Thursday, March 30, 2017

Vendetta Against Gangs: Prison Or Otherwise

I hate gangs. It's not just that gangs are violent, it's the entire lifestyle. Many gang members are raised in that lifestyle to idolize those they fear.

Gangs serve two masters; money and power. As far as many of them are concerned you cannot have one without the other. What I legitimately hate about them is the victimization of the weak. They will exploit whoever they have to exploit in order to accomplish whatever it is they want. Pimping the neighborhood girl, selling drugs to the kids down the street and killing those who get in their way.

Being in prison has alerted me to the mentality behind this culture of people. Make no mistakes, it is a culture. A culture that was created out of fear and resumes in fear.

That is the driving force behind my vendetta, I refuse to fear anymore. I hate fear more than any person or gang. That's the truth.

Fear is crippling and consuming, two things that are counterproductive to success. I want my fellow LGBT brothers and sisters to be successful and not have to raise their children in fear. I want them to be productive and create happy memories with their neighbors.

Apart of my life's goals are to repay society for my wrongs by finding ways to reduce victimization. I will start by finding men and women like me who were in high risk situations and get them the help they need before they create a victim, in any sense. Once that is established and has a life of it's own, meaning that it runs without my persistence, I will start working with people to target gangs.

Imagine a world without gangs and without sexual assaults. I have been called foolish to think that it could ever end. However, I would reply with it's foolish to do nothing about it.

What would you rather happen: a loved one get assaulted sexually, or, not. Because the difference could literally be a program like the one that I have purposed to create. What if my program prevents just one sexual assault? Is that worth it? I think so, and to be honest, I don't care who doesn't agree...if it was easy it would have been done already, right??

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wanted: Drag Mother For This Up And Coming Queen!

I have always wanted to do drag. When I was a little boy I was introduced to the movie "To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar", If you are not familiar, I am deducting Princess points!!

When I watched that movie it was like watching the bible for me. It was everything that I wanted to know about life. Dressing in drag just seemed like my calling and now that I am a grown man, nothing much has changed.

One problem, I have never walked in heels and I have never applied make-up, in large amounts. So here I am thinking that maybe I need to find a drag mentor, someone to show me the ropes of covering up facial hair, or perhaps other tips, like where does a guy shop for heels that fit a size 12 men's foot? What's better, muscular and fit or not working out? I just don't know.

I know this, I don't know much but I am going to try anyway. I do not want to be that broken heeled, masucline drag hoochie who sits at the bus stop with her wig on wrong and her panties showing. Not a look I want. I need someone to show me a thing or three and help me get to know what I need to know about looking pretty.

Anyone know of any Drag Mothers out there who would be willing to help?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, March 27, 2017

Marching Where Your Not Welcome: Are You Willing To Go Where Your Hated?

I remember when I finally got to go to the first Pride event here in prison. Different racial and religious groups tried to sign up for the event first so that they could block all of us LGBT from going. It worked for the most part I might add. Out of 250 spaces, only 45 inmates arrived. The rest of them were people that hated us and it was their own form of protest.

However something beautiful happened as we all walked to the event, which was on the other side of the compound, we had to walk past every unit where everyone could see us. People were banging on their windows and coming out of the unit to heckle us, even the staff that was on the breezeway was yelling derogatory comments.

So what we did was we walked shoulder to shoulder and stopped walking and began marching. It just felt like that was appropriate. We were no longer attending an event that was designed for us, rather, we were marching for a cause that the facility was not happy about.

That little bit of marching felt good though. Which brings me to the question in the blog title, are you willing to go to where you are not welcome to march for LGBT rights. Its easy to go to a district of a city where you are already welcomed in (not to diminish the effectiveness of Gay Pride Parades, because they are amazing!!!), it's something else to go to a city or town where you are not welcomed.

I would like to go to cities that are historically anti-LGBT and organize marches there, give speeches and hold rallies. That is part of my plan. Maybe sit out on the sidewalk of churches that preach against homosexuality and hold a sign that says "Jesus Loves Even The Judgmental Hypocrite's!"

I am not afraid nor will I allow myself to fear another man so long as I live. I hate fear and I aim to get rid of it!!!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Facing Fears: Do You Fear Getting Attacked For Your Sexuality?

