I spent a great deal of four years developing a plan and system that used the peer support system. The type of peer support I am talking about is somewhat formal. Using guidelines that group therapy uses, that same format. Followed by interactions outside of that group, you know, friendship.

This has been so powerful in helping men and women in such a short amount of time. When you are apart of a larger organism and you can see the effects of your actions on other parts of the body (people) you tend to be a little more careful. Especially when you are as bonded as the LGBT community.

That is the beauty of this though. We are not bound by choice. This isn’t some club that was formed, we are a culture, we are a people. That changes how we interact. Kind of like family. You cannot choose them. You may fight and quarrel, but usually, family is much mor lenient on one another because family knows the other members struggles and lack thereof in some cases.

You cannot B.S. family. You also cannot hide from them either. We know what the other is feeling so we know exactly when the other is hurting and when they need tough love. Accountability.

This type of system works far beyond LGBT groups. It works far beyond genetically linked peoples. It works for groups of people that have experienced the same type of situations. Whether that be bad childhoods, horrible marriages or drug addictions. 

It is vital that people know about this type of success because it is working. The people in our community that are incarcerated are improving. 

We are doing the impossible. With no help, with no funding, with no programs, we are changing our lives. With no education, with no therapists, with no one really giving a crap, we are rehabilitating. We realize that nobody wants to help us change, but everyone wants us to change and then take credit for it when we do.

Well, here is the deal folks. I have sent probably close to a thousand letters to politicians, LGBT groups, colleges, therapists, companies, civil rights groups, individual people and guess who helped? Not a single person.

All that means is that the progress that these men and women in here have done is completely and 100% their own. It means that the hep they received they went and found and then implemented themselves because we are capable. We are strong. We are unloved by you…

But we have each other. We are a family, even with those of you out there. Who idly sit and watch hoping to catch another rerun of Lockup and secretly hope to see one of us on TV getting our heads bashed in. We are not a fan of that…it hurts.

This is why our progress is so special. Because we did it on our own. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage