Monday, May 28, 2018

The Problem With Prison Weight Lifting and Homosexuals

The problem with men's prisons having weight decks is the men. Maybe boys is the more appropriate term.

Guys go and pump iron with the purpose of becoming big and intimidating so they will never have to fight. It is rarely because they want to live longer, healthier lives. That is why when someone like me gets on the weight pile it creates animosity with the he-man, super buff, anti-anything-feminine-for-fear-of-looking-weak club.

I do not want to be able to lift a car, or intimidate anyone. I do not like the testosteroned competition that belongs in scripted television. I just want to lose my fluffy midsection before it gets out of hand. Instead I get red-faced gorillas that walk like side stepping bull riders screaming "Water makes you weak!" "C'mon, let's go! It's your set Tinkerbell!"

The animosity derives from my so-called friends using my sexuality as a weapon against others. For instance, "Whad'ya mean you can't finish your set?! The homo does better than you" Then, of course, I have some unstable gym monkey angry at me and I have no idea why, because I was not there.

The problem with men's gyms, is the men. God I hate masculinity...

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Friday, May 25, 2018

Our Gay'ly Bread: God The Husband, Not God The Master

I was reading the old testament book Hosea. I don't know if you've ever read old testament scriptures, but I would urge you to read it with fresh eyes at least. (I read the daily Proverb, whatever day of the month it is I read the corresponding Proverb; I read one old testament and one new testament chapter a day...usually)

Hosea is a special book because in it God deviates from what the Israelites were accustomed to. God did something "new." He instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute. Think about it, in those days if you commit adultery it's grounds for being stoned. Fornication was forbidden. So for a prophet of God to marry a prostitute was no small matter. It must've been one of the biggest scandals, I suspect.
Hosea does marry the woman and has children, which were named strange names. (see chapter 1) Then God used the marriage and children as parallel for His relationship with the Israelites.
In Hosea Ch. 2:16, God explains what kind of relationship He wants with us. He says "'And it shall be, in that day,' says the Lord, 'That you will call Me My Husband, and no longer call Me My Master...'"

This chapter is not about jealousy, as I have heard so many pastors screech. God is jealous in the regard that He loves us, but not jealous like a childish husband. He is clearly hurt in these scriptures, not jealous.

We as people have a wide range of emotions, so does our Creator. I like His scriptures so much because God proves that we don't really know Him at all. Contrary to what so many so-called "men of faith" claim. God deviated from the rules His people depended on and demanded, because He wanted to show us that He is in charge, He just wants our love.

It seems to me that God uses the LGBT community in the same way. Were different, just the way God likes it!

We are proof of God's mysterious love.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Thursday, May 24, 2018

'Poly' Relationships Bred Into LGBT People?

Having multiple partners openly is seemingly commonplace among the LGBT community. Especially for casual sex.

I have found that many LGBT couples are willing to share their bed. I have a few ideas as to why "all of a sudden" this is normal and visible:

1) LGBT people are rejecting traditional marriage values because of its religious implications
2) Society as a whole generally accepts simultaneous multiple partners
3) LGBT people are naturally noncommittal
4) It had been bred into us

My personal opinion is the last. Its been bred into us, we have been forced to embrace such behavior.

Homosexuality had to be hidden for several hundred years. Open relationships for LGBT people have been largely impossible. As a result, "relationships" had to be discreet and quick. Maintaining 'straight' relationships with the same people they were with the night before. It was a silent agreement to keep life rushing forward, your feelings had to be suppressed.

Most gay men I know like the idea of a monogamous relationship but are quick to admit they would need the room to have alternative sexual options to remain happily married or in a relationship. Strangely enough. Which begs the question, why attempt to settle down at all?

Not all LGBT people are like this either. I find it neither bad nor necessarily good. It just is. I fit into the former category. My ideal relationship is to be the "plus one" for an established couple. Where I am dedicated to them and them to me. But that's just me.

Not everyone wants a 'poly' relationship. My only bit of second thought is reconciling my relationship with Christianity. Because I am, and proudly so, a Christian. Whether other Christians like it or not, for that matter, whether other LGBT like it or not. The Bible says there is no marriage in Heaven. Furthermore, if marriage is the union of two souls, why cannot it not be three? Surely if you knot two, you can knit three.

