Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Catching Stones by Ruth Utnage

Can you think of a time when a stone was thrown at you and it hurt?

There is a story in the bible of an "adulteress" who is about to be stoned and Jesus intervenes by asking who among the stone throwers is without sin. I like that story because I identify with the adulteress. Stones don't have to be made of stone you know. They can be words that hurt like stones, labels that crush like boulders or looks that sting like rocks being thrown.

I'll ask again, can you think of a time when a stone was thrown at you and it hurt? I bet you can without much effort it's kind of what makes us human.

But I also identify with the stone throwers. I've called people names and worse than that, I've slung mud and boulders and pebbles and stones.

Being trans in prison having committed a sex offense makes you feel like your about to walk out of prison into the center of town square and brace yourself for stoning. It kind of makes you wonder why you ever wanted to leave prison before you ever actually leave prison. The level of decent human interaction us girls get is limited. Staff can be so vicious and sometimes they don't have to say a word. Silence can be worse than any stone.

Cis-women (not all, of course) have no problem reminding us we are not "real" women. Men too. Stone thrown. We are not women, we're "trans-women" or "transgender", but not women, boulder applied. We are forced to walk into a men's bathroom and wait for a urine covered toilet seat in a crowd of men who either salivate to get you cornered and act out some twisted fantasy because we're nothing more than objects (stone) or they shake their head and laugh because we're just some dude who sits to pee (stone). Staff gets a kick out of the jokes that are said while were in there, especially after we asked to use a different restroom because its inappropriate for a women to use a men's restroom with a bunch of men in it and we are told no. Even though there is another option 20 feet away. Stone. It's the whistles when we walk to the gym, and the snide remarks. It's being called a prison tranny fag, daily.

The hope is that we can get out and be done with this, be free from stones being hurled at us from the agency called our state. Washington is supposedly "liberal" and accepting but from what us girls understand the state imposes more acts of violence than any convicted felon ever has or ever will. I've had to catch more stones from state employees than from anyone incarcerated, by far, and I've had to eat some pretty big stones from my fellow incarcerated folk.

Something I've realized is that I have gotten better at catching stones. I care about people and even though I hurt others, as have we all, I know that it feels awful to get hit with a stone while others watch. It's a shame that makes you feel worthless. So I try to catch as many of them things as possible because I hate watching it happen as much as I hate feeling it.

Maybe you could be a stone catcher too? Whad'ya say?

With Love
Ruth Utnage
(For interviews or media inquiries please contact me directly!)

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-510-2
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage
823469



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