Thursday, June 29, 2017

Homosexuality: Gift or Curse?

Is it possible to have pride about something and still think its a curse? I know I have gone back and forth on this over the years within myself. 

Our sexuality is not something developed through trauma, like some believe. Were born with it. There is not much we can do about it. Should we be looking at it like a deficiency? As if we were born "incomplete?" Let me ask you this, would you want your son or daughter to feel that way? Hardly.

We can be proud of who we are. Our sexuality can be celebrated and loved. Its OK to look to your Creator and thank them for this precious gift of individuality. 

A gift it is. We were chosen out of billions of people, trillions over time, to be trusted with such a unique gift. I don't know the total population but LGBT people make up less than 5% of the population and I believe its officially less than that at like 1% globally, we would need an almanac for the latest numbers. Either way, we are rare. If you find yourself with a rare rock or gem your ecstatic! So why would we not rejoice when we are given a rare gift of being strong enough to be gay or trans or big or intersex. All of which are gifts and not curses.

No need to look at it as anything but because its your life and you deserve to be happy, right? Who says being trans is unlucky? Not in my eyes, you are to be coveted, like royalty. Same with homosexuals, we are princes and princesses born into greatness. It is our decision to embrace our gift or reject it.

Embrace it with me.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Is Prison Breeding Homosexuality?

Are you still "gay" if you just want to get your rocks off when a woman isn't available? I have seen this happen a lot over the years of my imprisonment. 

I have seen men become the gayest human being, swishy walk, limp wrist, gay themed prison tattoos. Then get out and they forget all about it. Interesting how far some guys will go to have sex. I think its strange but far be it from me to judge anyone.

It really just further instills within me that I must remain abstinent until release. I don't want to be conquered or tricked. The lengths some go...

It has gotten to be a game I play with other LGBT people that have been down awhile. Who's gay really, who's just situation-ally gay? Its usually obvious, situation-ally gay people in prison usually are usually not into relationships, don't like kissing, just wanting to top and then leave as quickly as possible. Situation ally gay people in prison just want sex, as quickly and discreetly as possible. 

Which works perfect for them to predatorize us because its illegal to be gay in prison (there is a punishment for the act...) and even relationships have to quiet and hidden. Which works perfectly for them because if a gay man wants to feel needed, wanted, loved even, that is the only route available. 

Prison isn't breeding homosexuality. Its human nature. If gays were able to be open in prison then those that are situational, wont have as much opportunity to be situational because gays will be able to openly proclaim their relationship status, making those that are strictly situational less likely to pursue out of fear of being labelled. 

Perhaps more tolerance and less bigotry?

With Love
Jeff Utnage 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What To Do When A Drag Queen Steals Your Ice Cream, You Gotta Read This!

One of the best things I heard about for our prisons Pride Event was a friend of mine getting his ice cream stolen by a drag performer. First, let me tell you how important ice cream is in prison...

Ice cream is currency in prison because we do not get it. Let me rephrase that, its as good as currency. Unless your family can visit you, ice cream does not come to inmates unless it's on rare occasions, like a Pride Event. Then its a one cup serving, chocolate, delicious gold. You could hand an inmate a twenty dollar bill or a one cup serving of chocolate ice cream, the ice cream is by far more valuable...very important to most in here. Now that we have that established, let us journey on.

We are mingling with the amazing outside guests when two beautiful drag queens and one gorgeous transgendered woman came into the room. One was wearing a floor length, pink sequined dress and one of the best hair buns I've seen (go guurl!, I love me some hair). These amazing women glide through the room stealing every set of eyes and tying nearly every tongue. 

My friend, an inmate I invited to share this moment with is sitting off to one corner, attending to a disabled offender when the beautiful women come to meet him. (he was sitting next to our event sponsor) His frozen gold, his chocolate cup of deliciousness that he was saving for that special moment when it was soft enough to literally melt in his mouth, his moment was taken (I am laughing so hard right now!) by one of the performers because when he stood up she took his ice cream, opened it up and starting eating it in front of him. Never breaking eye contact, mind you.

So my bad azz, muscle clad, bearded buddy in all his criminality said what any convicted con would say "uh, I, ex..excuse me, th...that's my uh, my ice cream." he said it quietly, timidly like she was going to bite him. Her response was simple (because this gurls a boss!) she took another slow, deliberate, savory bite, put the spoon back in the Styrofoam cup and handed it back to him without a word. He was speechless and nervous (one, he did not know she was a performer, all he seen was a beautiful woman, and two, he wasn't sure he was upset that he was about to eat off of the same spoon) but the man recovered well.

