Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Shifting Foundations of Slavery, Gender, and Genetics by Ruth Utnage

As a woman, born in a male body, it hurts when someone reminds me that "Genetically, you'll always be male, you can't argue with genetics and biology. If your body is unearthed in a thousand years all they'll know is that you were male.".

Oh yeah, watch me.

Genetically, we are also 99 percent chimpanzee. Yet, I am not a monkey. Also, let's not ignore that genetics was also weaponized against blacks, people with disabilities, and people of Asian descent. I could go on, but you get the idea.

In the era of American slavery and the following Jim Crow South angry white men were desperate to hold onto the belief they were better than somebody. All their life they had been sold and fed the shit sandwich of superiority and the lies of caste systems. Science was not, and still is not, impervious to the destruction of a man's insecurities. In fact, it was used to heighten both their fears and their belief that they were better than.

Lies of science like:

men were smarter than women
whites were better than blacks
Germans were better than everyone
blond was better than brown
blue eyes were signs of superiority


There is so much more that could be listed here. So many lies and half-cocked statements that insecure and angry white men concocted and hung onto for dear life because the one thing man was taught to fear more than death: being a nobody. They built a foundation on the blood of Indigenous lives, a foundation that gave birth to a demon, known today as a "caste system", that social order that folks like Ghandi and MLK Jr. spent their lives deconstructing and protesting against.

Genetics says that once equals always. Once you cheat you are always a cheat- yet how many of you peaked at hide and seek as children (cheating)? Or skipped a page of reading in school (cheating) or *Gasp* Bible study and winged it? Are you all cheaters in everything? Because the hard and fastness of genetics, and biology, says yes. Though, we all know it's not true.

The static-ness of genetics suggests that once you are predesigned, unable to escape your nature. You're a blacksmith and you're a maiden. The tool of God who creates divided societies where some are given better lives.

Well, I don't believe in that God. Sorry. Not sorry. The Creator I believe in creates these beautiful creatures that defy the binary system of "assigned sex" and rise above the ridiculous notion of gender. Creatures like spiders. At least some spiders begin as "males" and transition to "females". Tell me then, which gender are they, biologically? Or what of hyenas? Hyena females have penises. Did you know that? Fact check it.

That's only two immediate examples of what God creates that confounds the interpretations of mankind and their "science".

Furthermore, if in 1000 years someone digs me up and says I was born a male, maybe I'll tattoo a note on my collarbone or ribs that says "Died a woman" just to shut them up.

What I know is this, I'm a woman. I don't need to be. But I am. I want to be a woman, I'm proud to be a woman and I wouldn't choose anything else. Being a trans woman isn't a curse, it's a blessing. It makes me happy and fulfills me. I don't need to argue with anyone about the merits of science or it's terrible track record of "truth" (just think back to notions of "a flat Earth", hard science at one point). We understand everything until we understand we never did.

You know how I know science is wrong about binary assigned, anatomical sex?

Because I exist. My name is Ruth and it is near impossible to deny the existence of something that has a name. My name is Ruth and I wasn't born "male" and am not "transitioning" to "female". I am, however, a beautiful woman.

Go ahead and challenge it.

I don't care.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks. 



Friday, May 7, 2021

The Women of Leadership by Ruth Utnage

It was announced that Cheryl Strange will be the incoming Secretary of Prisons for the State of Washington as chosen by current Governor Jay Inslee. The rumors began flying instantly among inmates about what that meant. Not surprisingly, not one rumor was good or even allowed for qualified leadership coming from her.

While no incoming Secretary of Prisons is going to make everyone in prison happy, I am not okay with this incoming person being denigrated as less of a qualified leader because she is a woman. At one point, I sincerely hope she is my boss (I'd like to work for DOC as a Cultural Change Strategist) and I don't like people, men specifically, saying women are too emotional.