Have you ever been attacked either verbally or physically for you sexual identity? How about unexpectedly for any reason? Does domestic abuse ring a bell?

Being victimized and feeling helpless to do anything about it is an awful feeling that I do not wish on anyone. If you have experienced this then you know exactly what I am talking about.

I have been moving on from my own experiences and what is most difficult is knowing that at one point I made someone else feel the exact same way that someone else made me feel. That makes me sick...

I can tell you that at one point I was so scared that my bowels emptied and my throat would not swallow anything, not even water for nearly three days. That, in case you didn't know, is a result of your amygdala dumping chemicals into your blood stream and preparing you physically for fight, flight, or freeze. Your body diverts energy away from your stomach and gut to send the resources into other vital areas of your body so that you can maintain energy during fight or flight. Kinda neat to think about in that context. Sucks that I actually experienced it.

The problem isn't the event itself, the problem is afterward when my threat response goes off without warning. Something triggers a chemical response, which triggers a physical response and then it takes me hours to refocus on the current moment. I hate that one incident caused so much pain...

I have this thing where I want to face all my fears. In my case I cannot, I would be very unsafe.

So, the question then becomes, how in the hell do I move on with life without letting these people ruin my life anymore. I say that I forgive them and I try to move on, and that placates me for a few days...that is, until I see someone who reminds me of them and then I fear all over again for a little while. Then I pray to God to help me forgive and thus the process repeats all over again.

Any advice from anyone who has actually done it???

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fear In The LGBT Community

Being a victim isn't cool. No matter what you have gone through, no matter how traumatic it was the best revenge is success.

Not the taunting, in your face flaunting cash success, no. Success that says "I am still happy and yeah, you hurt me, but I got past it because you don't have that type of power over me"

Be strong...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Believe That Your Destiny Is A Real Thing: Fate Won't Let This Queer Quit

There was a time in my life when I was this pathetic tick that latched onto others feelings and emotions. Living vicariously through their happiness, or most often, their misery.

Then I found myself with everything gone and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I had to find myself without the influence of anyone or anything. Just me and my thoughts, I guess prison is really good for that.

When I had a traumatic experience and was moved to another facility for safety reasons I decided that it would be best to lay low and just chill. However, it would seem that fate has other plans.

That is the difference between what you were born to do and what you were wanting to do. If you simply want to do something you can quit it, if you were destined to do something your body won't let you quit.

I have been unable to sleep and my stomach sours and I can barely hold down food. That is, until I began advocating again. I decided to stop being so open and "out", just recluse into a corner somewhere and maybe learn to use oil pastels, or maybe write a novel. Maybe just lay in my bed and get skinny, cause I just don't want to eat.

But my body wouldn't let me do that. My brain refused to shut down, my body won't lay still. The noise in my head got so loud that the only thing that calms it down is when I begin mentoring and fighting for my cause of equality in the prison system. When I pick up that torch of freedom and begin enabling others to help me carry it and perhaps pick up their own, then the noise stops. I sleep at night, I can hold down food.

The world seems scary but there comes a time when you have to say to fear "I don't care what you do to me, but I have to do this"

Start searching for you cause, at some point you will find it and life will suddenly make sense.

With Love

Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Prison Gays Being Gay For Survival: Shocking How Often It Happens

I run into men in prison that are "gay for the stay". That has always been the case though. Talk to any old school correction officer in any prison and they will tell you the same thing. They could often point out as the new arrivals stepped off the chain bus who was going to be victimized, who was going to be the predators and who was going to be assaulted...with good accuracy.

Today's prison is much of the same with one added feature, now there is the transgendered community with their own set of "trans for the stay".

This is disturbing in many ways. Though, I did hear a study that was done on TV about how this same occurrence can be recreated in the animal kingdom. For instance, they took one species of animal and removed the females from the society, I think it was gnats (correct me if I'm wrong, please), and what happened was that the more aggressive males dominated. While the less aggressive males of the community became feminized.

I wonder if that is the case here too. To be truthful, I don't care what another man does with or to his body. You want to wear a training bra so that the big guys in prison see you as a girl and are less likely to attack you, go for want me to help you with your eyebrows?

