Human Me

After 7 1/2 Years In Prison… by Jeff Utnage

Prison has effects on people. If you have ever had a family member incarcerated you might understand firsthand. I want to make something crystal clear, I am avidly against the current penal system. Having said that, the effects of prison have not been entirely negative.Coming to prison shook me awake. It was like I was …

Are Trans People Taken Less Seriously? by Jeff Utnage

Have you ever had someone attribute your words to someone else or felt that your opinion is not valued? It feels awful to be in a group of people and have someone not take you seriously, as if you have no opinion worth listening to.Women have experienced this for a very long time at home, …

So You Don’t Know Me… by Jeff Utnage

I am Jeff, some call me Jeffebelle, some call me Jefferika…both of which I think are funny. I am gay and identify as Gender Non-Conforming. I am an activist, college graduate, mentor (and mentee!), and public speaker. I stand against all forms of hate, violence, victimization, bullying, discrimination, and racism.I thoroughly enjoy Audrey Hepburn (I …

Impossible: Why I Hate That Word by Jeff Utnage

I want to eradicate the word impossible from everyone’s vocabulary. I truly hate it. When I hear the word impossible what I actually hear is the limitations one has agreed to. Borders that imprison that person and believe me, I hate prisons. Take it from someone who is sitting inside one, they are debilitating.Think back …

Somebody Else’s Paintbrush by Jeff Utnage

What if none of us were in control? Like nothing you do was actually you at all. For some that might seem scary, not for me. For me it seems natural like one 45 angle buttressing another 45 angle to form this beautiful corner, but neither angle is responsible you see, someone else married them …

Life Lessons From Inside Prison by Jeff Utnage

This morning I had to attend a meeting where community members came to support a program and interact with us. These are exciting moments for me for multitudes of reasons, this one meeting was of particular interest because it was for Defy Ventures. I spent the morning making hair product ( I combine Vaseline, conditioner, …

Prison Program Helping Inmates Reach Deep Inside Then Preparing Them For Business: Defying The Odds With Defy Ventures by Jeff Utnage

A new program has come to the institution I am at called Defy Ventures. Defy is a program that has many functions, on the surface, but at the heart of Defy is second chances. I applied to the program, along with many, many others, and I was one of 50 chosen. The application process was …

Is Homosexuality About Opportunity? by Jeff Utnage

I am Gender Non-Conforming, which to me means that I am neither fully masculine nor feminine. In prison this offers me a unique vantage point with many straight and gay men. Gay men and I get along quite well, most gay men see me as a gay man, which is fine by me. Straight men, …

Offended by Jeff Utnage

A person was born male but inside knows without a doubt that something went wrong because this person knows for certain they are female. So this person assumes female societal norms. This person is now female in the eyes of many, many people. However, some are offended.A woman doesn’t feel an attraction to men but …