Also, I am lead at my job here in prison, which means that I am in charge of a specific department and somewhat responsible for the goings on there (I say somewhat because ultimately I cannot be in charge of other inmates, but I am responsible for the resulting work). I am a woman and my leadership is constantly being questioned. When I ask for something my boss hands me a tissue. Literally. Today, I was given a directive by an officer (a directive is any statement an officer makes that is toward an inmate and is ordering some sort of action on behalf of said inmate) to get everyone from my crew to him so we can get our second round of vaccinations, stat. Yup, no problem. So I hustled to my area and asked everyone to hurriedly grab their ID's and to go grab their vaccine cards ASAP because we needed to make movement.

This announcement elicited barrage of comments from this guy, "You need to calm down" and "I'm not following her into battle." He was insinuating I was being too emotional, an unfit leader. Something I've wrestled with my entire life. As far as I understood any emotion I displayed was bad and immature. It has taken a lot of intense therapy to unf**k that distorted thinking (pardon my language).

The man who said those things to me got himself an ear full when my shot was done. He is 60 years old and his excuse for hurting my feelings was twofold:

1) "I'm too old to change now"
and
2) "You should know my heart and intent wasn't to hurt you but make a joke"

Both are, in his mind, a license to say whatever and not have to change. I simply don't, and will never, accept that. I'm pushing 40 and have reinvented myself entirely. If I can do it...well, you know the rest.

These are just 2 close to home (to me) examples of how a woman in leadership is denigrated simply because she is a woman. Chauvinism, misogynism, and hetereo patriarchy exists in both very direct and sometimes very passive ways. These are sometimes referred to as micro-aggressions.

I have learned that I never pass up on opportunity. If straight white men are the only leaders I'm looking at, how many opportunities am I passing up elsewhere? If I am a company owner or someone seeking guidance (especially as a trans woman) why would I limit who is capable of teaching me or leading my company? Innovation and change cannot come from staying the same.

That bears worth repeating: Innovation and change cannot come from staying the same. It's simply not possible. If you want something different for your company or marraige or life in general, doesn't it stand to reason that you have to do something different?

Maybe it's just me.

Woman in positions of leadership means new opportunity. It does threaten the status quo, and I'm glad it does because the status quo isn't working. I have come to embrace change and pride my ability to adapt. I like that women can be both excellent leaders and emotional and that emotion is one of the most relatable qualities and our biggest assets. Emotion (and empathy) allows us to feel what others feel and how our companies and day-to-day personal actions impact those around us. It's that kind of thinking that allows us to shift as organizations and cultures to meet the actual needs of our clients and loved ones.

Maybe one day we won't have to write about women in leadership because everyone already knows our value. But until then...let me remind the audience, us women...we have value.

Take notes fella's. Keep up because times are changing.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks.



Thursday, May 6, 2021

Release Axiety... by Rory Andes

As the months have been grinding through, some of my closest friends are getting ready to leave prison and I'm watching the weight of this reality as it sits upon the shoulders of these amazing people. I've watched people go through the stress of leaving prison before. I've helped a lot of people deal with it, but never have I been this close to those who are enduring the anxiety and feeling their struggle. To the free world, you might ask, "What struggle? Isn't it easy to leave prison?" It comes with anxieties that have been forgotten by years of confinement.

Imagine this scenario... You know you need clean clothes and you know you have to go to a laundromat to make them that way. So you logistically plan for transportation (which comes in many varieties) to just get there. Then you walk in and look for a machine to start this process. Did you bring soap? Must you buy soap there? What kind? Which ones work for your clothing type? Coin operated....where's the coin machine? What setting? Which dryer is next? Do I need dryer sheets? Which kind? Where do I wait? The process of all of this is anxiety inducing and to top it off, you pray that you don't get pinned down in conversation by someone who is oblivious to the monumental stress you're under. Then, when it's all said and done, did you do it all correctly and can you get home? This is a two hour process... Imagine this level of anxiety and uncertainty for days, maybe weeks.

Leaving prison is much like being born... a required part of life, but you come out very uncomfortable to a world you don't readily know. But as things settle, the returning citizen acclimates and readjusts, it just takes time. But I must say, I'm watching my friends prepare to the best of their ability for their rebirth, discomforts and all and I feel their anxieties. Everything from what to do for housing, to a fear of the first meal, to fears of travel, to fears of the first night and the emotions that have been stuffed down for years all get discussed. It takes at least three people, with at least a bachelors degree, to put someone in prison, but the mystery of release must be discovered without any education by the one releasing (and, God willing, the love of a supportive community). I say all this because the reality of the difficulties of release are profound and the scarlet letter that gets added by society to a felon just make it worse. So if you have a loved one getting ready to reenter society and they seem off, it's not you, it's them and it's ok... just love them through their release anxieties, before and after they get out...

by Rory Andes

Being born can be traumatic. There's a reason why we don't remember it.

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272 



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Great Cake Bake-Off! Happening Saturday, May 8th, 2021 by Ruth Utnage

On Saturday, May 8th two of us are going to have a cake bake off. It is my friend Aryn (another trans woman here with me) and myself. And it's all going to be done in a microwave, without raw ingredients. Here's what I have planned:

Ingredients-
4 lbs crushed Chocolale Duplex Creme cookies (4 packs)
40 oz of carbonated water (10 oz per 1 lb)
1 pack of no-bake cheesecake filling
1 4-pack of chocolate pudding
about 30 individually wrapped caramels
2 jars of chocolate frosting
1 bag marshmallows
1/2 lb of crushed walnuts
4 king size bars of Cookies n Creme Hershey's
2 king size regular Hershey's

This will go for 2 double stacked cakes. I am making 2 different cakes because it sounds wonderful.

Here is the first cake:

Chocolate Caramel Walnut Cake

I am going to make the cakes themselves by crushing 2 pounds of cookies and adding 20 ounces of seltzer water. I then butter a 5.5 cup microwaveable bowl and add half the cookie batter, cook on high for 6 minutes pulling out every 2 minutes to rotate. I will let each one set on ice for about an hour.

Next I am going to melt my caramel and add my crushed walnut pieces. Then, I will add a thin later of caramel walnut to one cakes top and stack the other on top. Then I will frost with chocolate frosting (making it pretty, of course!) and add the remaining caramel walnuts to the top. Voila!

My second cake is: Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse with a Mixed Chocolate Hardshell

I will make my two pounds of cake like normal and cut the center from each.

In a separate bowl I will make my no-bake cheesecake filling and add pudding and about 1/2 cup of melted marshmallows. Then I will whip the crap out of it with a homemade whisk adding drops of milk until it's at the consistency I desire (thick as hell and moussey).

I will fill the centers of each one about 3/4 of the way and will cut the center piece I removed earlier to a smaller size and place in back into the cake so the mousse will disperse and fill the cake completely.

Then, we stack the cakes top to top, carefully.

Once chilled completely, I will coat the outside in melted Cookies n Creme chocolate and splash some regular Hershey's on top of that and let harden.

Cut and serve.

Oh yeah, and win the Great Prison Cake Bake-Off where the prize is watching people freak out over my Martha Stewart skills!!!

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks. 



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Mary's Place... by Rory Andes

I've only known her for a short while, perhaps six months or so. I didn't know she'd become such a focal point in my life, someone I'd move heaven and earth for. I met her under the worst of my life's conditions. I was down on my luck, homeless, unemployed, and totally broken. Her name is Mary and she's in her early 70s, a sweet woman who represents a kindness society has largely forgotten. She always wears those velour type pants with a sweater she decorates herself. She's kinda crafty that way. Mary has a heart of gold and cares about everyone, almost to a fault. She introduced me to a lot of people, many of whom I would have never met had it not been for her. People are her thing, though. She makes everyone her friend. She gives to the world in remarkable ways and everyone has a place in her heart, including me. Including me when I needed to belong in someone's heart the most.

I got a phone call from Mary a week ago about coming by and having a meal with some of the old crowd and sharing a bit of my life with some of her new friends, the new rags she was hoping to turn into riches with a little TLC. I'm always willing to do that. Whatever Mary wants, I'm in. I owe her that. After all, she's the one who introduced me to Jim, my business partner. Jim owns a technology firm and was looking for talent when we met. He took a chance on me and hired me for a programming project he was working on. Ultimately, Jim made millions on the deal and he let me sit front row at his journey to the top. Jim brought me on as a partner and I manage most our west coast accounts. The cool thing about Jim's story is that he was in need of Mary's friendship once, too. Just like me, Jim was at the bottom and Mary connected him to people who gave him hope. Jim gave me hope, too, and a career I'm passionate about, none of which would have been possible if Mary didn't care about us the way she does. So when Mary needs me or Jim, or anyone else she's touched for that matter, we're all there. I don't know all of those she touched and, honestly, I'd be surprised if she did either. She just gives relentlessly.