I suppose the question shouldn't be if a habit was bred into us or forced onto us. The question should be, should we try and change it? Is it a bad thing? To be honest, I don't know that we should.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Prisons Are Not In The Business Of Rehabilitation (and The Public Should Care)

What caused me to commit my crimes?

Simple question to ask, right. You would that there are lots of people who would want to know why I did what I did. But guess how many times I have been asked that question? Zero. Oh, did you want to guess? My bad.

Washington is what's called a corrective state, as opposed to a punitive state. The difference is punitive is simply acting like a punishment, while the other "fixes." This is highlighted by the fact that all but one prison in Washington are officially Correction Centers. The exception is Walla Walla State Penitentiary. Other differences are in leadership structures. Prisons and penitentiaries have Wardens, the overseers of punishment enforced by militaristic guidelines. Correction Centers have Superintendents, which are the overseers of rehabilitative and educational facilities, like schools and hospitals. Their job is not to punish, it is to ensure rehabilitation is occurring.

Armed with this view, now, how many times have I been asked "Why did you commit your crime?"


That number, zero, should have everyone outraged, after all, your paying for it. As the public your paying Good job, money well spent. Your paying a correction center to correct nothing. Good job.

BTW, I have a rehabilitation program that is court mandated I take, guess what they told me? They didn't have enough money to give it to me. Now, I will get the treatment, even if it means I have to serve more time ( but at $20,000 a year to house me, it is less expensive to give me the treatment).


You can continue to pretend that none of this happening. But, if we used the knowledge that one little question provides, how many victims could be prevented?

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Artificial Prison

"I feel like I'm in a dream," my friend says suddenly with a quick chuckle. I can't tell if he is trying to be funny or hide a negative attitude, something I've been working on. "It feels like Ashton Kutcher should show up any minute now and shout 'I got you!' But instead I woke up from a shitty dream and I am in hell."

I'm walking to our chow hall the other day, where we are arranged into rows as instructed by an officer. I eat, like is custom twice a day. I eat in my assigned row, I laugh with a few friends over some lame joke that only we find funny. As I'm leaving an officer is standing by the exit door, he's famous for being cruel to us. I smile quickly, nervously, and as I exit he says to another inmate behind us "This place is such a hell hole, there is some entitled mother fu***rs here." I think to myself, why doesn't he take pride in his work? If he's not happy, doesn't he know he can leave? Why work in hell voluntarily if you don't like it? Weird.

I have heard countless times how much folks hate it here, but its not from inmates. The staff who work with us despise their work. I wonder why?

Maybe its because they were promised a job where they can make a difference in the community but instead were given the keys to "hell." Here's what I don't understand, they can change it so fast. Hey, here's an idea, how about we create a place where people go for rehabilitation, we'll send out the knuckleheads and keep the ones who want to change, help them get their lives together, teach them some new skills and when their sentence is up, we'll happily let them go home...but healthy.

Or the can keep creating "hell."

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Defining Equality

Think about the word equality, what imagery comes to mind? Can you think of a time when mankind knew equality? Like an example we can follow? Maybe caveman days, but even then cavemen imagery conjours up hints of a patriarchal clan, far from equal.

Since we don't have an example, we kind of have to think up our own. What kinds of things should be equal? Rights, sure. We're not there yet on rights, if your black and trans your more likely to be shot, average life span of 37 years, right?

But equal rights is just one small sliver of equality. What about access to healthcare, life. More money equals more life, because you get more access to more life saving medical attention.

What about hate? Does equality encompass hate? Our idea of equality says everyone has the right to believe what they want, individual sovereignty. The problem with that is institutions like the baptist church, for example. Some of them hate LGBT people. Or in places like Iran and Nigeria where you are executed for homosexuality. Our idea of equality means they have that right, but that also means the murder of homosexuals and the constant torment of LGBT people by people like the baptists.

We, as a collective, need to come together and define equality. A working definition.

If we want equality, the only way we're going to achieve it is when we know precisely what it looks like. Then we will have something to work on.

What are your thoughts?

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Modern Superheroes

It is no secret I love the LGBT community. Anyone who knows me understands my utter obsession with "us." It's just the way it is. Right, wrong, or indifferent I do things for them I won't do for most.

When they annoy me, I hide it and listen anyway. When they are acting out of pure stupidity, I nurture them through the embarrassing aftereffects. Addictions, immaturity, low self-esteem, selfishness, promiscuous actions, etc. I don't care. I love them all anyway.

