Acceptance: Right Where You Are.

As you know I have a friend in here that is having a hard time. Maybe it’s not so much he’s having a hard time, but perhaps the facility is having a hard time with him. Either way, life hasn’t been easy for him in here.

Here is a little more about our history together. Last summer when he and I met, he basically tried to hustle me. But, he was openly gay and that is my area of interest. I want to make sure that the LGBTQ community here in prison has a network of support, no matter how difficult that may be. Basically, P’s game is get as many ‘boyfriends’ on the line as possible and then get as much stuff from them as he can. So, I found this out very quickly when he immediately wanted to date.

I hold a very firm stance on prison relationships, I just don’t do them. They are to cumbersome and complicated and when others find out they get jealous and tell the C/O’s that they are uncomfortable with homosexuals dating and basically “snitch”. So, I just stay away from that drama.

So instead of just throwing him to the curb and completely outcasting him (which would have been pretty easy, most of the gays here kind of act together), I told him that I would not abandoned him. We would never date, ever, ever, but we would be friends. All he had to do was be honest with me. I cringed at this next statement, but I said it anyway. I told him that no matter what he was doing he could count on me being a friend as long as he was honest with me. Even if he was whoring himself out for coffee or hustling every dude on the compound, I would still be his friend so long as he was real with me.

Twelve loooooong months later here we are and he is about to split to a higher custody level (camp). Our last summer conversation comes up and he explains how grateful he is that I was his friend. Believe me, I was and am his one and only friend in the whole world. Everyone distanced themselves from him. Everyone except his own mother. So I held true to my end of the bargain and watched as he tried hustle after hustle and everyone that failed he would come back and try to explain how it was a simple mistake on their end. The I would remind him that I was onto his games and who did he think he was talking too, then he would say things like “see, you get me” I would throw up a little in my mouth and then let him know that I highly disapprove of his actions.

After doing this every few days for 12 months and watching him crush the feelings of about 35 “straight” men and almost causing about 3 gang wars and losing every friend in the world…people that hated him started coming to me and asking why I hung with him still. So I would explain my promise to him, and that he may not be the best friend a guy could have, but he deserved to know what a real friend looked like. He deserved to know at least one person who didn’t want to bang him, use him or let him use them. He deserved to know what a healthy relationship looked and felt like. So here we are and I am happy to say that it’s mission accomplished. I completed something, I did what I set to do and damn the consequences. But nothing bad came to me, everyone just commended me for being loyal and not compromising my values.

I am impressed with this because I had the opportunity to deviate from a good path for an easier one. I am blessed to say that God gave me the strength to carry on and be the good friend to someone else. Hopefully I can get a few of those in my life.

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Jeff Utnage 823469 on