She wanted a few of us to stop by at four o'clock for a dinner on Thursday with the new faces. It was a little meet and greet. Maybe I didn't mention it, but Mary runs a little soup kitchen we all know as "Mary's Place" on the corner of Sunset and Main Street, in the South Center District. I spent a lot of nights living in my car on Sunset praying for something different. I probably would have starved to death if Mary's Place didn't exist.

After I arrived, I took a look around at the new faces looking for the sweet lady who changed my life. There were so many people, so I just got to work and introduced myself to a table of them. Lots of questions about what brought them here and where did they want to go. Lots of people needing a chance, some hope, and a little love. I told them that they came to the right soup kitchen for that. After I shared a plate and some encouragement with the table, we continued to talk and I gave my business card to most of them. All of them had so much potential and I'm so glad when I can meet these people. Being part of the senior class of the table, I got up and helped by picking up dishes. After a quick glance, I noticed a dead roach at the bottom of my mostly eaten plate.

I rushed to the back with the plates deciding if I could hold down my food. I didn't want to make a scene, but I knew I had to find Mary and let her know that she had some problems that might close her down if mine wasn't the only plate with a bug. I dumped the dishes in the sink and proceeded to look for the dear, sweet lady I owed so much to. I wanted to tell her about an exterminator I met and suggest she call him. As I looked, I ran into Carol, Mary's daughter, and asked where Mary was. Carol, with watery eyes, said, "Oh, I guess you didn't hear. Mom passed away Monday, peacefully in her sleep. We're holding the funeral this weekend."

I was floored. What a loss for Carol, for Jim, for me, for this room full of people who need her. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the news, I simply asked Carol how I could help and she told me to just entertain and keep the conversations going with the needy people Mary loved so much. I did and I made a few more contacts that day. But what a loss for this community. I thanked Carol for keeping the place going and not giving up when she must be in incredible pain. She thanked me for showing up and doing the good work her mom expected me to do. I told her I was going to take care of an issue Mary's Place might have, but didn't want to get into details. In her state, she just seemed grateful for any help. As I got into my car, I called that exterminator and set up an appointment for a service call, billed to me. It's the least I could do for the lady that gave me hope when I had none. I think about the power of the connections that come from a room of the disenfranchised and I'm always in awe of it. Hope grows in those fertile grounds. And may God bless Mary, her family and the mission of Mary's Place. Not even a little bug can keep down the power of humanity...

By Rory Andes

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272 



HumanMe Hits A Milestone: Over 10,000 Page Views In A Single Month by Ruth Utnage

Since I first began writing posts in 2016 I have set the goal that HumanMe will have 10,000 page views in a month. Here we are 5 years later and we have finally hit that goal.

For the month of April, 2021 we are formally over 10k. Here's to achievement and not giving up and making things happen.

It's important to thank all the writers and the tireless Administrator for all their hard work because without them, a community, we would never have done it.

Here's to them.

With Love
Ruth Utnage
HumanMe Founder 




Monday, May 3, 2021

What Are The Side Effects Of The Moderna Vaccine On Trans People (or folx taking hormone replacement therapy)? Follow-Up by Ruth Utnage

Day 2 after taking the Moderna second dose:

My first day was miserable. But I slept great last night after finally breaking weak and taking 2 over the counter pain relievers. One thing I noticed was that slept through the night and I woke up later than usual. But I was pain free and full of energy.

All in all, I haven't noticed any short term effects on my body that alarm me or make me feel that it has interacted with my HRT in some negative way. Again, I am no doctor and am not giving medical advice, but I don't regret taking the COVID-19 Moderna Vaccines. Glad its done.