It's because I understand. I feel those things to. I've been embarrassed before because of my stupidity, promiscuous, selfish, low self-esteem... and more. I've been through the lowest of times and it took some pretty patient people to help me back up to level ground.

These people are my heroes. They loved me when it wasn't a fad. They wrote me and gave me advice when I was terrified. They listened patiently as I panicked and acted irrationally, then showed me how to do better next time and they still loved me. Heroes do what others won't.

To all of life's heroes. May I join your ranks someday.

With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Writing A Pride Speech

Ever delivered a speech? Its never been a real issue for me to write one, delivery has been suspect in my earlier years, but prison has offered many opportunities to flex that muscle. Writing a pride speech has also been something I have been able to practice, but only twice.

This year I am delivering another Pride speech, a privilege no doubt. But its different this year, I am having difficulty. I've written about 40 handwritten pages of speech parts and nothing flows right. I've typed up dozens of drafts and nothing, so far, has the impact I want. Its a scary feeling.

I don't want to let our community down and it makes me nervous. No amount of "you'll do fines" is gonna subdue the inner turmoil I have about it either. Truthfully it makes me panic more because that means they have faith in me, they expect me to prevail. But if everyone knew the absolute terror I have inside me right now, they would have a lot less faith. I am having such a hard time concentrating that I struggle to write at all, unless its for this blog. Which I don't quite understand.

Obviously I've put to much pressure on myself. This means something to me though, its important to me. No, vital. Its one of the most important moments in my life thus far, top 10 for sure. All of my heroes will be there to watch, all of my friends, people that I have a chance to make them believe in the power of social change. People I have a chance to prove to that I am more than a criminal act once upon a time, that I've changed.

But so far all I have is 900 posts and a introduction. Neat.

The good news is I've been under more pressure. I will deliver a great Pride speech, I will leave everything I got on the table this June and its going to inspire change in this world. Not because I'm arrogant enough to believe I'm capable but because I I'm dumb enough to believe its my calling.

Ohh...I could be a real idiot, guess we will find out June 21st.

With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Is The LGBT Community's Closeness Hurting The Straight Community?

Creating a family is important to me, especially when I lost most of my own. Once I was out n' proud I wanted to wrap myself in the LGBT community, it was home for me, still is. I find myself married to the
LGBT community, I would do things for them that I wouldn't normally do, extending courtesy and patience not normally given, giving preference to my LGBT brothers and sisters over almost everyone to be honest, I don't feel bad about it.

These people I have immersed myself with understand my entire being, no lengthy explanation required. When someone calls one of my trans sisters a him, we all feel cut by it, not a word need be said. However, I have straight friends too, and recently one of them has spoken up about feeling ostracized.

The idea of a straight white male feeling ostracism is strange for me to conceptualize. Nevertheless, he is a friend, and a good one at that. He would do things for me that many cannot comprehend, even in the LGBT community. It took me a minute to actually witness his ostracism, but I did see it. It took place during a moment where the LGBT community was preparing for an LGBT event.

Now, when your planning an African American event, it makes sense to have African Americans plan the event, right? That's the concept with LGBT events, who better to plan an event for LGBT folks than...LGBT folks. There was some talk about only LGBT people planning, which I understand. But that word, only, that's the ostracism. Straight's only, white's only, rich only, member's only. The word only meant exclusion, if your inside the group you matter, but if your outside your opinion means less than. Folks, I believe that's called discrimination.

This doesn't mean I'm all about changing things, LGBT people have been forced into silence for so long by so many groups of "only's" that I find it hard to sympathize. I feel like saying, "Hmm, discrimination doesn't feel so good, does it?" Saying it more like a warning to make sure he never does that to someone else.

Allow me to step off my high and mighty horse for a moment though and present a simple argument. I want to experience the world, I want other cultures to allow me to witness what makes them happy, participate in their joy. Isn't that what he's asking for, that experience? How will we know our impacts on the straight community if we never bother to include them or ask?

Most of us are pretty good about inclusion, mainly because we know what hatred and "only" means, we're conscious to not make others feel that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Comments anyone?

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"


Monday, May 14, 2018

We Need A Queer In NASCAR

I began watching NASCAR because of Danica Patrick. Nobody else in NASCAR I could identify with. First of all, they portray themselves as southern accented, men's men. Which, does not exactly translate into LGBT friendly. It actually translates into do not attend NASCAR in person because you may just get butchered by some rebel flag carrying Baptist who either belongs to the KKK or his wife who hates you just as much. That's NASCAR for me. Until Danica.

