LGBTQ: A Culture?
Where I am we have five cultural events every year. African American, European Heritage, Native American, Spanish heritage and Asain/Pacific Islander heritage. Each one of these events is designed and allowed by DOC to promote equality and tolerance of those around us. Because DOC knows that this place breeds hate mongers and knuckle draggers that spout off things about race purity and all that non-sense, this gives those same guys a chance to experience something beyond their simplicity.
I have thought about these events for some time and have honestly never attended one because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to go. They have a tendency to attract associated gangs and mentalities. Not always and not at all prisons but because of the past experiences of my friends, meaning my fellow gay friends in prison, being ostracized and definitely not welcomed, I have not gone either.
This last year I have been really pushing for DOC to support it’s gay population. I have raised the idea that LGBTQ is a “culture”. If being a culture is defined by the need to create tolerance within that community to stop segregation by other inmates, then the LGBTQ community certainly qualifies. Since the creation of tolerance inducing events, different races have banded together in lower custody prisons creating a fairly non-violent segregated community. Mind you, different races tend to stick together, but I don’t think that’s a “race” equality issue but rather a cultural compatibility issue. Meaning, you stick with those who you have the most in common with.
I think that LGBTQ should be recognized by DOC as a “culture” that needs to be addressed for tolerance. It’s obvious that we aren’t going anywhere, we are born every day. What is happening is that the races of prison have found a common acceptable enemy, the common homosexual. This is being promoted by staff in a nonchalant way because they promote tolerance and acceptance of all other segregated factions, every other one but the gays. Which allows us to be predatorized, victimized, limits our ability to program, limits our availability of safe cell assignments, limits our working options within prison and let’s the other inmates know that we have zero recognition within these walls making us open season year round.
Our only course of action is to rely on forward thinking staff members who are willing to see us as humans. This is especially difficult because DOC officers come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Making this a melting pot for them too. Their ideals and religious views are prevalent in the way some are treated. With the modern day gay “witchhunt” going on out there with the church and the LGBTQ community and division lines being drawn out there, those same ideals and practices are being drawn in here too and they are being supported by the corresponding staff who believes. In private they talk to us about their personal beliefs just as much as any inmate does. I have proof of that with the last C/O who tried to get me killed over homosexuality.
This is a serious problem that leaks right back out into the community. These same ideas and practices leave along with the practicing inmate and staff member. Inmates aren’t typically left here forever. Which means one day, we’ll be out there. If a man comes here and learns that DOC is promoting hatred of a particular group of individuals, that isn’t healthy and your children and loved ones will suffer the wrath of them.