I opened a newsletter I’ve been getting for years that hosts the writings of LGBTQIA+ individuals from American and Canadian prison systems (UltraViolet – LAGAI). Inside was a cry for help from a tranz woman in South Carolina. She is young (low 20’s) and like so many incarcerated trans folx she came out in prison. Her cry for help sparked my own memories of what life was like for us here in Washington State before legal intervention came from multiple agencies, but that isn’t what caught my attention, it was her chosen name and why she chose it that caught my attention.

She named herself after a character on Ryan Murphy’s “Pose” that used to be on FX. That’s what got my attention.

Here is this girl in a Southern prison system that is unusually maladaptive to any sort of equality or human progress and she has drawn strength from a television show, the only television show that features individuals she identifies with. Not just her, many of us. Media paints the transgender community as either nonexistent or sex workers while ignoring our tenacity, our grit, and our success.

In a dark place, such that prisons can be, a ray of familiarity appeared for some of us and there were women who understood us in the media playing powerful roles. But I do need to point out, why must the idol of a 20’s something girl be limited to one single character when there are real life women who are tenacious survivors of oppression.

Victors over glass ceilings.
Goddesses in the classroom.
Fierce Warrior protectors.
White House appointees.
Savvy business executives.

The list goes on…why are none of these women visible when there is so many platforms to showcase their strength to the world?

The power of media bias can make several million individuals feel as if there is no one else like them in the world, as if they are truly alone. When in fact, there are millions of us.

Sounds like a problem I need to solve.

With Love
Ruth Utnage