What I don't like is the attitude that comes with false faces. Whenever someone has secrets they fiercely defend them. They don't want anyone to know about their..whatever. Inevitably, that eats them alive and something that I have figured out (yeah, a little late in the game I admit) is that the LGBT community, especially the incarcerated, are full of anger.

I have repeatedly fallen victim to someones temper tantrums and I have to say that I am so sick of being the mature one. I don't like trying to bring a community together just so that they can hate me when I actually do it. Which has been the case in so many instances that it literally makes me sick to my stomach.

All I have wanted was to help my brothers and sisters in whatever kind of trouble they needed help with. I hated the fact that so many people hate us and have brought us to lows that are unthinkable at times. I never thought that my biggest adversary would be the queens and queers I was uniting...

I guess this is what activism looks like? Perhaps I am the fool...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, March 20, 2017

Slowing The Roll: Time For A Break

There is a proverb that says "A wise man forsees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished". To me that says that if you make a mistake once, don't do it again.

If you see history repeating itself in an unpleasant way, then stop.

I know that the LGBT community can be viciously selfish and cold. I thought at one point that I could fix that. Maybe I still can. But not at this moment.

Right now, I love my people, even the s**t-heads. Having said that, when you see something dramatic coming and you want no part of it...thank God for the power of choice.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Coffee Tastes Better From A Mug & Other Life Lessons

Prison isn't designed to be this welcoming place with all the comforts of home. It sucks. Anyone who thinks that prison is to easy, come spend a year or two here and see if you don't start thinking the exact opposite. Theoretically prison is this place where you come to rehabilitate. So long as nothing goes wrong...

As an inmate I gave up looking for creature comforts long ago. Things like eating with friends or masturbating without fear of getting a 'Self-Mutilation' infraction (yeah, that's a real thing and yeah, they freaking flip their lids if they catch you doing it...)

Ok, so that last one was a little on the extreme side, but it is definitely true and a creature comfort to many. But there is smaller things to, like drinking a cup of coffee from a coffee mug. We do not have those here because they are ceramic. Obviously ceramics can be used for dangerous weaponry, I get it. That is why when you come across a plastic mug that is the same size you cherish it automatically.

Drinking coffee from that little mug of goodness doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal. That is, until you aren't allowed to. At first you don't even miss it. I've drank a cup of coffee out of a paper bowl with cold water from my freshly cleaned toilet, LOL, and enjoyed every last drop! So when a little plastic coffee mug comes my way, I microwaved some water until it was piping hot, mixed it with my instant coffee crystals and just stared at it for a moment.

I sipped that coffee and enjoyed every single hot sip it offered and for those few minutes, I was normal again. I was sitting at home, my hair still a mess, maybe waiting for work or my morning shower before college. I could have had a husband who was hugging me warmly behind, making me giggle and consider staying home to snuggle all day.

I kept that warm mug between my fingers for as long as it held heat and remembered what it was like to be free, to be a real human being again.

A simple coffee cup...who knew...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Marriage Is Not The Equivalency Of Equality

I believe in the unity of marriage between two souls for the length of ones life. Having said that, I do not believe that being able to marry as a gay person is the same as being equal too.

In fact, there is a big part of me that is thinking the opposite as of late. It almost seems that we are allowed to marry now so that we resemble normalcy to the straight community.

Don't get me wrong, I want the happy home with the manicured lawn and sunny side pool as much as the next queer. But I do not want it at the expense of being an imitation of normalcy.

In my opinion, I am normal right now. In this moment. Even if I wasn't allowed to marry another man legally, I am still normal despite what some hateful christian (intentionally left lower case because they are NOT true Christians...) behind a podium spouts off.

Marriage equality is a good thing and is not a battle that is done, nor should it be. Do not get it twisted though, some view this as one step closer to being as "straight" as possible.

Thanks, but no thanks. In fact, shove it...If I do marry, which I hope to again someday to a wonderful man, it will be because that is what this fag wants to do, not because I am...ah-hem...allowed (if you could see the curl of lip when I said that...)

Do what YOU want to do because that is what you want to do. Not because you are finally allowed to do it. Nobody has ever handed the gay community anything, or the trans community or any community that is outside Christian white America. Nope, if you want something you are going to have to fight for it, you are going to have to take it. Know this, someone will take issue with it because so long as you are happy, they are not.