I would watch, in agony I might add, Danica get wrecked race after race. After several years and millions of dollars in wasted rubber and fuel, she walked away. But so did I. I enjoyed NASCAR so long as I had someone in the game, someone that flew in the face of all that stereotypical machismo. One could root for Bubba Wallace, someone who is African American, but this is not about NASCAR diversity, it is about who I identify with. I'm white and LGBT.

So, either NASCAR needs to groom a few LGBT folks or figure out a way to let folks like me get to know their drivers, because this NASCAR season, they lost a fan when they lost Danica.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Sunday, May 13, 2018

It Is OK To Change, Unless It Is Your Political View?

Trump has been the single most controversial president in my era. I might even suggest no other president has divided America like this since Lincoln, maybe Kennedy. Anyway, that is not the point, the point is when Trump announced he was running, I was hopeful about it.

I really despise politicians because they go to college to learn politics. Meaning, they are in it for the career, the power, fame, etc. They do not care about the 326 million people in this country, they care about career longevity. Trump made them nervous and then eventually made them tremble in fear. This I liked.

Then Trump began courting men like Jeff Sessions, Pence, and Bannon all enemies of LGBT people. Then I became nervous and changed my political stance. Because we are allowed to do so. New info brings new assessment and possible beliefs, right?

Why then must people have to believe in Democrat or Republican? You know you have a choice, right? You can choose to believe in neither. We cannot afford another Trump in office, but neither can we afford another career oriented, old money, self-serving, line drawing, winner of the debate team Republican or Democratic politician.

Because we are a free country we have the freedom to say we do not like how things are going and then guess what, a political science degree from Harvard is worthless for an election. Politics do not teach freedom, they teach career.

Have an opinion, even if you end up changing it with new information, at least you weighed in.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I'm A Boo Radley, To Those Who Think Like A Scout

Sometimes I feel like Boo Bradley. Sometimes I feel more like Mr. Ewell. Sometimes I feel like one of the Finch children, learning to think like their disgraceful community, erasing who they are so others feel better about themselves.

The community I reside in, I get really discouraged with. Harper Lee did a great job of capturing reality and characterizing a communities flaws. Ever notice how in To Kill A Mockingbird once Tom Robinson was murdered the black community began to fade from view? Once Aunt Alexandra threw a fit over Atticus allowing Scout to potentially go to Cal's, the black narrative died completely, like me. Forgotten.

I do not hold any illusions that I am anything like these characters, but elements of each exist within me, as they do you. Unless you were to ask certain people, of course. Some folks need me to be a narcissist, some need me to die, some need me to be the epitome of change, some need me to not call Thursday through Sunday. What am I supposed to do?

Let me ask the question, what am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do? Seriously. Self-induced death is the easy way out, life in prison costs too much money, rehabilitative programming costs too much money, do not be selfish but focus on yourself, put in work to reach out but expect no replies, call home but do not ask for forgiveness, trust everyone but expect none in return, tell everyone around me my darkest moments by the third meeting but expect no reciprocity, accept the single life as Gods plan for me but still worship God as if I am okay with it.

I have put shiny trinkets in a tree trunk to be found and like Boo, nothing was put back. Yet I still do it. I wonder why it is okay to forget me.

It seems like I am in a no win situation. If I point out that I am rehabilitated and want to date or have community contact, I risk being labelled awful things. Which, have someone call you a name often enough and wonder if you won't consider its validity, even if it is just one person. It is okay though, that one person gave up the right to have an opinion of me when she gave me up for adoption. Which, if I point out, I'm the monster, boo.

Boo Radley was heroic and misunderstood, I'm neither. Our similarities end with we are both the scapegoat for other people's anger and spite. When they feel angry and there is nobody else to beat on, it is okay to beat on me because the entire community has turned their back to me. They may not agree with what's happening, but they certainly won't stop it.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I Wanted You To Know: A Father's Wisdom To Children No Longer There

There are going to be times where people use you, manipulate you, bully you, make you angry or hurt deep inside. People will hold things over your head and remind you of everything you once were and definitely everything your not. They will cut you off and cut in front of you, some will get special attention, some will even get rewarded when they just did not deserve it. All of this and more will happen to you in normal, everyday life.