In truth, the poor queen probably didn't know it was his, after all it was unattended for a moment. But her poise and ability to wrap the man so completely around her finger was the most impressive part. Especially because the mans reputation among prisoners is one of extreme violence (though he is not really like that!) 

So what do you do when a drag queen steals your ice cream? Share.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Our Gay'ly Bread: Keeping God With You In Everyday Life

While we are performing, working, or out socializing we are busy doing whatever were doing at the moment. We forget that God gave us creative minds and He enjoys our labor, our creativity!

If you are a drag performer He wants to entertain with you! If you are blistering the airwaves with shouts of equality, He is there shouting right along side of you. When you are laughing and hugging and being happy, He is there.

When most become serious about their beliefs is when they are in some sort of trouble, or when something goes wrong. Then they turn to God in anger or desperation and demand He help. Forgetting that He has been a major part of all the "normal" times in your life.

We look at God as a genie to grant wishes when we desire, as if we are entitled to them. Do not forget you were created for a purpose. You have a job to do and if you aren't happy in your job it is because you probably weren't meant to do it. Or maybe its because something else is amiss in your life, either way, it is time to do a heart check.

Draw nearer to God and watch your faith increase. You draw near by inviting Him into your everyday life. Acknowledging His presence in those moments and allowing yourself to feel pride when something goes well in your life.

Not everyone will be a believer in God, but for those that are or think they can't because of their LGBT status, this is for you.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, June 26, 2017

Parents Praying for LGBT Children? Why Not?

I have never heard of a parent wishing to be given an LGBT son or daughter. I have heard fathers over the years say they would disown or beat their son if they thought they were gay. I have even heard a few say they would drive them to the woods and shoot them. Terrible.

But why is it such a curse? Why is it not embraced? After all, if they were born with this difference then that difference came from you, did it not? Are not your genes passed on to them? Or is it suddenly a God issue? You pass on the hair, cancer, diabetes, eye color gene and God curses you with a gay or trans kid? What kind of hypocrisy is that?

Parents can be just as proud of their LGBT child for their LGBT status as the child should be. After all, the child never asked for it. Why should it be a bad thing? Who says its a bad thing? Society is comprised of US. Not just religious figures. I am highly religious, Christian, and I do NOT agree that homosexuality is wrong. I also do NOT agree that it is a curse from God. 

I choose to adore it, embrace it, nurture it. We decide, not someone else, we do. 

Be proud

With Love
Jeff Utnage

LGBT A Chosen People? Our Gay-ly Bread

If you read the Bible or have some knowledge of it than you know that the Jewish (Israelites) people were a hated community. They were used, mistreated, marginalized, did not have a voice, no champions. 

The Bible is a story of the underdog. God chose the Israelites out of all His people to make examples to the rest of the world for all of time. Among men they were the least. Abhorred by all nations. Enslaved by multiple civilizations. Genocide has been nearly synonymous with "Jewish" for thousands of years.

Any of this sound familiar to us as LGBT people? Right now we are abhorred by entire civilizations. The Russian Government say that gays do not exist in Russia, when they are outed, the are murdered. Other countries have outlawed it and the punishment ranges from death to imprisonment to banishment. In the U.S. we are just as hated by whole communities. Most of the time parents despise us. They beg their higher power "please, just don't let them be gay!"

But if you look at who God has loved through time you can clearly see that He loves those who are mistreated. 
We ARE the creations of the Most High. We ARE His beloved people, special in His eyes. Mankind has free will, so God will not stop all the bad in the world because then, we would be mindless, controlled beings that are incapable of true love because we have no choice. The best kind of love is the kind we choose and the kind that was freely given to us. Would you rather have someone love you because they want to or because they had to? Make a little more sense now?

God loves us. He has been raising up people to lead us into equality. To give us a voice and a land that accepts us. Religion may be intolerant, but God did not create religion, man did. Do not blame God because your life is unfair, because somebody made bad choices, because their is hate in the world. 

Because of free will God has sent messengers into every community to lead the hated into His love. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Cleve Jones, Nelson Mandela, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Jesus...and more are coming. God has given me a voice and I am using it as best I know how because we are NOT alone. We are LOVED and cherished! He is helping, he has sent all kinds of ambassadors to show His love. Ambassadors like Seattle Pride Foundation, Lady Gaga, Debra Messing, I could go on and on. One day I will be on that long list of people who listened to my Fathers call. 

Its OK to believe in God. Talk to Him sometime...I am gay and I know He loves me.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

My Prison's Pride Event, Post Feelings

I feel that in order to properly express "post show" feelings we have to know "pre show" feelings.

Leading up to this historic event that my facility has graciously allowed and championed has been extremely stressful. Making history isn't easy or stress less. It's full of sleepless nights and high tempers. I was no different.

Afterwards though, well, we are in a much different space. As the event ended we all realized how tired we were, how emotionally taxed we were. Myself, I cried. Its all I can do at the moment to express myself. Cry and write and write and cry (and watch Botched!). The walk back to our living spaces was one that felt like victory, finally, we had been heard.

So many organizations heard us (here I go again, I'm crying!) for the first time. For the first time we felt like we were apart of a community that loves us, that embraces us. This sense of belonging challenges me as a human being to live up to my end of the bargain to be a good person, after all, now I have a family to love me back.

We are all in such a state of turmoil, unrest, and insecurity that it is times like "post event" where this sigh of relief is more like letting the world rest on the ground while I catch my breath. The next time I pick it up, I know there's an entire community to take a piece. I will not fail to hold my end.

Funny though, the whole time I was speaking, the people that I thought about the most surprised me in retrospect. It wasn't the people in front of me, it was the ones who call me friend when nobody else will...I love you guys.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Prison's Pride Event, Post Feelings

I feel that in order to properly express "post show" feelings we have to know "pre show" feelings. 

Leading up to this historic event that my facility has graciously allowed and championed has been extremely stressful. Making history isn't easy or stress less. It's full of sleepless nights and high tempers. I was no different. 

Afterwards though, well, we are in a much different space. As the event ended we all realized how tired we were, how emotionally taxed we were. Myself, I cried. Its all I can do at the moment to express myself. Cry and write and write and cry (and watch Botched!). The walk back to our living spaces was one that felt like victory, finally, we had been heard. 

So many organizations heard us (here I go again, I'm crying!) for the first time. For the first time we felt like we were apart of a community that loves us, that embraces us. This sense of belonging challenges me as a human being to live up to my end of the bargain to be a good person, after all, now I have a family to love me back.

We are all in such a state of turmoil, unrest, and insecurity that it is times like "post event" where this sigh of relief is more like letting the world rest on the ground while I catch my breath. The next time I pick it up, I know there's an entire community to take a piece. I will not fail to hold my end. 

Funny though, the whole time I was speaking, the people that I thought about the most surprised me in retrospect. It wasn't the people in front of me, it was the ones who call me friend when nobody else will...I love you guys.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Gay Rights Hindered By Our Dissension?

I did not get the pleasure of interaction with the LGBT community on a large scale when I was free. Most of my time was spent carefully avoiding them so that no one would know I liked other men. 

So I had this idea built up of what it meant to be gay. I thought of a united front, great emotional support, marginalized but happy people because they had each other.

Holy shit was I wrong...

I'd say the last time any type of real uniting was done it was at Stonewall. Perhaps maybe a few other times. But difference of opinions on political matters plays apart, some want marriage equality while others like it just the way it is. Some want big communities with lots of similar people, some want extreme diversity. Some only want to be around other gay people, some want none of it. It gets more complicated from there.

There are plenty of things that we can agree on that still require our immediate attention. Like equal opportunity in states that allow discrimination. Abolishing sodomy laws that specifically target homosexuality. Bathroom use protection for the transgendered community. I could go on. Oh and for all of you who like to concentrate on overseas affairs more than your own backyard, did you know that our people are being hunted and murdered in Russia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Sudan...need more? An Indian blogger just a few years ago was dismembered in the streets by thugs posing as package delivery drivers. People are actively trying to eradicate us...ITS CALLED GENOCIDE!

Meanwhile, your to worried about whether or not the queen down the street is creeping on your straight crush, or your hustle on the raisin with the cash. Whether or not you should support trans or hang out with bisexuals, or move to a neighborhood less dominated by gays because there is too much competition for the straight peoples affection.

Piss on that...

Folks, there is no equality until there is ALL equality. Our people are hurting because they are alone. The ones that don't know how to act are in need or guidance and friendship. So that when they are ready for help, help is available. I don't want to be anyone's token "gay friend." 

I want you. Other gender non conforming people and LGBT community members. Together we can make drastic changes that will last for generations. It starts with a little forgiveness, a little love.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Friday, June 23, 2017

One Happy Homo!!

This Tuesday TV gets exciting again! I don't know about anyone else but I am a huge, huge fan of dance. I love contemporary dance as a form of artistic expression. One of my favorite TV shows is So You Think You Can Dance on FOX (However, last years was not my cup of tea, I prefer to watch adults, just me though). 

So this is exciting for me because ole' J-Lo is hosting World Of Dance this Tuesday on NBC. Can't wait!!


With Love
Jeff Utnage

Everyday Androgyny: Drag Queens Shouldn't be Novelties, My Next Movement

Androgynous clothing exists. Look at skinny jeans, perfect example. Perhaps tank tops, both men and women wear them (looking fabulous, btw!)

As much as I like the idea of drag queens, their shows and most of all, what they have stood for since long before I was born. But I don't think of them as novelties and I hate the idea that they have to be an "alter ego" person in order feel beautiful.

What I mean is this, if Mike "whoever" wants to be in a dress and heels because he feels beautiful in them, why must he become "Porscha" in order to make it acceptable? Why can't Mike be beautiful, pretty, fierce? That's where my frontier is, in that thinking.

Many LGBT people dress with pieces of both sexes. I know gay men that wear scarves and blouses. Women who wear baseball hats and flannel. Then there is trans women, depending on when their physical transformation began depends on how their frame is. They require specialized clothing that they often have to make themselves.

My idea, my dream, is to create a store that has androgynous clothing. A place where they have heels that fit men's feet. Where sundresses fit broad shoulders and work jeans come in petite. 

Most of us have to chance online shopping or go to second hand stores to get clothes that work. I get out (tentatively) in 4 1/2 years, know that I will be working on this long before then.

Co-collaborators WANTED!!

With Love (and maybe a little lace...)
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Heart Of lgbtqprisonsupport.com, What Its All About

At the heart of all this is LGBT reality. Connected to every LGBT person is a non-LGBT person. Along side of that is prison. There is a large prison population of LGBT people with families, sometimes.

Just because I am gay and in prison. doesn't mean that the cares of the world are different. Or that I can be excluded somehow. I am in prison and not dead.

Everyday issues are lgbtqprisonsupport.com issues. Politics, religion, self improvement, health, well being, love, romance, intimacy, prison reform, crime prevention and much much more.

Besides being a great way to reach out into the world its a great way to meet people who care about the same issues.

This isn't a forum to bash prisons or their function. Though, I do have strong opinions on the subject. This is a way for me to show people how "normal" we are. How much we have in common with one another. 

There are people, like me, who have made mistakes in their lives. However, that doesn't mean I am not useful or capable of effecting change within myself and the world. In fact, I'd say it helps me personally because I simply cannot live with the man I once was. That's just me though. Going through mistakes and coming out the other side willing and eager to use it for good...I have seen it done and that's the man I admire most, that's who I want to be. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

What Happens When Gender Becomes Blind?

I wonder what would happen if you lined up 100 close up shots of 100 rear ends in the same outfit...50 men, 50 women and you couldn't tell who was what gender. Make it a game. Not who is male and who is female but which behind you find attractive. I wonder how many people would be surprised at their answers.

What if sexuality was gender-less? What if people just fell in love because it was actual love? Not because their little box of rules said "because you like male genitalia, you are gay." What if we looked beyond the genitals to the person? 

What if you could only communicate through letters and everything that indicated the others sex was redacted so that you could only talk to the persons true inner being, would love exist in that plain? Could we as a society, as individuals even, be comfortable enough with love to admit its universal and gender-less?

Food for thought. I am guilty of it to. I have rules I follow in regards to who I allow myself to associate with relationship material. Like gender, personality type, demeanor, age (gotta be at least close to my age or older!) But I have universal things that mean more, like being nice. I need that above all. Someone who is just legit nice. Being nice doesn't mean a gender. Could I love a woman based on that alone? Yeah, sure. Would I? Well...she'd have to be one special woman with some very specific bedroom qualities...just saying. But if I loved whoever, I would even give up that for them. Then again, if it was love, I wouldn't have to, would I? 

Love shouldn't be complicated. It should be easy and frequent. Love should be...freedom.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Giving Thanks When It Is Due

Most people like to be acknowledged when they do something right or nice. A thank you. Since I believe that I was made in the image of God, than that also means that God likes the same thing.

I have been tough on God in my recent days. Hollering at Him every time I'm alone. The truth us I created my world and I alone carry the burden. God is simply there to help me, love me, and take the load when I'm ready to give it up.

