Here’s a problem to ponder. Tell me what you do in these types of situations. I work with a variety of individuals, it’s a prison. However, in my particular work times and location I am the only “out” homosexual and I am held at arms length with most. I have worked very hard to establish myself as the one “gay guy” that is pretty militant about high self standards; I don’t sleep around, I dont discriminate, I try to edify in most situations, I dont flirt, I work my butt off etc. Most men here, once they get to know me for a few months, generally aren’t very homophobic of me also because I am very “masculine”. I will use quotations on that because outwardly I am the typical man usually, but inwardly I am an insatiable queen! Believe That 🙂

So naturally when I get to work with other gay men who are out, I just want to be there as support for them. I wont let them sit by themselves, i’ll introduce them to the friendly men who aren’t going to predatorize them, i’ll help them through rough patches…you know, the stuff that I had to figure out on my own. Ease their burden in a way.

So when my friend came to me today in my work area with a real problem I just wanted to help. These kinds of problems here in prison need to be handled semi-privately because your non-issue can quickly escalate into a real threat if the wrong people hear your troubles. So we stood there, close enough that his voice could be lowered for only me to hear and he says that he is uncomfortable working in his area. I of course ask why and he says its because people are making obscene comments about his sexuality. 

Now both of us are pretty resiliant to this, so this must have been somewhat vulgar for him to come to me with it, perhaps even scary. I wasnt sure so I looked over my shoulder to see who was in his work area. Perhaps I could identify his problem child. To my shock, I see that we have an audience of about 20 people. They are all pointing and laughing and I immediately hear their comments and lewd actions. They were saying things like “look at the f****n fags in the corner!” I wont even go into the rest. 

Needless to say that we were both embarassed and very angry. This obviously wasnt going to be a good place to sort out hurt feelings…now was it? The same thing happens in the prison yard, in our living unit, at our jobs, at our church services (when were not asked to leave…yup, that’s happening!)

Where is our venue to sort this out. Why is it taking so long to let us heal?

Jeff Utnage