As a teen you date. You kiss a bunch of people, or at least think about it. Libido is through the roof. You fall in and out of love like the tides. you gain experience, in other words.

The same process happens for LGBT people as teens. If you come out as a teen then you get a semi-normal teen experience (in accepting homes and environments). However, when you come out later in life it almost feels like you have to re-experience that again.

In prison there is a mixed bag off LGBT people. Some have been out long before prison while others only came out recently. Having access to other levels of maturity within the LGBT community is vital for growth, just like our teenage years. Teens need to be around other teens sometimes to feel normal. They also need just as much, if not more, time with mature adults so they can visually learn what maturity looks like. When teens are alone with one another they emulate adult behavior.

Mature people are needed for the LGBT community in prison, and out of prison. It is one thing to see an actor on TV or someone receive an activism award (thank you LOGO) publicly, however, spending time with other mature gay/lesbian, trans, or bisexual people is really, really important.

Most people who came out as adults went through their developmental years believing LGBT is wrong and/or deviant. A learning curve is obvious in that light.

In prison it is constantly reinforced that LGBT is wrong. Though we have made strides in the past 14 months in particular, we are still far from being acceptable, despite what some may think. Remember, it is still illegal to act gay in prison, there is a very real punishment for consentual homosexual acts.

The support we need is just as diverse as the LGBT community. Whatever you have to offer, we need it. Even if it is just as simple as an “I hear you” on the comment section.

With Love