Saturday, September 30, 2017

How To Build Someone Up

Building someone up isn't this highly complicated and evasive chore. It's a basic duty as a human being and a fantastic way to positively influence your environment and bolster your own self-esteem.

As LGBT people we can run into a lot of minor situations that hit our self-esteem. Bring it down in tiny amounts throughout our day-to-day lives. This isn't just for LGBT people though.

We can change peoples lives by pointing out something positive about them. Particularly the people we interact with frequently. Then, its genuine and is usually received that way. A genuine compliment.

Some people don't know they're good at anything, or have a positive quality. You pointing it out can reinforce positive changes within that person. 

Building up your employees, children, spouse, or colleagues is extremely important not only for them, but for you as well. It sets the tone for what types of interactions you want with them. Interactions of love, trust, and openness. 

Telling someone that they have great customer service skills, or excellent management skills won't deter your growth in any way. It will create an atmosphere around you where people are productive, happy, willing to please one another. All it takes is for you to create that. 

We all want to be good at things, help us out and tell us. Then the common factor in the happy environment is you...

With Love

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

LGBT People Who Divide: How Do You Justify Mimicking The POTUS?

I am in prison, my news is limited to the channels on my TV. I hear a lot about Trump causing divisions, how much the marginalized communities hate it. I see protests and politicians using their floor time to talk about uniting divided parties.

I sit here, as a gay man. I am apart of the LGBT community. Period. I'm in that mix and it really doesn't matter that I'm in prison or what I'm in prison for. But you wouldn't know I'm a part of your community. Because I'm divided out. My fellow brothers and sisters ignore my handwritten letters and plea's for help. I write and write and the community as a whole ignores me.

Another friend of mine, Gary, was in prison for over 8 years and he experienced this too. In fact, his largest support came from incarcerated straight people. Even I am guilty of not providing the kind of emotional support he needed. But his story isn't unique. It's mine too. Where is everybody?

The Internet is a powerful social force. Obviously. This is the only way I can connect with other people. Well, this and sympathetic friends. 

I have to say how surprised I am that the gay community can be so upset at division when they themselves are divisive? 

When we have a leader who is actively dividing, the answer is to unite. The answer is to show impervious solidarity. 

I am an activist, advocate, friend, mentor, and student. If you have received a letter from me and ignored it, shame on you. I have sent letters to hundreds of organizations. When someone is reaching out, its your job as a human being to respond. Because if you don't then the Presidents regime is working. We divide ourselves. 

Here I am, still reaching out. Will anyone out there NOT mimic Trump?

With Love

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The LGBT Elite: Cool Kids and Visionaries

I was talking to a friend about writing so many LGBT organizations and receiving no responses. I explained that I understood not getting replies from people who have not met me, but it was bothering me that people who have met me, even said they wanted to connect with me, have ignored me completely despite several attempts to reach out. 

My friend told me that he wasn't surprised, that the people I was writing were the "cool kids" of the LGBT community. They have all the gay friends, do all the gay things, go to all the gay events. If its not shiny and brand new right in front of them its not relevant. He finished by reminding me that the prison stigma is real. 

I thought about that for a long while. I read and reread the simple paragraph multiple times. It just wasn't sitting well with me. It wasn't my friends statements that got to me, but I wasn't sure how I was suppose to feel, what he was saying was absolutely true. 

Prison has the same social divisions that the free world has. Even the "cool kids", the ones that are ultra popular, all up in the mix, has a little knowledge about everything. I know because I am one of them. Which is where my dilemma presents an interesting case. Can I be upset with the cool kids if I'm not relevant enough for them to notice?

In truth, I don't need them to accomplish my life's goals. My goals are large in nature and require a different set of organizations to fulfill. I would much rather include the current culture of movers and shakers in my plans, after all, they are highly experienced in dealing with highly motivated people. These people will inevitably be apart of what I want to do ultimately. But they are not my intended audience. 

I wonder what other people have to say about this? What are your thoughts?

With Love

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Netanyahu Defends Gays At UN: This Is Why I Love Israelites

Netanyahu Defends Gays At UN: This Is Why I Love Israelites

A few months ago I wrote Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. I commended him for his governments fairly recent positive treatment of the LGBT community in Israel. Though there is not total equality, there is a very good start. 

