Love, In Prison, Not Just an LGBT Thing Anymore    by    Ruth Utnage

Emotions are heightened in prison. If you’re angry, you’re really angry. If you’re depressed, you’re really depressed. Love too.

I got hip to this after my first relationship in prison years ago. We spent every day together. We talked and walked and did everything together. We made plans for how we were going to manage him getting out and me being in prison for another 9 years. It was impossible but we dreamed anyway, because we were in love.

Then, he got out. He never wrote me. In fact, he got engaged to a woman just a few weeks after he released. Lesson learned.

I got into one more after that, it lasted about 10 days. The guy wasn’t as stable as I thought, he got real clingy, like a spiderweb. So I ditched him. That was 8 years ago.

Since then I’ve learned to check my emotion of love. You never can tell in here. In fact, it hurts watching everyone I am close to get out and not communicate with me. So I developed a solution, I stop talking to them before they get out for 2 reasons. One, it protects me from having to cope with the feelings of loss and prevents any feelings of disappointment. Two, it keeps me from falling in love.

Here’s the problem with being a trans woman in a men’s prison. We aren’t gay men looking for other gay men, who are rarer compared to straight men in prison. We’re mostly straight women who are attracted to straight men. My dating pool just increased from 10% of the prison population to 90% of the prison population. Then, we add on top of that little fun fact that if I date someone it’s a criminal act. Neat huh? It’s no problem for a murderer to embezzle every woman and gay man who will write them from the streets, it’s legal to victimize them, even blatantly. But if a trans woman dates a straight man in prison, its a crime that means I don’t go home.

Love, it’s a tricky subject. In fact, it’s tricky enough that just me writing about it has garnered scrutiny that I’ll never understand fully. By the time it actually reaches you, a dozen people probably read it to make sure I’m not in a relationship. It probably warrants more scrutiny than any direct threat ever will. Sad huh? Even if it’s not accurate, the fact that it’s the perception is a sad state of affairs indeed. Your tax dollars hard at work…it makes sense if you don’t think about it.

I do know this, I can control my urges. A friend of mine got out recently that I was, and still am, in love with. It was the hardest thing to cut him off because we were electric around one another. It was a thing that anyone who knows me knows that it was an involuntary response in my part. But yet, for 2 years I checked my emotions, never once acted on my feelings or thoughts, never once. I was madly and hopelessly in love and he even said as much first, but I couldn’t act until he released because one, that is now legal and two, honey, I’ve been hurt before. Real love means he’ll reach back in.

And guess what? He never did. Shocking that the story repeats itself huh? It’s no harm though. No hard feelings, I prepared for that ahead of time. That’s what smart girls do. You want a good man ladies? Make them understand you’re nothing to play with and if they want all this woman, it’s going to take a lot more than a slick tongue and some urges.

Love, not just for a few anymore.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Feel free to contact me, a little human contact is always welcome

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-601-2
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