With not getting sleep because of stress and anxiety. Not to mention a bit of un-comfortableness, last night I got the best sleep in years. If I went the day without publicly announcing that God gave men me sleep, sweet sweet sleep, I would be distracted all day thinking about it. 

I prayed before I went to bed for the first time in a long time and woke up in the same position 7 hours later. So, God, thank you for hearing my prayer and seeing my need. It was kind of You to help.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Androgynous Lingerie Company? I Think There's A Market

I remember sitting down with a therapist a few years back. I was recommended to seek therapy when I asked DOC to help me with a LGBT support system. (my how far we have come in the past four years!!)

I sat with her and we spoke about my sexuality, how I identified and why. I am Gender Non-Conforming officially, but if you ask me all that means is I have both female and male emotional characteristics and I am not afraid to dress either of them.

When she asked me if I would wear drag I shook my head yes. Then she asked if it was because women's clothes are so much softer than men's. It must be...at least a part.

Expressing ourselves in a feminine light means a softer side emerges. Though I do not believe that "soft" is feminine AT ALL. I am repeating the belief. 

I do not know of a single company that is bold enough to sell to a multi-sex market. There are androgynous clothing companies but what about undergarments? Swimwear, dresses, blouses, etc? 

Bright colors and soft clothing does not equal woman. A woman equals a woman...not her clothes. Neither does a man wearing a dress make him less man. It just means he feels great in a dress. 

If a clothing company has not been started who caters to this market by the time I get out, look for it from me. Yup, need that!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gay & Racist? You'd Be Surprised

As a white male who is gay I still get haunted by my upbringing in the "good ole boy" farms of Nebraska. Though it wasn't the area, it was the men in my life who forcefully declared "if it ain't white it ain't right," and you don't want to know what they said about gays. 

So here I am an adult with three mixed raced children, who are stunningly gorgeous. My ex wife is Alaskan native and black. The women in my family were all to supporting and the few men were fairly quiet. Mainly because they were glad mostly that I wasn't "one of those fairies in Seattle." LOL! Guess the cats out of the bag now huh? Sorry, not sorry.

I find it interesting that among the gay community, that I interact with, mix race love is generally an avoided subject. I find it interesting that if I tell my peers I would definitely date a black man, their reaction is unusually silent.

The truth is my first willing experience was with a black man. He was gorgeous. I could have washed my clothes on his abs. My only hang-up is not liking men who are "thug" or "gangsters," regardless of color, sorry Beiber, that means you cutie. He wasn't like that. He was sweet, attentive and had all the right...curves. (only problem was he was a touch clingy...that's a no no dear) 

I found myself in a position where I secretly admired men of all colors, so long as the mental, verbal, and personality lined up to be someone who was non-intimidating and non-threatening, I'm good to go. Physical attraction comes in all colors and levels of swagger. Not everyone feels that way. Reading an article in this months Advocate (Sexual Racism and Reckoning with Robert Mapplethorpe by Charles Stephens, The Advocate 50th anniversary issue) was a reminder that racism hasn't died just because were gay.

My personal taste extends to the more feminine side of every male. I am a sucker for nice guys who aren't afraid to be emotional, soft, feminine even. It also extends to anyone who is just plain nice. 

I like nice...its the best looking part on any guy.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Trading Sexuality Closets For Religious Closets: Is It Still Progress?

I am a Christian but sometimes its hard to tell people that. Its hard to talk to people about my faith in day to day matters. 

For me and anyone who is religious, whether that be Muslim or Christian, our faiths are integral parts of our daily lives. We eat, wake up and make decisions with our faiths in mind. Being able to vocalize that is important. So why don't I feel comfortable doing it?

To answer that I have to draw on personal experience and what I see in social culture. For example, its OK to thank God for a music award but not OK to say God loves you. Or it is to wear a cross medallion to work but not OK to vocalize its meaning. Also this equates to another experience I have had, being closeted.

Not admitting my sexuality openly was painful at times. When I did finally come out it was incredibly freeing. Now it feels as if I am now afraid to admit my religious preference, albeit for different reasons. 

Not wanting to engage in hostile debates over God is one thing, but being afraid of every Christians judgement is something else entirely. I do not even spark conversations about God anymore with those that aren't LGBT because they almost always turn into debates. At the very least the response I get when I finally I am Christian is most often "But aren't you gay? How's that work," usually its said with a frown or a condescending smirk. 

