I have an aunt who disowned me when I came to prison. As far as I know she still hates me. I was also adopted, my birth Mother also doesn’t talk to me anymore. She used to until a disagreement between us. She wanted to call me names that didn’t apply, like narcissistic. I didn’t know what that meant, after looking it up in he dictionary I went to my mental health provider. I asked “is this me?” I was horrified by he thought of what narcissism meant. After careful and transparent discussion I acknowledged that I was indeed very selfish to have. committed my offense, but narcissistic I was not. She basically disowned me to after that. 
I bring this up because I still love them. When you don’t have much you cherish what you do have. Reflecting on what you’ve lost should be a precursor to acknowledging what you have. 
So yeah, I’ve lost much. Coming out made me lose even more. I have a saying that comes from a rock song I heard once, “I would rather you hate me for everything that I am then to EVER love me for something I am not”. 
After my speech at our Pride event I was angry at my friends that were to afraid to come and show support. They signed up to go, but were to afraid to be seen going. After I spoke with several of them and expressed my hurt. None of them had much to say but just looked down and apologized. Afterwards I shook hands with them all and told them no hard feelings. Someone who is not gay shouldn’t have to experience the isolation that a gay man experiences in a place like this. I didn’t realize that until after I tongue lashed them.
Some of you out there have lost so much. You have lost your parents and family, or your friends or your jobs. It is disheartening, I know. But we are in the shifting of tides right now. For many of you in the United States your movement is grown a heartbeat of its own, much like the civil rights movement of the 60’s. It just evolves rapidly, unravelling centuries of oppression in a few decades. Overseas, my brothers and sisters, your battle is much more fierce, like mine in here. Your struggle is smeared with blood. Stained in it. Its like no one is coming to your aid, those that have never had to fiht for their right to exist don’t even acknowledge you. I know how that feels. I have written hundreds, literally hundreds of letters to every LGBT organization I have found ( which isn’t all of them) and not a single one has responded. I get your struggle.
Do not lose heart, your enemy is not people, its bigotry. Just as bigotry has entered a person, it can leave a person. So conduct yourselves worthy of men and women who are lovable. Don’t accept enemies, they serve you no purpose. When you are hated and drug into the street for public shame ( yes, I have heard the reports, even from inside this place) because you have dared to blog in support of LGBT organization rights…I know your anger and your hurt. Trust me when I say, I know this pain. But do not fear. Be bold as lions. Be courageous like men and women who have never experienced defeat. For even in our deaths we will not be lost. There is a hereafter for us too, it is called paradise, eternally. Even in our deaths we win.
You are not alone. The God of mankind does not hate you as some suggest. Don’t believe it! God knows you did not make a choice! He made you! Why? Because He will not be limited by us. He will not allow our small minded thinking to limit His love. He uses the shamed to confound the proud, to bring them low and humbled. 
We are a strong people. We will not be ashamed by anyone any longer. We will not hide in the crags any longer. We are a people created beautifully, not mistakes. We were made intentionally and wonderfully. Be proud! I am proud of you, for what its worth.

With Love
Jeff Utnage