Sunday, January 31, 2021

Relationships In Prison And LGBTQ Folx: The Value (and reality) Of Intimacy In Prison by Ruth Utnage

A cup of water in the desert is more valuable than a cup of water in normal life. Prison is like that desert. Physical touch is forbidden. As a trans woman living in a men's prison the temptation and downright need to touch is problematic. I crave physical touch like I crave food and water.

The problem with prison relationships is that while we're in here we feel "much". When we're in love we're deeply in love. When we have a friend we are the best of friends. This isn't necessarily an LGBTQ issue but a known 'thing' about prisoners, we grow close fast. But this also means when were no longer forced to be around others or our options are no longer limited we tend to forget about the bonds we had in here. This is that cup of water losing its value as an abundance of water is available.

When we're in the desert (prison) a small cup of water (some need, i.e. intimacy, being needed, love, simple physical touch...) is highly valued, precious even. Protecting that becomes a number one concern and consumes lots of thought. But when we are out of the desert (free) water is readily available and that little cup is no longer as important, if at all.

I dislike this reality. But it is a reality. Granted, not always. Some relationships are real. No doubt. But many are not and it feels real when were going through it. It fills a void.

This leaves a bunch of questions in my mind. I do a good job of staying focused on my future but I also spend a lot of time coping with not having certain needs met, like simple human touch or other forms of intimacy. Sometimes that little cup of water consumes too much time.

Just a little food for thought. When I release in less than a year, I am going to cuddle with my loved ones and I cannot wait.

With Love
Ruth



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