Are we trading one closet for another? Is it just as unhealthy and damaging? I can't answer that for everyone but my fight for religious freedom is just as prevalent as my fight for LGBT equality, in fact, I'd say they go hand in hand.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"My Life Don't Work Like That, I'll Make It Happen" Quote To Live By, Thank You Mr. Sean Combs

I heard that quote and knew right away that it was my new mantra. I mean instantly. I cannot tell you how many times over the past few years I have felt that way.

Drive is much more than desire or want. Its belief in the impossible because screw the doubters or the naysayers. The words of failure are "that's impossible" and "I can't." I hate those words.

I can, and its possible. I have battled with God over my children's well being. Right about now the odds are against them. They are in three different homes, three different families. One in a group home. They have experienced loss after loss, trauma after trauma. Now it just keeps going. 

Abundant life and reconciliation seems impossible. Admittedly, for a few days I felt it was. Not anymore. Do you know why?

Because "My life don't work like that, I'll make it happen." Not a matter of maybe or I hope so, but, they will be OK because I failed them once and when I get out of this place they will be nearly all adults, best believe I won't fail twice. My life doesn't work like that because we have control.

We are the ones who say whether or not were successful or happy. We either speak life or death and I, for one, am so sick of death. 

We are not nearly as fragile as we think we are. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Judgement Effects Everything, Keep An Open Mind Please

Most who are LGBT know this is all to true. When it comes to employment, sports, friends even. We know what it means for someone to have a preconceived idea about us. Maybe not all of us have fashion sense, we don't all fall out of the womb with our dancing shoes on.

But are we judging one another? Not every gay man is a good friend, or sober enough to drive you home. Some are bitchy or angry. Some are to friendly and like them too young. But not all of them.

We need to remember that people change. Epiphanies happen, trials happen. So when someone makes a change in their lives and humbles themselves enough to make it known to you, maybe hear them out. Maybe.

Unlikely allies come from unlikely situations, you know. 

Our preconceptions of one another jade our thinking. Like a Christian who says he has a message from God just for you. Then you look it up and its a condemnation, it wasn't a message from God but his own preconceived idea of you. (I use that because it happened to me today...sucks because even though I'm upset with God, I still love Him and know He loves me)

Be kind ya'll. Give me a chance to be kind to you. Maybe I'm even boyfriend material? You never know.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Failure Of Children Services & How To Fix It

Foster care, CPS, DSHS...all government systems meant to help children in need. All of them failing. 

The real problem is the parents of the child(ren). If they were prepared to be good parents their children wouldn't fall victim to the hands of superficial agencies. Agencies that claim to protect the innocent yet if you ask most adults who were products of that system you most often have to talk to a felon. Sound like success to you? Hardly. 

The solution is multifaceted but simple. We must start at the beginning of the problem, parenting. Clearly its a subject that needs to be covered in basic education. If they aren't learning it at home then it needs to be taught in the next line of defense. I don't mean send them home with crying baby dolls, I mean teach them parenting techniques. Any fool can change a diaper, it takes skill to raise a healthy adult. Skill that you must learn somewhere.

Next, children services needs to change. Right now they focus on getting children safe, which is needed. But the children, once safe, need more than a weekly visit with a trauma counselor. These people forget that handling emotions properly for these children is foreign. It needs to be taught and reinforced. 

Children come into these systems with complex problems but the solutions aren't as obscure. The brain is a complex system and each one is unique, but there are only a few ways one learns. Because they all do and there is only a few ways to teach a brain. 

The problem is everyone blame shifts to who is right in front of them. The immediate, microwaveable fix for anger. The real enemy is parents who fail their children, not child services. But when Child services becomes a factor, they need to be held accountable to teach what is necessary for the success and well being of the child. Right now they answer to no one. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

No Need To Sympathize With Inmates Or The LGBT Community, Just Need An Ear

Prison has a few speakers that come in. All over the country men and women visit these places to give a message meant to inspire change. None have gone unappreciated by many.

A common mistake is made by many of them though. They say things like "I understand what your going through" or "there is no difference between you and me."

God I hope that's not the case! We need to hear from mainstream society. Those of you that have been hurt or effected. We need to see the aftermath of...us. We need to be inspired, yes. We need to hear that people are wanting us to succeed and not just throwing us away like filth or dust. But we need to know that regular folks, regular people who are doing the right thing, generally, are also interested.

We have so much to learn collectively, about normality and scraping by. We need to hear and interact with folks who have to make tough decisions and tell themselves no more often than not.

