pastors, its lawyers and administration, its random people who take on more then they can handle to help someone in need. Its the nurses who comfort, the secretary's who slide your resume to the top, its the people who have the ability to look beyond there situation and help new matter the consequences. Even if it interrupts their dinner, or gets them fired, or people hate them.
This is anyone. In the mid 1900's it was any African American willing to challenge corruption and greed and any other person, regardless of race, who stood with them. Today my own personal heroes are those who challenge bigotry in a system that still embraces segregation. Walk into any prison anywhere in the U.S. and you will find segregation is used as a means of control. My heroes are the people within this system who openly challenge its bigotry and use of punishment on top of punishment. People who realize that change in us is possible. They find us and nurture us professionally to look within ourselves and challenge our circumstances. Its up to us to rise above what we were and become what we ought. My heroes are the ones who see that in us. In me.

I am going to be that for as many people as possible. Not so I can be labeled a hero, but because the only way I can honor those who helped me is to perpetuate that kindness forward. 

I will spend the rest of my life looking for the greatness in everyone I meet and assisting them to cultivate that in themselves. I hope that when I die, when I leave this plain the footprint I leave is one that most people can say was kind. Despite my past.

Sometimes a hero is someone willing to write when no one else will, or talk on the phone. Send a book or come visit. Someone who treats me like a human being who is still worth their time.

I would like to point out that I have written every LGBT based group outside of prison and none of them have even bothered to respond. Nothing, not a word. 

If you know of a LGBT support system who can offer assistance by providing materials or volunteering here in the prison or even just reading a letter from me please pass them my info. In the mean time I guess I'll just keep writing them and hopefully they'll get tired of throwing away my letters!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

The Difference Between Christianity And Religion: What I Mean When I Refer To Christians

A true Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus the Christ. Whether you believe those teachings are untouched and revised by mankind is besides the point. That's what a Christian is. My personal view on Christianity and what Christ's teachings really were are generally simple. I believe He gave many teachings but they are summed up in two main points: 1) Love God with all your mind, heart, soul and strength and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. By doing these you fulfill His will and the Ten commandments given by God to Moses. This is a Christian. If you do these two things and believe that Christ died and was resurrected to heaven and in so doing He became propitiation for all of your wrongdoings. If you believe this by faith then you are saved making yourself a Christian.

Then there's everything else. Evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, Baptists, Assembly Of God, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Mormon...none of which are Christianity. Sure, they may follow a Christian foundation but as soon as they dropped the "I'm a Christian" and state "I'm a Baptist" ,or whatever other religion they claim, they are saying Christ's teachings weren't enough, His commands weren't good enough for me, I'm going to add more. Then they became whatever doctrine they follow. 

A Christian doesn't judge because he isn't allowed to. A Christian doesn't hate anyone, even nonbelievers because they aren't allowed to. A Christian would never claim to have the Bible completely figured out because a real Christian knows that human knowledge is always evolving and God does whatever He wants because He's God. Christians can't say LGBT people are anything other then Gods creation because a real Christian knows that they aren't God, who can speak for God? Who is His representor? As far as I know there was only One, He came Himself in flesh form and was named Jesus. Seems to me He spoke for Himself just fine. It had nothing to do with segregation and hierarchy that made anyone feel second class, it had everything to do with love.

In my posts I will reference "Christians" and its sometimes not correct. Real Christian people would never discriminate or protect their right to refuse services. God warns us of imposters in the end times who have a form of Godliness and use His name, but they never knew Him truly. These are those who preach against homosexuality. When I reference the imposter Christians I will start defining which group I mean. Because Christians, real Christians love us. 

Don't be afraid of Christianity, God loves you just fine. Its wolves behind the pulpit you have to worry about. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

LGBT Hate Free Churches: Where is Your Safe Zone?

If you know of a good Christian church that is safe for LGBT people to go to, please post it in a comment here for people to know about. LGBT need safe zones to worship openly. Where is your safe zone? Where is your hate free church?

This isn't just for Christians either, this is for all religions who detest hate and segregation and openly embrace all of our Creators creations.

Its time you start sharing your knowledge of where LGBT people can openly and safely practice their religion without risk of persecution for their sexuality.

If your church preaches that homosexuality is a disease I encourage you to leave it and attend elsewhere. Starve The Hateful Church!!!

With Love

Jeff Utnage

I'll go first, All Pilgrims Christian Church in Seattle, WA in Capital Hill is LGBT friendly, your safe there...