I was surprised to hear Netanyahu speak against Iran hanging homosexuals. For a Middle Eastern country to take a stance that its wrong to execute homosexuals is incredible. For Israel to do it is even more so. 

This is a classic example of someone standing up for what's right no matter what the consequences may be. 

With tempers inflaming in the Middle East and Israel seeming to be the main focal point of so much unwarranted anger and animosity I find it honorable that Netanyahu would publicly say such a thing that defends his marginalized LGBT community. Especially when it is so controversial in the religious community.

I think I'll write Ole Netanyahu another letter. 

With Love

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Life Changes When Someone Fights For You: The Impact Of Caring For Fellow LGBT People Globally

Have you ever stood up for someone else? I once stood up for a guy who was being called a faggot in a very derogatory way. The aggressor was using it venomously to intend emotional pain. I intervened because that has happened to me and when I looked around for help, people turned away in fear of conflict. It's a terrible feeling to feel alone when you actually need help. Believe me, I know and once you experience it firsthand you won't easily stand by while it happens to someone else.

Standing up for others who are unable, not skilled enough, afraid, meek, mild mannered, or have made mistakes to put themselves in a situation is sometimes difficult to do. Especially when you think the other person doesn't deserve help or put themselves in the situation. Case in point, when a person gets beat by their partner physically, society expects the victim to leave. If they don't then many justify the abuse by saying "Well, they asked for it, they should have left after the first time." 

This isn't said to justify the assaultive behavior, this is said to justify your reasoning for not intervening. To justify your fear, turn a blind sleep better at night.

While some may be okay with this, I am not. This very problem is why global aide organizations are so necessary and why there aren't enough of them. This is why our Russian LGBT family is being murdered silently while their government turns a blind eye. This is why its happening all over the world, because people are unable or to afraid to stand up for themselves. 

It is our duty as human beings to stand up for those who need it, not just for those who we think deserve it. Everyone deserves help. 

Everyone deserves your empathy and compassion. Nobody deserves to suffer alone and isolated. Nobody.

It is our complete and total failure as a human being to think it is not our fault that bad things are still happening elsewhere. It is your problem, it is your job, it is your responsibility. Not the governments, not Gods, not the rich dude down the street, not the police, not the Mayors, not the American Red Cross, not the United Nations...its Yours! Its Mine! That's a fact.

We have voices, we have brains. For once, put your judgments aside and let's work together to do some amazing things. You would be surprised at what a few people are capable of. I promise you won't lay your head down at night regretting. 

With Love

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Israel: I Wish I Had A Message From God For You

As believers in God our lives revolve around a word from our Creator. We will wait generations to hear a glimmer of a word from above.

I wish I could hear our Lord clearly, without the distraction of modern technology. My soul feels His presence but my mind is full of clutter.

As a gay Christian man I think about Israel often. The Israeli people are my personal inspiration for prosperity, coming through persecution, and loving when I am not loved. 

I have only been persecuted for a little while, Israel has been persecuted for thousands of years. The strength in faith it takes to endure...I am watching. Watching so I can learn. 

You are in my thoughts daily. Perhaps I will be in yours as a brother one day.

With Love

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tinsel Princess (and Other Things That Come With an Aging Gender Queer)

Tinsel Princess doesn't really come to mind when I think of myself. When I look in the mirror I want to see no facial hair, thin brows, puffy lips and good teeth. 

In reality, what I see is bad teeth (from years of abuse, I admit) constant five o'clock shadow (even after I shave) and gray hair. 

I don't want to be critical of myself, but let's face it, we have to age. That's the deal. We will get gray hair, which my entourage of men refer to as tinsel because they know I'm sensitive to them pointing out my gray. In fun, they great me by saying "Good morning Tinsel Princess!" Of all the things for them to point out about the effects of aging, my "tinsel" is the least of worries.

I am only 35, but I still remember when 35 seemed old to me. Years when I thought every 35 year old had their stuff together. When if you were 35 you must be mature, smart, "adult." My oh my, how I was wrong! 

I am still discovering myself. Being 35 in prison sucks, but I would rather be 35 in prison and know who I am then 35 out there and living a lie, confused about my role in life. Clarity comes with "tinsel."

For all you budding bible babies out there, Proverbs says that a gray head is the crown of old men. We can adjust it a little for ourselves here though, "tinsel" means your smart if it was gotten in righteousness. Honey, I age righteously!

Our past always influences our future. But it doesnt define it. I may have spent a decade in prison, have bad teeth and tinsel in my hair. But I know exactly who I am, I know that a little saved cash can fix my teeth (thank God for dentists right!), $50 at a salon will dye my hair a respectable auburn again, and you just can't buy wisdom. 

Whatever your "flaws" are, don't sweat them. Beauty can and is always being redefined. Rather, evolving. As our culture matures, so does our understanding of life. 

With Love
Jeff "Tinsel Princess" 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Problem With Evolution Is...

I think about evolution alot. The whole idea that we were once fish or monkeys just doesn't ring very true with me. I know that alot of the GBT community needs to believe in evolution of ancient alien theories so that the theory of a God can't be true. I get it. 

While I agree that some people who are Christian make it very difficult to believe in Christianity, I cannot and will not, agree that Christianity is againt GBT people. I have no problem having a robust and healthy debate over biblical symantics any day of the week. I will warn you though, before you come at me with scripture, you better be prepared because I am...

Back to evolution though. Some parts of evolution is necessary. Like the ability to eat wheat products or corn. Our digestive system has evolved to process such substances. Our brains have undergone growth to adapt to a changing world. I get it.

But the idea we came from monkeys doesn't make any sense to me and here is why: if monkeys were in an environment that required them to develop newer skills, thus sparking an evolutionary process, then the entire species would have evolved.

Monkeys are still around, so are gorillas and apes. Why didn't they evolve? Did someone forget to tell them? Quick, someone go tell them that we are evolving! But that isn't the only species. What about fish or reptiles?

If the environment required that special adaptations be made, then every organism of the same genetic type would have developed the same special adaptation or died as a result of NOT developing them, or evolving. But seeing as how monkeys are still around and we fish for fish...clearly they survived just fine.

That's the problem with evolution. It has serious flaws that, for me anyway, deflate it so entirely that I cannot and will not take it seriously.

I believe that we as people, particularly we as LGBT people, need to think for ourselves. Just because some jackhole gets a degree and spouts some theoretical garbage doesn't mean that it's true. Columbus didn't discover s**t yet we still remember and honor the man that ruined and almost brought an entire civilization to extinction and he went to south america...

Have an opinion. Even if its wrong and be willing to learn. Its our greatest differentiator from animals, our ability to adapt.

With Love

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I Just Paint My Toes

The world hangs and I drag
Scared little girl within the happy fag
When the insecurity grows and grows
I take an hour and paint my toes!

Dogs around me spew hate
Thinkin' I will succumb to some fate
I walk on by only heaven knows
I just paint my toes!

Pinks and purples and glitters galore
Candy painted and sparkly evermore
I can't be sad with woes
When I just painted my toes!

Go ahead you, be you
Say what you want, do what you do
Did you expect to see me in angry throws
Don't you understand, I painted my toes!

When the world hates me
I just paint my toes

When I'm just a faggot
I just paint my toes

When you call me ugly
I just paint my toes

When you call me obese
I just paint my toes
I just paint my toes
I just paint my toes!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fighting Back Against Religious Freedom And Discriminatory Businesses

Almost everyone knows about the bakery owner refusing to make a cake for a same sex couple. It is enraging for some, heartbreaking for others, and let's not forget the "I don't care" crowd.

But how can we push back? Let's not forget that many of us are Christian and under the same act we are protected. So, as LGBT people and LGBT allies, you can advertise that you will not serve bigots or those that promote hate because it violates your religious freedom as a Christian.

Christianity at its core is peaceful and non-hateful. Our name is "Christ" "Ian" which means we follow the example of "Christ." Because we are protected under the same act, the same law. We can refuse service to those that promote hate namely, other Christians who discriminate and anyone else who belongs in the hate category... Nazis, White Nationalists, etc. 

Because that violates our religious freedom. It is a fundamental belief of Christianity to separate ourselves from those who cause us to stumble. Well, Christians who say we should burn in hell are causing me to stumble...refuse to serve them at your businesses and advertise it. Tell them to go elsewhere that their money is no good with us. 

This will force lawmakers to clearly define or get rid of the religious freedom act altogether. They can't side with the bakery owner and not let you practice the same set of values. The same goes for Muslims and other religious groups. The idea isn't to promote divisions but rather teach our bigoted regime a lesson. Law manipulation is going to bite them in the butt. 

We can do that too, start refusing service to anyone who believes women are lower, subservient, Christians who hate LGBT people...or anyone who hates LGBT people.
Refuse to shop places that refuse service to LGBT people. Blast them on social media, give them the reviews they deserve. 

They'll change their minds then, our fearful and intolerant government regime will be forced to act. They don't care about us, they care about their reputation as business men and women. 

With Love

Sunday, September 10, 2017

To The Israeli LGBT Community: Greetings From America!

Our countries may be vastly different in terms of culture, leadership, and even history. One thing is the same, our struggle as LGBT people. As homosexual and transgendered and bisexual people we are persecuted by our religious leaders. We are ostracized by our families, our friends, our communities. 

But we have one another. We can reach across oceans and embrace one another. We can affectionately and compassionately greet one another with a friendly kiss! Muah!

As many know I am a believer in God, the Almighty, YHWH. He us my protector and advocate. He is my Father, as He is everyone's. 

Our community is riddled with fear over God. However, God loves LGBT people. We are NOT abominations! We do exist! We didn't CHOOSE to be this way. 

We no more chose to be gay, bisexual, trans or whatever, no more than our foot chose to be a foot. 

I want to hear from Israel. I wrote Benjamin response...yet! But I really want to hear from the Israeli LGBT community! What is life like for you? What does your community look like? What do you love, what do you cherish? 
Write me, send photos of what you see as beauty, I would love to hear from all of you, I love mail!

Jeff Utnage 823469 D-610-1
Monroe Correction Center-Twin Rivers Unit
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

With Love

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Meaning Of Narcissism: Are LGBT Narcissistic?

When I first fell (came to prison) my biological mother called me narcissistic every chance she got. I didn't know what it meant. I thought it meant selfish, in which case, she was right. The problem was, I was adopted at a young age by my aunt, whom I call Mom, and my biological mother, whom I call Aunt, didn't know me very well. No one did.

So after a few months of this I decided to ask my therapist what narcissism was. Narcissism is defined as follows: 1) excessive love or admiration of oneself 2) an arresting of development at or a regression to the infantile stage of development in which one's own body is the object of erotic interest.

In other words, they find their own body the most attractive and are sexually aroused by it.

This couldn't be farther from the truth. I didn't love myself and I couldn't look at myself in the mirror without being filled with rage. I was disgusted with my entire being. Selfish, yes. Narcissistic, a resounding "absolutely not."

So, I told her what it meant and that if she was going to call me names or apply labels, make sure they fit. Selfish, monster, fag, terrible, worthy of death, fat...all could have fit. I would have not said a word. But narcissistic? 

She stopped writing me. She decided I was not worth her time anymore. I'm cool with that, at least we have an understanding. I had told so many lies, so many acts of selfishness, so many stories of flat out lies...just to cover up my inner self, this person I didn't want anyone to find out about. A small, meek queer hidden under a monster, a monster who lied and manipulated. At least now we were speaking truth. Truth is my best quality now, I cherish it with my life. I'll never return to the man, or thing, I was. 

Are LGBT generally narcissistic? Hardly. Self-esteem is low among LGBT people generally. Its covered up by bravado and boisterousness, multicolored clothes, and thick makeup but its there. Insecurity boiling just below the surface.

Don't let anyone mislabel you for their comfort. That's the point of this story. Just because someone else needs you to be something, doesn't mean you have to play along. Its themselves they have the issue with, don't allow them to drag you into their world. Fix yourself, change what needs changing at all costs. Ignore the ones that spew forth negativity. Especially if they share the same blood. They should love you through anything, that's family. Family, true family, often times doesn't share the same blood. 

That is a common thread in LGBT people everywhere. We are mislabelled by society and our families can be viciously hurtful. Just know that they are replaceable. I'll be your family. Someone else will gladly take their place, someone who just wants to love another friend like family.

With Love

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To All LGBT Related Organizations, Councils, Committee's, Groups, Caucuses & Businesses (& any other "types")

If you are an entity of some sort that is furthering the equality or protection agenda for the LGBT community in some way, shape, or form...expect a letter from me soon.

It doesn't matter what state your in or what country your in. It doesn't matter if your 2 people strong or 2 million people strong. I don't care if you've been around for 30 days or 30+ years, I want to talk to you!

I have been sending letters to organizations for years, with very little response! I have written (yup, bout to call some of y'all out, in good cheer though!) LGBT Allyship of Seattle, Seattle Pride Foundation, ACLU, Human Rights Council, Tacoma Rainbow Center, Olympia Rainbow Center, Seattle Rainbow Center... just to name a few and guess how many this hungry homo heard back from? Zip, zero, zilch! 

Now I know y'all are busy. I get it. However, I'm just letting you know that I am not giving up and you can expect more letters. Somebody is going to respond to me. This prissy princess is a little tired of being so full of heart and pride and nobody taking the time to write little ole me a letter. Type it up, print it out and mail that...its called communication. If your having trouble, type it in 140 characters or less, add a bunch of homojii's and send that...

Jeff Utnage 823469 D-610-1
Monroe Correction Center - Twin Rivers Unit
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

On a serious note, I am reaching out to those that are trying to better our community in any capacity. This is my life's purpose, my goal. I have skills that can be used and refined and untapped skills that can be very useful to those wanting to make a real difference. We can:

Collaborate on writing 
Exchange community data (needs, biggest areas of concern, etc)
Create a bigger organization 
You can write on here

The list goes on and on. Of course, I always need assistance locating potential mentors, financial donors, material donors, people who just want to chat (penpals), plus much more. If you have a will to help we can work together to make something happen. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage

The Leadership Dilemma: Where Are My LGBT Mentors?

Organized, self-confident, integrity...just a few of the words I would use to describe a leader. Oh wait, I have a few more: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, gender fluid...there, much better!

I do my best to learn leadership skills without being mentored by someone formally. Not by choice though. I am forced to learn from afar. I am a good student who is quick to apply needed character changes and life skills necessary.

Leaders need a vision, check! Got one of those. Leaders need self-discipline, yup, developed that too! They need a good character, I have one now! They need a positive attitude, I'm about at a 80 out of 100 on that one, but I am working on it! 
I am reading books on the subject of leadership and when an author references other books I check into those as well. I am starving for knowledge.

What I need is someone to work with me. I have accomplished a lot given my environment and I am not done yet. I have more to do for myself and for my peers. 

What I am hoping is that someone out there, in business, activism, and/or life in general, will mentor me. I am dedicated to being better and will not let down those willing to teach me. I just need you to take that chance. 

With Love

Friday, September 1, 2017

I'm Feeling Insecure, Will You Acknowledge Me?

No, really, I'm actually asking for this. This is something I wrestle with constantly in my mind. I have written letter after letter, request after request and it is so disheartening to be ignored continuously. 

The last response I got I had to ask for. "Hey, this is a letter to ask you to respond to my last letter." Sound pathetic? Well, because it is.

I am in prison. Not dead. I have committed a crime, developed compassion and empathy, instituted cognitive change within. It doesn't mean I'm without feelings. 

Seriously, I have them. I know, shocker. Its one thing to send a few letters and not get a response. Its something entirely to send letters for several years and still not get a response. I don't know if I should finally call myself foolish and just give up or call myself tenacious and write more. Strange crossroads I'm at today.

I know I'm easy to ignore. I'm not right in front of you, I'm a criminal to boot. In prison, no less. Shunning can be justified using such language. 

What do I have to do to get you to talk to me?
Its not a statement, its a question.

With Love