We need to be talking to you. We need to be interacting with people who are NOT like us. Who understand what it means to go without and still thrive. Who didn't turn to crime or moral degeneration during a crisis. Yeah, we have things to learn and we need to hear them from you. 

One more way you can help end victimization. Interact and pass on much needed life lessons.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Feeling Self-Pity? Regroup, Rethink, Re-Strategize



Every moment you think about how dismal your situation you waste that precious energy. Self-pity doesn't even feel good. 

You can keep looking at the negative and telling yourself that life sucks or you can do something about it.

Spend ten minutes thinking about solutions. Find your shortcomings and know that every single one of them can be improved if you try just a little. 

There are things you need to be doing, get to them! Do not procrastinate. It cannot wait until later, it won't wait until tomorrow! Do it now, right now, right this second. Not in fifteen minutes, not after a depression nap, RIGHT NOW! The sooner you do something to HELP yourself the sooner your situation improves. Any progress you make is progress indeed.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Label Me All You Want, Just Make Sure Its The Right One

I do not mind labels when they are correct and true. Label me all you want, just make sure it is the right one. 

I am adopted and when I came to prison my birth mother called me narcissistic and selfish. I disagreed. Narcissistic means you gain pleasure from your own image, or, you turn yourself on. In your mind there is none more impressive than yourself. This is not true of me. 

I argued this with her only briefly, after I sent her the definition of narcissism. She said that my crime could not be committed without narcissism. Again, I disagreed. Ultimately, it cost me my relationship with her. I told her she can call me whatever label she wants, selfish, self serving, monstrous, ugly, repulsive, criminal, a let down, shameful...whatever. Just make sure its true.

The same goes today. I do not regret losing that relationship because of labels. That's not why it crumbled anyway. It crumbled because of her own guilt. I would still defend that today, the labeling that is. I will lose friends, family, everything over it still. I know what brought me here and it wasn't self admiration. It was self pity, selfishness...disgust and a moral thought process clouded by stress and shame. 

This same thought process comes to mind with LGBT labels. Labels are only necessary to identify one another for support purposes. If a person needs particularly unique advice, they want to make sure the person giving it is in the know. A label is important in that context. 
Label me all you want, just make sure you know what your correct or I will absolutely challenge it. So should you.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Message From Mom

Just a quick note to let you all know that I am posting double posts until I get caught up again.

This year has had many challenges for us all, but my pride for what my son is doing is beyond measure. He has dedicated his life to fight for LGBT rights. And while he says that he thought by coming out that he would feel loved within a community that has always had to deal with adversity, he feels even more alone. I wish I could help him feel that bond, alas I cannot.

If you should be moved in any way to make him feel accepted I would do anything to help him know that.

Have a wonderful week. Watch for more postings than usual.
Valerie

Gender Bending, Clothing Optional: Men In Fishnet, Mesh & Heels (Oh My!)

The rules of gender need to change. As a gender nonconformist I hate that society tells me if I wear fishnet stockings and heels I am either a fetishist, drag queen, or trans. No! You can take those labels and stick em' right up your...

None of those things are bad. I have felt like all of them, if even for the briefest of moments. 

Clothing does not define a woman. It is an expression of her personality, her femininity, her beauty. None of those things are tied to "female." As someone who is scientifically classified as "male" I have feminine traits, personality, and beauty that I want to express. 

I seen a T-shirt on television that read "We Are All Feminists!" This is so true! Even the most macho of men have feminine characteristics. No matter how hidden they may be. I believe that division lines like clothing are what keeps the gender gap alive.

Men wear pants and have short hair. Women wear skirts and have long hair. Men wear stiff, rough clothes. Women wear makeup and soft clothes. Men are handsome, women are pretty. 

Piss on that! Men can be pretty. Women can be stunning in short hair, men can be beautiful in fishnet and make up. 

This is what I believe, I believe that people can be pretty. Not just women. People. People are wonderful creatures that should be allowed to express themselves in most ways. Clothing shouldn't even be a dividing factor for gender or beauty for that matter. 

I get out November 13, 2021. Fishnet, Mesh and Heels; here I come!

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Prison: Right Of Passage & I Can See Why

Rights of passage are dead. Nobody does them. Drop your teen in the forest and when they return they are men type of thing.

A right of passage makes a person confront themselves in such a unique way. It changes you. When you are solely responsible for your life and you prove to yourself that your capable of defending it. 

While some merely survive such experiences, some thrive. 