Now, my next adventure, I'll try to make bacon jelly here in prison. Sounds good. I think I'll mix apple jelly with bacon and bacon grease to recook it let it congeal. Spread it on a cake or something...who knows.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks. 



What Are The Side Effects Of The Moderna Vaccine On Trans People (or folx taking hormone replacement therapy)? by Ruth Utnage

Is it safe for transgendered people to take the Moderna vaccines?
What are the side effects of the Moderna vaccines on people taking HRT?

My name is Ruth Utnage and I am a transgender woman who, less than 24 hours ago took the Moderna vaccine, round 2. I am going to list my side effects and some of my relevant medical info and will keep updating everyday. First, a disclaimer.

I am not a medical professional. These are my personal experiences, yours may be different. I am putting this info out there because when I googled the questioned "Is it safe for transgendered people to take the Moderna vaccines?" I got a slew of weird, non relevant, information (except a New York Times article explaining why some LGBTQ folx don't trust the vaccines because they came under Trump.) and I hope that this helps some transgendered people make their decision as to whether or not the vaccine is for them.

Relevant Medical Information:
I am 39 years old, 175 lbs, transgendered female (transitioning to female physically). I have never had a flu vaccine and I have never had the flu prior to taking Moderna. I have been taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for 18 months and am taking:

Spironolactone 100 mg (50 mg twice daily)
Estradiol 25mg biweekly intramuscular injections
Daily MultiVitamin (MegaMax)

I am taking no other medications, not even Tylenol, etc.

I have no other medical conditions.

Here Are My Current Side Effects Of The Moderna Vaccines:

Round 1- sore arm at injection site for 2 days, lethargy (tired, lack of energy) for about 2 days. Still went to work, but was tired and didn't sleep well for 2 nights. Night 3, all was well.

Round 2- It's been 24 hours and it feels like someone took a Louisville Slugger to my shoulder at the injection site. I had the chills last night and body aches, I slept horribly. I have some energy still, a tiny headache (barely noticeable) but plan to do nothing today but call my girlfriend, tell her I love her and go back to my bed where I will likely stay until tomorrow snuggled up inside my sweats and blankets.

I will let you know tomorrow how I feel.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks. 



Sunday, May 2, 2021

My Longest Residence Was In Prison by Ruth Utnage

Rory and I got to thinking about something the other day, both of our longest residences have been in prison. Specifically a cell. Mine was D-610-2 (3 years). Crazy how that works.

Actually, it also occurred to me that the school I attended the longest was in prison, Edmonds College, 3 years and 140 credits (with a 4.0 GPA BTW!).

I know that this is the case for many people in here. I can't tell you how many people I've run into that have said the same thing. Prison brought stability.

When the time comes to truly reform prison, I believe that stable elements like housing should stay.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks. 



Saturday, May 1, 2021

Strength I Admire by Ruth Utnage

The kind of strength I admire most is dynamic, adaptive mental strength. It is what's required to accept new things. New understanding, new concepts, new environments and new people. Sometimes its what's required to accept someone as new. Catch my drift? Let me elaborate.

Kinda like forgiveness. Accepting someone as new, as in, they are now different. A better version of themselves. People can change. Are you having trouble believing that's possible? I wish I had a mirror to show you yourself right now, whoever you are because I bet if I asked you to tell me how you've changed you would have a laundry list. Just saying. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that others do the same things we do.

It takes strength to adjust our beliefs. Maybe even a little blind trust. Faith is the word I know, belief in the unseen. It's interesting how millions believe in Sasquatch, this mythical creature that wanders the woods on every continent supposedly yet has never been caught or seen en masse, yet we have a hard time believing that gender can't be wrong. We have millions of examples of transgendered and non binary folx in our world, clearly visible, yet we still choose to believe otherwise...I can't decide if I'm sad or amused.

I say all that took point out that adapting to new information and concepts to accept things that may challenge our beliefs takes real strength. I admire that. I have had to face my own inner beliefs and will likely continue to do so for the rest of my life, its called learning. I like it when others do so as well because I identify with that.

With Love
Ruth

To help support or share in my release, please visit my gofundme at:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-ruth-utnages-reentry-after-prison

Thanks.