I want you to know it is okay to forgive them, it is also okay to feel upset, or whatever you actually feel, it is okay to feel that way. Most importantly, I wanted you to know that this is all temporary and the more you keep your cool, the more you do what is right, what is humane, what actually benefits people (even the mean ones, especially the mean ones), the more people will look up to you.

An enemy serves you no purpose. Once someone is your enemy, they have exhausted their full use and must be discarded. Refuse, I repeat, refuse to have enemies. This above all else.

Sometimes in submission we find and harness our most powerful, poignant, and stable selves.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Dating Inside Prison

As someone with same-sex attraction I find the dating scene in prison particularly interesting. First, let's separate dating and hook-ups. Both occur, dating is more than sex whereas hook ups are solely about sex.

Prison dating is weird. Because everything in prison is amplified, everything. If you love you are madly in love, depressed is deep depression, hate is lethal hate. One person ignores you than its the whole world (I can hear my friends and family chuckling here, I am SO guilty of this). Nothing is in moderation. This is largely because we are in a very unnatural setting adapting to very unnatural circumstances and required to act naturally during the process. This can throw things off a bit internally.

Dating is no exception. Break ups are quiet and fairly modest, affection is limited to exaggerated body language, letters, and walking in circles. But this happens with regular friends all the time. It is really hard to differentiate friend from lover when you must act the same towards both.

I have developed the position, through experience and witness, that relationships between inmates is unhealthy because of prison rules preventing it, not because its not a good idea. We spend a lot of time with the same people and its hard to not develop personal connections, but the same connection I have with a really good friend is the limit we have for a potential partner. For this reason, and for this reason alone, prisoner to prisoner relationships are not good. If it ever becomes legal to be gay in prison, my position would change.

I believe in love anywhere though. I believe that love is border less and does not comprehend rules. So while I don't think its a good idea to go looking for your soul mate in the cell next door, who am I to say its not possible? Between you and me, I would wait until I can kiss my man in public without fear. But that's just me.

With Love
Jeff Jeffebelle

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Legitimizing Almost Trauma

If you are in the woods and walking, enjoying your hike, not another person around for miles. Then, you cross a black bear, it is just feet from you and stands up on its hind legs and growls, you can smell it even. Your adrenaline is going to rise, your gonna panic, all the possibilities race through your mind.

Your heart rate is skyrocketed and you can feel your pulse pounding in your fingertips and neck. On instinct alone you freeze and prepare to run despite all the TV shows that have told you to freeze. The bear drops down and turns the other way and begins a quick retreat.

Moments later, you realize your OK and the bear is gone, you were very lucky. You almost got attacked.

Here is my point, did you incur trauma that needs to be talked about? Think about it for a moment, will you continue your walk or will you go back to your car, maybe even run back to your car? Will it be a while before you walk that trail again?

Now, take that moment of almost fear, when your heart is pounding, your eyes are dilated, your brain is operating on pure instinct, you are searching for options in the presence of a threat... right.

Most inmates feel this their entire sentences. Our amygdala's being over used for long periods of time where we run into "almost" threats every day. They are dressed as inmates and staff.

Rehabilitation should not include this element. It is not healthy. If you want to help stop the cycle of recidivism and criminal activity, become a psychologist and work with inmates. Then, demand changes from staff.

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"

Friday, May 4, 2018

Love, Hopefully - Dear Future Lover

There's things you don't know about me
I'll do my best to share it all with you
That's my job
Your job?
Love me anyway
It might be hard to do
It'll be worth it if you survive

I've been through some shit
Sort of like a wild runt who survived the scrutiny of a pack
Never quite accepted but to hard to kill
I've had to accept a few things over the years
Some of them very unpleasant

When I choose to love you
It will wrap you like a blanket on a chilly evening
I will warm you like a cup of hot chocolate in your palms
I'll love you through anything
I'll make sure you know, understand
That you're loved unconditionally
I'll be worth your time
Love like mine
You read about it
No judgment
No misleading
No anger
My baggage is taken care of

I am fiercely independent
I have dreams
You better be the same
Or you won't last with me long
I'd rather hear the truth than ever wade through someones lies
Expect that from me

I have love to give
In excess
Our life will consist of trillions of little memories that will rock the world
Other people will watch in envy at our boldness
The love we could share
You only have to love me in return

With Love
Jeff "Jeffebelle"