LGBT makes haters, especially when were thriving.

Make haters sweetie!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Friday, March 17, 2017

Be Nice And Don't Let Others Put You Down

A lesson that you may have to learn the hard way is allowing someone to degrade you verbally. The mean girl spirit is one that is rooted in one's own insecurity and problematic life. Their misery is not your problem and you should not have to deal with it.

Whatever letter of the LGBT alphabet you are, you are worth more than someone else's verbal assaults and you should not have to deal with it.

So how far is to far? When it hurts your feelings...than it is to far. So what do you do? tell them exactly what you feel, "that hurts my feelings and I don't like it, so stop."

I have done this, said those exact words. When that doesn't get their attention, though it usually does, tell them again the second that it happens. Reminders of how that makes you feel is totally ok and you should feel comfortable to set your boundaries, whereever they are.

It is never to late, it is never an inconvienent time. You deserve better and you deserve to have the confidence to stand up for yourself to whoever...

If you need help or advice, hit me up, I am always available...I am kinda locked up, I can't go anywhere, I am like that best friend that is never not available...LOL. Use it!!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Being Whoever The Hell You Want To Be: Redefining Yourself Later In Life!

Remember when you were younger, it felt like you had forever. Mortality was nothing more than a word that you heard reading weird poetry in school. Or with some emo twink with his hair in his eyes.

When you get a little older you realize that time is going by so fast that you hardly know what to do about it. I am only 35 but I have come to the conclusion that I am to old to waste anymore time, but still young enough that I have a whole lifetime of joy ahead of me.

As many people that I have met over the years I have joined the ranks of those who are redefining themselves later in life. Coming out, transitioning (Jenner comes to mind...), getting remarried etc...owning a business...who knows the possibilities are endless.

Reinventing yourself is not this enigmatic process that you have to go see the Dali Llama for, unless of course that is your thing. It is as simple as, who do you want to be? So go get that...whoever it may be. Your only mistake that you can make at this point is not fully committing yourself to it.

Commit to being a happier truer you. No reason to hold back now. Whoever won't accept the real you, the one that you have been holding back and caging for so long, see ya later should be your next words...seriously. It is that easy, you won't miss a thing in a few weeks.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Breaking The Masculinity Box: Androgynism The New Frontier For Normalcy (Thank God!)

This is just my opinion here but I dislike the traditional "male". I cannot stand the bravado or the macho attitudes of men. I can hear queens everywhere rolling their eyes and clucking out "Oh honey!" So bear with me.

If I had it my way I would never again encounter another man who walks with his chest puffed out and his arms 4" out to his sides. I would never again hear another man talk about how much ass he could whoop or how bad he is at whatever...

I have slowly allowed myself to be who I want to be and admit what I feel inside and it has been liberating in so many ways.
Androgyny is my new personal frontier, I have not been able to define what my feelings were until I found the word androgyny. Then there was just one problem, men don't do the things I wanted to do. Like wear heels, or dresses in public, unless of course they are transgendered. Then there is some amount understanding, but not much.

I just cannot understand who in hell made the silent rule that women get all the fun stuff, like make up and soft underwear. Why can't I be pretty? Why cannot I not run a business wearing stockings and a skirt AND still have a penis? What's wrong with that? Am I less of a man physically? Nope...

Some would argue that this is stuff that fetish minded men would want. A little part of me agrees because there are men who are into dressing up as the opposite sex for sexual purposes...get your money honey! But that is not entirely me, however, I would dress up however in the hell my man wanted me to dress...lumberjack to prom queen and everything in between. (see, I can be a good boyfriend!)

There is just such a lack of understanding about what masculinity and femininity means. For so long, forever as far as I know, these two boxes were build with specific guidelines that all human beings must follow. I just don't completely buy into that. I can't because I am very happy with my male genitalia, but very unhappy having to wear rough, stiff clothing that doesn't allow for men to have curves...

What if I want a booty? What is the point of having a great looking rump if I have to hide it under freakin' Carhartts? Where's the fun in that. I want to look sexy, flattering. I want to wear whatever in the hell I want to wear whenever in the hell I want to wear it.

I know that I am not alone in this thought process and I also know that plenty of people think I am a freak, weirdo...whatever.