Prison has become this place where one goes and emerges a man. Either you leave this place more of a man or more of a child. Though it is more likely one emerges less mature. Take a child and drop him in the lions den, usually he gets eaten. It is a rare few who emerge leaders of that pack.

Gangs use prison as training ground for mental and physical training. It is boot camp for Nationalist groups like the Skinheads and Aryan Family, MS13 and their rivals, Nortenos. Unfortunately, this may be their only rights of passage. 

The Boy scouts is a great place to do rights of passage like things. But it is only taken seriously in a few areas in the country, usually rural areas. So this leaves room for creative improvement. Perhaps an entrepreneur could capitalize on this need. Take people into a wilderness scenario and set up something that is somewhat ritualistic. Symbolic of crossing from a former self to a new self. Maybe that is not the end all be all solution, but its an idea and far more than I have heard anyone else suggest. 

I know that when your resolve is tested and you have to force yourself to think about your own mortality, it changes your level of confidence as a decision maker in your life. 

What if people became healthy men and women before prison...novel idea.

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Monday, June 12, 2017

LGBT People: Freaks, Abominations, And Weirdos

As Pride month races toward me again, or rather as I race toward it, I lie awake at night thinking about what our culture goes through. How can I help? Can I motivate enough people to help themselves? 

The point of Pride month is to be unashamed of who we are, as a people. It is the time of year that we remind ourselves, and everyone else, that we happy we are who we are. 

I have been called every name in the book and I have heard my LGBT family called every name. Particularly the trans community.

If I can't know you all, if I cannot communicate with you all by phone then at least I need you to understand something. So listen carefully.

You are not an abomination, you are not some freak or weirdo...none of us are. We are a proud people who hail from every civilization, every country, every state. We are of every color, every nationality, every gender. 

We come from mountain tops and valleys, we are fighters and farmers. We are politicians and professors, judges and priests. We are Fathers and Mothers, children of the Earth. 

We are unashamed. We will not be made to bend to anyone's idea of normal. We are not sorry we were born like this. We will not apologize, we will not pretend to repent, we will not hide it from you to "protect" you. 

We are unapologetic and unsympathetic to your crumbling foundation of fear. 

We are Unapologetically Proud of who we are. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

Every Victim Is Preventable: Do Not Simply Agree & Move On

One more victim is too many. We hear horrific stories through people we know or on television or experience them ourselves. Stories about monstrous people doing monstrous things. 

I am not going to blow smoke up your dress and tell you every criminal is rehabilitatable, it simply isn't true. Though, there are many who are. However, every crime is 100% preventable. I truly do not care if everyone believes that. 

I have to believe it because the alternative is ugly. A world in which lawlessness and tragedy reigns. That, I do NOT accept. 

We must be diligent to always be looking for the next step. We have been fighting crime all wrong!

We are 100% reactionary. We do nothing preemptive. I do not mean lock people up before they do something. No. I mean find those that are at risk for doing such things and get them help! Focus on that. 

As a species we have the greatest minds on the planet. We can send spacecraft to Pluto. We can manipulate single atoms, we can measure in nanometers and it still not be precise enough for our needs, but we cannot stop car thefts? Or addiction? Or rape? All of which have effective rehabilitative avenues. 

You mean to tell me that we would rather send robots into space and build brain mimicking computers than prevent your little girl from becoming some stress cases victim? Really? That's what we focus on? 

When a kid clams up suddenly and stops doing the things he or she normally does IT IS TIME TO PANIC! IT IS A VERY BIG DEAL!!!!! People, it doesn't matter if its not your child or your problem. That is the kid who is vulnerable to outside influences like drugs, gangs, violence, suicide, prison! You do whatever is necessary to help. What's more uncomfortable, helping now or wishing you had later I life when someone you love was needlessly hurt. It is absolutely a burden on your shoulders at that point. 

It starts with love people. It begins with "hey, I actually care enough to try and help." When your kid is changing his/her normal patterns, its time to wise up. Get extreme, make a big fuss, raise a stink, bring in help, Google the shit out self help discussions, spend sleepless nights and countless hours on it because it is absolutely your job! Hopefully during all this you learn a thing or two. 

Believe me, you would rather go overboard and be preemptive than go see the child you raised in prison or have to identify their body. Maybe even both. 

Crime prevention is YOUR problem because it is ALL of our problems. It effects us all. 

Please, I am begging you, get involved. Hit me up, together we are more effective than apart. Three of us are smarter than one of us. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage