Monday, April 30, 2018

The Toxicity Of Passive Hate Speech

I would define passive hate speech as speech indicating strong dislike or superiority to something or someone in an indirect manner or through perceived humor.

Within the past 20 years it has become more and more unacceptable to be racist, sexist, phobic, or insert inequality term here. Though, we all knew that behind closed doors folks would still hold onto some internal and quiet dissent. This is surely the leftover superiority complexes left by Americas forefathers, thank you very little. But let's be truthful, from genocide and slave ships to passive hate whispered from a space of shame is not the perfect world scenario we hope for, but it is on the way.

With the way things were going the next generation of children's children would be near strangers to racism. Our nation would continue to breed until racism was only in history books. I would like to think that anyway. But suddenly it is okay again to believe in the preservation of a skin color. Suddenly it is okay to turn America into a giant walled prison where armed guards are ready to kill those who want to get in and those who want out.

This because the current administration has made a path for those whispered comments that nestle in shame within an insecure person to suddenly become normalized. This has set us back generations.

This is the true shame, some out there have bought into this narrative to believe in a system of nationalized protection. Remember our world history, learn from it. Our government cannot and will not protect people first, the system is always first. Before human life, decency, human welfare, equality, poverty, justice, is always going to be the government first. Even if your starving, you must pay your taxes. Even if you have nothing, feed the system first or pay the consequences.

Check yourselves, all races, all colors, all sexes, everyone. Make damn good and sure your creating a nation that is worthy to survive because there are 326,000,000 of us and very few government officials.

Do not underestimate our strength. Remember the small bully? He becomes angrier and more violent the closer he comes to being exposed.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Quilts From Prison - Community Aide Coalition



I am in a charity quilting program called the Community Aide Coalition. I am fairly new but I wanted to share my recent project! It is called a Bargello, Argyle print and it took me about 120 hours to complete. It is 100" x 100", HUGE!

We create quilts for charitable causes, homeless folks, auctions (for charity). It is a labor of love!

let me know what you think!

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Held by love. By: James Cody Goodwin

A love letter to one who knows me not.

It is strange to love someone whom you have never met.
Just the idea of loving them almost creates the sensation of form in ones arms, as if love itself has arms with which to hold us.
Perhaps the certainty that you could love them into eternity and beyond is enough to create an alternate world within your heart.
Who is to say such a world is not a reality?
Certainly it feels real to me.
Warmth is there holding at bay the cold loneliness of the night.
It took countless billions of years to bring this person to this place at this time and we all owe the birth of each breath to the deaths of countless stars.
To know the possibility of love for another is a miracle transcending the absence of the loved in your life or even their knowing you exist.
All the pain and horrors that have haunted my life and the lives of everyone who has ever clung to love pales in comparison to the presence of you in my heart.
Knowing you are, that you exist in this world, whether in my arms or not, I can forgive the universe anything.
As radiant as the stars that formed us, you light the night within my heart.

By: James Cody Goodwin #764730. M.S.U. T.R.U. D-Unit.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The impact of a Pride Event in Prison

Thanks for being a part of this little light we shine. I wanted to share the impact of having our Pride event has on us, specifically me.

My first Pride event ever was in prison. I had been fighting hard to get DOC to allow a support group for LGBT people. I Pride event wasn't even on the radar. I was too busy asking for help coping with serious things. My community was committing suicide, being raped, forced into prostitution, extorted, and isolated. The answers I received amounted to "Go see mental health." Usually with a chuckle.

However, in April of 2016 I was informed by a new administration that not only was the LGBT group approved but they were going to allow a Pride event to take place. That June we made US history, as far as I know, by being the first formal Pride event held in prison. It was such a major accomplishment for the entire LGBT community, inmates I didn't even know congratulated me. Most were happy to see something get fought for and a success come from it. It gave so many people hope.

More than 300 people signed up and only a fraction went because of prison gangs, which were angry we were getting rights and help getting away from them. We walked the day of the event down the walkway as people banged on their windows and ridiculed us, we even got reports that gangs were intimidating people into not going when they could.

But we had been recognized, nothing else mattered. Finally we existed. At that point I had a blog nobody ready, written hundreds of letters to LGBT organizations that went ignored, held dozens of people as they cried out in pain from humiliation or worse, I had been consoled a times myself.

That day, something inside me changed, I knew I had made a difference, a light came on within. Somehow I had sparked hope in other people. Just two years before I was being laughed at, now the were telling me how they would never forget my speech and how proud they were to witness everything.

I got to witness another history making event when another facility the next year, 2017, had their first Pride event. People got to feel that same sense of belongingness, achievement, and love. Do you know what it means, what it feels like to be ignored for years? Years! An entire community left to suffer because most believed they deserve to feel that way. Psychological trauma is never rehabilitation. These events are not just ways to bridge the gap between us and our community, which is VITAL for our ultimate healthy reentry and success in the world, its our freedom, our liberation were celebrating.

This year, 2018, we understand we hold value, we are worth something. Some inmates now have never experienced or seen rape, extortion, violence, or forced prostitution...what a major accomplishment! They feel safe enough to be vulnerable and focus on the changes they need to make within.

As an activist I couldn't feel prouder. Thanks for listening.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

To learn more about me, please write me at:

Jeff Utnage 823469 D-610-2
Monroe Corrections Center-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

or sign up for our email program through
Name: Jeff Utnage (Jeffrey or Jeffrey, both are me!)
DOC # 823469

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reframing Violence: What Women Can Do

Ending violence seems to be a topic people avoid. I hold the opinion that it is entirely possible to have victimless communities. While this opinion is met by skepticism more often than not, leave the impossible to those who think its possible. Those that do the impossible will continue to leave skeptics feeling skeptical. Everyone stay in their lanes.

There are many avenues to assist with violence reduction. Women can play a surprising role. In no way am I saying women are responsible for violence nor am I saying women can end violence. This is a call to think critically, so stay with me.

Many men need to feel masculine. In poor communities this is harder to do because often times masculinity is equated with wealth and/or violence to prove dominance (cited from Vera Institute of Common Justice). In poor communities where wealth is nearly impossible to obtain, violence and hyper aggression is favored.

This line of thought got me thinking about how I could address this. How could this be solved, the idea of masculinity being proved through wealth and violence. Some of the ways I thought of to change this image of masculinity were: modern art, media portrayals, fashion, and women's desires.

Men will do strange things for sex. They'll jump into danger, sing karaoke, write poetry, dress ridiculously, behave obnoxiously, or over-the-top mannered. So my idea is, what if we as gay men and straight women really pushed the idea that non-aggressive men are more desirable then aggressive men? The image of the hard faced thug and butt smacking bad boy can easily be replaced by the smiling, well manicured romantic. Women hold an immense amount of authority that they either don't believe they possess or are afraid to use.

I had a boyfriend once and we would run together. One day people on the track were complacently walking in the running lane and I got vocal about my irritation. My boyfriend, who was the Super boy nice guy, immediately expressed how unattractive and even disgusting that was of me. That moment was so influential in me getting my anger under control. I didn't want to be unattractive. Women can do the same thing. When your drooling harem of lusting hounds begins to express that Neandertholic dominance, respond with utter disgust, and mean it.

The worst it will produce is a society full of men who don't lash out violently, oh no. Its a small part, but potentially has big impacts. Try it, write about it. Maybe just think about it. Why or why not would this work?

Love to talk about it.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Monday, April 23, 2018

LGBT Rights Isn't Just About LGBT People

The politics that surround LGBT people and discrimination are broadly distributed throughout our divided community. Race, gender, religion, immigration status, feminism, birth assignment, and the more recent elitism being pushed by the homosexual community are all pieces to the puzzle of full equality.

People in my life have educated me that the causes of my personal plights also affect Muslims, people of color, immigrants, and multinational abuse. Because I haven't asked permission I will leave their identities to them, but, let's say I've been doing a whole lot of self-evolving as a result.

White privilege also applies to LGBT people. We have our little community and believe that it is this Utopian society that should attract LGBT people like a Mecca. But in reality, places like Seattle's Capital Hill may be perfect, if your white and gay and perhaps it paints a target on you if your black and trans.

Because one small faction of us has a disillusioned sense of equality because the government has cleverly corralled them into their own areas, they believe that the fight of others is invalid.

We still have a ton of work left to do. So long as there us separatism, elitism, class ism and racism in any community in any group we are ALL in danger. Hatred knows no boundaries. It is a virus that doesn't care who its host is. When one food source runs out it switches to another. If LGBT achieve full equality and our government allows the hatred of immigrants, hatred will creep right back into our lives. Superiority is a disease.

Our fight isn't solely about LGBT rights, its about human rights.

There is no equality until there is all equality. So reach out to other organizations, if you need help identifying where to go, hit me up, I can help.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Activist Agenda And You

Not everyone is an activist. Activism requires a high level of socializing and furthermore, it requires you love people. Without both, your cause won't be well received.

So what can you do if your not a social butterfly? Here's a short list:

1) Donate funds, time, and materials to organizations that represent you.
2) Volunteer your skills. If you have any business skills at all, your useful in a major capacity, especially to start up orgs. Sometimes, they just need bodies. What's better than 10 activists demonstrating? 500 supporters.
3) Promote organizations and causes to your network
4) Educate yourself. Its not a Muslims job to answer all your questions. Nor is a gay persons or a black persons or an immigrants. You should do what you can before that, and if you do ask, be genuine. Don't insult them by placation. Its not cool.
5) Don't tolerate or participate in conversations that spread division! ***SUPER IMPORTANT*** People spread negative messages under the disguise of "Learn to take a joke!" But when your joke hurts peoples feelings, your just being a bully by saying such things. Bullies aren't cool, neither is intolerance. Speak out against it every time.

That's my short list!

Please leave comments with your input and ideas. Your voice is valuable, use it!

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The World Is A Safer Place Because I Tuck My Shirt In?

I make my bed. I tuck my shirt in. I only have six pair of socks. I do not use forks. I expose every inch of my naked body after every visit I get. I must be rehabilitated. Right?

Tell me, what do you want prisons to do? What results do you want? Think about it, for God's sakes, just think about it. What exactly is it you, as the public, actually want prisons to accomplish? Should I learn something? Should I be brutalized? Should I simply shut up and be silenced? Do you want more violence, more Lock Up Raw? Perhaps the prisons should give everyone access to live video feeds so you can see? Subscription service maybe...

I just do not understand what is expected of me. I could really give a shit less what the officers here expect of me, they do not even view us as human. No giving food to your friends, or neighbors, no sharing a cup of coffee with someone who has nothing. If someone is being beat to death or raped my job is to walk away and not intervene. If someone is dying it is illegal for me to administer CPR, even if it is my only friend in the world. All contrary to basic human kindness, all in the name of rehabilitation and YOUR safety.

There are 2.2 million prisoners in this country, right now. This does not include the ones on probation, parole, have been released etc. Millions upon millions upon millions of felons ranging in ages from 10 years old to in excess of 100 years old.

I remain obedient to these ridiculous people not because I am in prison and they are prison guards, not because I respect their disgusting authority, not because I am afraid of them. No, I make my bed, tuck my shirt in, and every other shameful rule I obey because I know it is expected of me, not because I have any delusions it is going to make me healthier. In fact, I know it is doing the opposite. People were not created to be caged.

I will follow the rules, I will keep my humanity to myself until I go home, wherever in the hell that is. I will dream of the day when I can own 7 pairs of socks, when I can help somebody because it is the human thing to do...because I want to.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My, What Dull Students You Have!

Robert Rosenthal conducted a series of experiments in the early 70's around body language and its effects on others. In one he took two groups of rats, labelled one smart and the other average or normal. He then instructed his students to guide the rats through a maze. Even though the rats were cerbrally identical, the group labelled smart outperformed and was much calmer.

He re conducted the experiment on students and their teachers. Again, even though the students were of equal intelligence, the ones labelled smart outperformed the average.

The reason for this was the body language of the teachers with the students and the rats. They were more empathetic and attentive, gentler.

I take information like that and I think about how that would effect inmates if DOC were to take an actual rehabilitative approach. Officers would not be allowed to stare us down behind sunglasses, or call us retards, or say everything in an angry and condescending tone. They would interact with us, give us positive conversation, know how we're doing because they interact.

I wonder how many less fights or arguments there would be, how much recidivism would drop, how many less gangs there would be. In Washington state the minimum custody facilities are prime spaces for rehabilitation, inmates are begging for change. Instead of change from staff, we get sunglasses stare downs, homophobic rednecks and simple minded hillbillies who would rather be at a tavern drinking their lives away then ever humanizing their slaves.

Sound familiar?

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Searching For The Bright Side In Incarceration

The isolation prison provides is like being shot outside a hospital emergency room where nobody will help you. But you cannot move, so you just lay there and watch, hoping. Upsides? I do not know, until this morning.

I want to help people in a meaningful way so my life was not wasted, so that the few people who do contact me will not be made to feel foolish for doing so.

As I go through the throes of depression and isolation anxiety I have to find reason for it all, purpose. This last bout lasted four days, and it is not quite done, I am still upset. 326 million people in this country and I do not have one friend I can call, really...not one?

Here's the upside. When I get through this, and I will, I will be uniquely prepared to help others through this process. Sort of, 'talk them off the ledge' kind of thing. That way when someone is feeling like there ain't a soul who cares if they live or die, I will. Because I do care. Because nobody should ever feel the way I feel right now, it does not matter what I have done.

I will be positioned perfectly to help others.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Friday, April 13, 2018

More Friends Than Family

When I came to prison I basically lost my family. Almost all of them. Brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, kids...just about everyone. Every friend I ever had, gone. When I first fell I chalked it up to "you shouldn't have gone to prison then."

I went several years before I began to really feel the hurt, the loneliness. Folks in prison understand my inability to verbally articulate why outside contact becomes so important. It feels like your slowly suffocating. It feels like a pain inside your chest. It feels like I died and nobody came to identify the body and now I am forever buried as nothing.

I tried to explain a small portion of this to a loved one recently and I was surprised at how hard it was to explain. I was doubly surprised at how hard it was for them to understand why I would want more outside contact.

I remember when my blood relatives were my sole community. Friends were unrealistic and only took away from familial affairs. I did not have time for friends. Just like my family. What friends they did have were infrequent in their lives and that continues today.

Now, I have created a new family. It stretches from Montreal to Washington. Unlike most of my blood family, these people encourage me to be better, go bigger, love more, forgive purposefully, smile intentionally. I do the same for them.

My Mother has seen me at my very worst and she is still by my side. I will make sure her decision was not a mistake. She will get to see me at my very best, because it is yet to come. I am going to change the world because I am just dumb enough to believe it is possible. Like creating a new family.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Inhumanely Inhuman

I do not even feel human anymore. I'm so sick of begging for human contact. It feels like I've been in a cage for seven years with my arm sticking out between the bars and it is now too tired to hold upright anymore. Now I am just sitting against the edge of the metal narrowly focused on some point in the distance that even I don't really see.

If I bitch about isolation I'm just feeling sorry for myself and some dipshit with a chemical dependency certificate and a guilty conscious will make some half-witted assessment and call it justice. If I don't bitch about it I'm going to explode.

I just want to talk to people. Like real people, and not some superficial, I'm not going to remember anything you say because I don't really give a shit- people. I mean like a friend, just one friend out there that I can call and email and maybe get a visit from. Someone who just wants to laugh and be happy with me. Just one.

I already have people who only halfhearted listen, don't talk to me by phone, won't visit, only email me once every four months and that's usually to tell me "how busy they are."

Or love, holy crap I want to be loved. I need to feel someone love me. Just one, and I am so sick of being told it will come, or be patient, or in Gods time.

Somebody help me, I'm drowning.

With Love, I guess
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Back To The Beginning

I used to give every LGBT person I came across in prison the same speech. I would tell them that no matter what kind of situation they found themselves in, I would help, as long as they were brutally honest. I told them that even if they started the whole thing, I wouldn't judge, abandon, turn my back, tell others, get them in trouble, or intentionally lead them astray.

Basically, I would be a real friend. If they were whoring themselves out for coffee (yup, actually happened), I would try to give them coffee every day until we could get them a job and try and get them away from the sick bastard taking advantage of them.

In prison these things get hidden, stuffed down, swept under the rug. Not many people have the compassion needed to listen to someone say they have caused a major mess for themselves and help them out of it patiently. Most LGBT people in prison have nobody.

Take a moment and think about who you would go to if everything went wrong. What would you do? Could you tell the whole truth? Would they judge you or throw it back in your face? Could they actually help? Inmates do not usually have this option.

Strangely, neither do many of you out there in the free world. 326 million people in America and you can't find one to be honest with making you feel so isolated at times. I understand, I really do. Everyone is looking down and you just want one person to look up and make eye contact, just one.

We will build a community, not some compound or religious but job stuff, but right where we are. By changing ourselves those around us will naturally change. To prove my point, try something for me. For 21 days straight make contact with people by saying hello and remember something about them. Every time you see them greet them. Do this with as many people as you can. Here is a tip, be truly excited to see them, because you just couldn't wait to find out how such and such went, or how so and so did. For 21 days give your social time to actual people, not a machine.

That will build communities.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Monday, April 9, 2018

Go Fund Me Update (Prison Pride Event)

The Go Fund Me account is now up to $80 for the prison pride event. They are getting closer to the event date and need to complete their supply list. Please donate today.

The link is

Thank you!!

The Power Of Invisibility

When I was a child I often thought about superheroes and if I were one, what would I want my power to be? I always said invisibility. I could do all sorts of things, maybe not all superhero stuff if I am being honest.

In adulthood and as a married man I wanted invisibility for other reasons, mainly because I was so unhappy. I thought it would be better to be invisible than to live the farce I was living. The lies I told others and myself...all of it pretty shameful.

Then I came to prison. Come to find out, prison offers invisibility only it is not a gift or some reprieve from misery, no, it is a tool. When I first fell I held the opinion that "it's not that the world needs protection from me, but it is I who need protection from the world." Then I grew out of that.

The invisibility thing, sucks. When your invisible your forgotten by those who know you and when you call them on it they say "I didn't forget you." Which sucks even more because they consciously blew you off. Invisibility means that they never have time to send an email to you but have no problem leaping to their feet and driving twenty minutes for a pack of cheap cigarettes. Invisibility means people only write you out of guilt, oddly enough, that guilt comes from all sorts of places. Invisibility means that when they feel better about themselves, that they have balanced out their karma by communicating with you, they simply move on because your feelings never mattered to begin with.

Cursed is the person who feels invisible.

Because I know what it feels like and have dealt with it for so long now I do not want anyone to feel like this, it sucks. I may just be some queer sitting in prison but know that if you need to feel human again, like you matter to someone, to know someone is thinking about me. We'll make each other visible!

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

LGBT People Are Too Emotional To Hold Organizational Positions, Don'tcha Know

Strange title huh, well, that is precisely what I was told when I asked for structure within our LGBT peer group. At first it was a simple no, but when I brought up that other groups have structure, the real opinions came out. The powers that be think that "certain individuals will take the position of authority and misuse it, besides, you guys are too emotional."

I have to say it cut pretty deep. It got me thinking about the perceptions of those who are one, straight and two, in authority over us. Suddenly so much more makes sense to me.

I organized a goal setting workshop for the new year, I conveyed it would have the highest impact right at the end of December, I had spent 3 years researching goal setting strategy and designed a detailed packet that is interview styled. Answer the questions and when your done you have a well thought out goal and plan. Everyone thought it was a great idea, or so I thought.

December came and went, then by January I was being told to have everything ready to hold our first class but there was no lead up, like other new programs. There was no signage like other programs, no way to alert the population it was even happening. So I took the hint, folks were too busy to concentrate on such things.

I was not angry about it, I stopped it because if it is worth doing it is worth doing right. I just figured it was not the right time. But here I am three months later and I find out the real opinion of how we are viewed, too emotional and willing to misuse and misinterpret some perceived authority. Strange.

Simply because I am LGBT make me this? Other prison groups have positions for structure purposes, for training purposes, to ease the burden on staff sponsors. But not the LGBT group, simply because we are LGBT.

Good to know we are thought of so highly.

Really encouraging. But you know what, I am still going to walk in there and give everything to my peers. I am going to smile and say "thanks for the opportunity" even though my "emotions" are hurt, God forbid I ask for help, clearly it is a weakness.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"