What else is new

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Keeping The LGBTQ Together

I am only 35, born in 1982, I remember when AIDS became televised and awareness was raised to a world level. I remember when Elton John was still the only gay icon in the Midwest (I grew up somewhat sheltered in Nebraska) that I knew of.

It was interesting and eye opening to see how LGBT wasn't always LGBT. When I woke up and came out I reached out for the unitedness that LGBT stood for. The rainbow flag, the marches, even the promiscuity attracted me and seemed to light my soul on fire with passion.

I followed suit in a place where it was needed. Though, the LGBT was already united into one, that work has already been done. Watching the "history" of the LGBT movement on ABC has been highly emotional because it's like I am watching a foreign language that I somehow understand. How we were united and brought together under extremely stressful times...

Now I get why when I talk to an old queen about activism that they chuckle at me. As if what I am doing is watered down or hardly needed. I get it now.

However, we are still under-represented and hated on a very large scale that crosses continental boundaries and generational lines. We are still killed and beaten, raped and assaulted, we are still hunted. Though we are now united while we are hunted.

There is still much work to be done, an LGBT caucus needs to be created, specific resources etc etc.

You should write me, together we can make a difference...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Contact Information

Every once in a while I like to throw my contact info out here for you to reach me. I am after all in prison and it gets lonely in here. 

I know that I am all about LGBT justice and prison reform and restorative justice but even little ole' fags like me need human contact outside of here. 

Like you I have inner desires and have a real life to lead. I struggle with my own emotions from time to time and the whole point of this is to Reach Out to people just like you. This is all pointless if nobody responds.

I would greatly appreciate contact with anyone, I love to talk, as you can see by this...LOL! I swear I won't bite! 

Ok, this is my contact info below:
To Write:
Jeff Utnage 823469 D-610-2
Monroe Correctional Complex-Twin Rivers Unit
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

Or you can email me through the prison approved email service through, go to the site and follow the directions, you will need my DOC (823469) and I think it costs like .25/email, which is cheaper then a stamp, but I like whatever is easiest for you! I will 100% reply to every single letter, which are not many...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Accomplishing Your Dreams Inspires Your LGBT Family To Follow Theirs: Do Not Count Out Your Ability To Succeed!

I heard a new friend of mine say that his experience is lesser than someone else's because he doesn't do "activism". He has organized several programs in prison that benefit a whole spectrum of people. Specifically, he has promoted and created educational opportunities for all. Kind of a big deal if you ask me.

The fact that he is gay has no real bearing on his abilities. However, as a gay man that is fighting for equality, justice, and equal representation his work is inspiring because LGBT people need role models as well.

Role models, specifically role models that we can relate to are so important for the LGBT community both young and old because it introduces "normalcy" into our culture.

Your success is vital, that means following YOUR dreams and accomplishing them for YOU. Because one day, your work will probably be used as an example to somebody for following theirs.

For help with goal setting, feel free to contact us...

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fate, Destiny, Calling, Duty...What Your Meant To Do In Life

I remember when I was in my early twenties I got the bright idea that I wanted to be a cage fighter. I seen an ad on a website and decided I was going to go for it. I had no training and had not been in very many fights, however, I was sure it was meant to be.

Then reality set in, I had no money, no gas to travel to the state the fight was in. It just wasn't meant to be. When I talked to my Mother about it she spoke words of truth to me, "You are not a cage fighter, you have no means to do this." I replied something angrily to her, some b.s. about blocking my dreams etc etc (ahh, the dumb shit we say...)

But then my Mother said something I will never forget, she said it angrily, or more fed up, like she had finally had enough of my (or the worlds maybe) countless 'destinies'. She said "Trust me, if you were really meant to go do this, nothing and I mean nothing would stop you. Not me, nothing."

I have carried that with me throughout my life. Waiting for my "nothing will stop me from doing this" moment. All the work I put in for prison reform and dismantling the "prison heirarchy" (prison gangs), getting beat up for it etc etc, it all came to a screeching halt when I was transferred to a prison for protective custody. It was eye opening and I thought to myself that perhaps I needed to know my limitations, slow down a bit.

As the days have ticked by something clicked in me...I cannot stop. It's not that I have this need to not be defeated or a message to get out above all costs. Maybe I do, maybe I don't. What I do know is this, I do not have a choice to continue my work as an advocate, activist and prison reform mentor. This hunger inside me drives my brain and my actions.

People are depending on me to not stop, to not give up my quest, my destiny, my fate.

I want to challange each and every one of you to seek the same. There is something you are meant to do in life, something that will challenge you mentally and physically. It will be so hard on you that you think you might break down pyschologically and go crazy, yet you keep doing it anyway because this hunger or drive pushes you to your limits. You just can't help it.

Greatness awaits on the other side of that wall and I cannot wait to see you get there.

Please, please, please go and get it.

With Love,
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

LGBT Prisoners And Dating: Harder Than Hell

It's funny how after a ten year long marriage to a woman and hating it how one wants to finally get into a relationship that one would actually like. Mainly, me.

Like many prisoners I want to have a relationship with someone outside of this place. I guess the hopeless romantic within just keep on ticking despite the sometimes unpleasant conditions of this place and its inhabitants.

I have not really pushed the issue for the past 5 1/2 years that I have been down simply because I knew that I was a very broken man. In addition, shame for my crimes has prevented me from really pursuing a boyfriend. So instead of seeking someone to get under while I go over my past, I decided to do the sensible thing and actually focus on fixing my broken little gay self.

Now, here I am with this burning desire to find someone that I can at least flirt with or maybe even have a relationship with. God willing. I have decided that I am good enough, I am worth enough, I am not a waste. I like me now and I think that I am worth sharing. Imagine that.

I used to think that inmates should not date while in prison, but like most attitudes, it got changed. It would be so nice to be able to have a visit from my boyfriend and watch all the heads turn...

Here's hopin'

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Freedom Of Speech: Press The Enemy Of The People?

I am not a big history buff but even I know that what Trump is saying about the media is getting closer and closer to what dictators say about their media. Filtering what goes out and what is printed, wanting scrutiny over sources and content. 

Last I checked that is called CENSORSHIP and it's the very beginning to a dictator taking over the country. Then let's not even touch the White House trying to get the FBI to help cover up the Russia thing.

I can tell you this, when I first heard Trump was running I was excited because what the possibities represented for the future of politics. Trump running and winning meant that the schools that train politicians were rendered unnecessary and hopefully get dismantled in the process. But I never imagined that Trump would take on so many characteristics of someone like Hitler.

Though to be fair, the Germans had no idea that Hitler was going to be like Hitler was. He represented hope and the freedom that they all wanted in life. He had answers to their problems and economic issues. Sound familiar? Yeah, scary...then Hitler censored the media and took control over that so that his agenda could be pushed...whoa, things are sounding a little to close to home.

I can admit when I am wrong. I was wrong about Trump. Period. 

However, I will say this. As Americans we are resilient and were established from those seeds of resistence. We are not a people who will allow ourselves to be run over by some suit with an agenda. There are several hundred million of us, one of him. Doesn't stand a chance, so do not fear. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, March 6, 2017

Going Back In Your Shell: The Backlash Of Fear

If you have ever been assaulted for your sexuality or something similar then you know the type of fear I am talking about here. It's the type of fear that you see every night before you go to bed and wake up with their faces in your mind in the middle of the night.

It's the type of fear that when you go to talk about it you freeze with the fear that they might appear out of nowhere to assault you again. Because in the moment of violence they told you not to talk about it "or else."

Fear is crippling. Actually, it's crippling me. Who am I kidding here? I know that I am not the only one who has dealt with this so I am going to talk about the repercussions of this with anyone who cares to listen...I guess because I need to vent more than anything. This is truth and I like truth better than anything.

I know that it is irrational to be afraid of the same thing happening twice. But yet I still won't go near a group of people with the same nationality as my assailants. I won't allow them to cut my hair or talk to me at all. 

I went to a group discussion that was supposed to be a support system for LGBT people in prison and the whole time I sat there all I could see was fists flying at me and men dragging me into the shower with everyone watching...I closed up and this once mighty speaker and advocate became a mousy closed off spectator again. 

Is this failure? Does this mean they won? I sit here typing this message out with tears welling in my eyes because I already know the answer and I hate it. I hate that they have won, they silenced me and I cannot stand it.

So this is what I am going to do, I am going to speak out again. I will not be silenced though I have felt the violence of hatred. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Transgender Rights Going Back A Step: Go Back To Activism Roots

It may seem that with Trans Bathroom rights laws being repealled on the federal level that things are going back a step or two. That may even be the correct evaluation. However, anything that is going to be changed requires heart on a grand scale.

Roadblocks are nothing new to the LGBT community and especially the trans community. Often times trans people are the ones who bear the brunt of hatred, violence and pubic ridicule because hiding or being "closeted" for many of them is near impossible. So roadblocks are nothing the trans community isn't used to.

This is the time to revamp your program. Now is the time to take a step back and go back to grass roots organization tactics that involve your rights to peaceful protests and city marches. Remember Martin Luther King Jr and the Black Panthers and Vietnam protests and Black Lives Matters and the list goes on and on and on. The trans movement must not be any different.

Our predecessors have laid a foundation of peaceful demonstrations that have been highly effective in gaining publicity and a following. Which, would be beneficial to our cause. With publicity and a following it becomes talked about more, a buzz is created until finally, we are normalized in peoples mind that we do exist and we are ok. 

We deserve rights and safety too. Not just one part of LGBT should be safe or equal. 

A mentor once told me that "there is no equality until there is all equality." I believe that, but I believe in us even more.

You must adapt to the changing times dears, after all, that is what we are asking of everyone else, is it not?

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Friday, March 3, 2017

Better Late Than Never: Education Comes In So Many Forms

Going through life you think that things are not possible because you are to old, or to whatever. Basically, we come up with automatic excuses for our misery or shortcomings. Which, by all outside appearances is ok. Realistically if you really want something or are meant to have something you will in fact go and get it. No excuse will be good enough to stop you.

As we age we think that our scope of possibilities decreases. I think that is quite untrue though. I believe that as we age we grow wiser and with wisdom comes the ability to understand the necessity of whatever our goal is. If we have a good grasp on why we do what we do then we are more likely to go and get it.

I heard of something recently called the Post Prison Education Project. I heard about it in the most unique way. After I was put into protective custody I was in transit to another facility where I became temporary cell mates with a man who helped form this little gem. the idea is that you get your FAFSA application approved before you leave prison to go to college that way when you get out you are able to attend a college, no matter your past.

Can you imagine that? This little ole' fag can leave prison and already be enrolled in college. For me, the possibilities are endless. 

I hope that everyone sees the future as bright. My circumstances could just as easily discourage me from even trying to do anything other than live under a bridge and drink myself into oblivion, wallowing in self-loathing and misery. But learning how to do the things I want to do seems so much more fun.

I want to do all kinds of things with my life. I want to do drag, I want to wait tables, I want to do LGBT activism by targeting the LGBT community that is at risk for criminal activity. Which, to be completely honest has very little to do with college and education. However, if I was educated while I did drag then I could say I was a smart diva...just sayin.

Don't think that things are to late for you. They aren't for me, they aren't for you.

Stay lovely

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, March 2, 2017

ABC's "When We Rise": Talk About Powerful!

I watched the first two hours of ABC's When We Rise last night and I have to say that the words that were used to describe the movement were words that I have said many, many times. It felt like I was watching my own struggle unfold in a symphony of emotion.

In today's world (non-prison life) gay rights are on the rise and equality is not complete, but in some areas of the country it feels as if they are. However, in prison, the times are still very much behind the curve. The words that were used to describe the need for a place "to just breath for a moment" were the exact same words that I used to describe the need for a support group in prison when I first began my own quest.

I cried like an emotional basket case during some scenes and laughed out loud at others. But one emotion remained consistent the entire time, pride.

It is important to know where we came from because this is how we measure our current success, where we are in the process, so to speak. 

I find it so soothing and inspiring to know that the words that I utter in my prayers and behind icy tears are the same words uttered by our brave forefathers and mothers in times past, behind the same prayers and the same icy tears.

It feels good to know that this fight, the one I am fighting right this very minute, has been raging on for more than 40 years and I could not be prouder to be writing this for the reasons I am writing it. 

I am so glad that someone took the time to create our history on film the way that they have and bravo to ABC for having the heart and courage to air it. 

Cannot wait for Wednesday! 

With Love
Jeff Utnage