As an American, in America, I know that LGBT rights are far more tolerated here than they are in Russia, or in many parts of the Middle East. Even as someone who is imprisoned, I still have more civil rights and freedoms than someone LGBT in Russia. At least in prison, we are actually recognized as people that exist. 

Its not all roses here in America though, we have our own civil rights battle happening. Its just that we are further along than other countries, like Russia.

I want to know what to do that will help. I mean, realistically, what’s possible? As an average person with zero political clout how can we help? Would letters help, letters to individuals or up and coming organizations? Are there organizations? 

I can tell you how some LGBT people express themselves in situations where they are not tolerated. In prisons around America the staff may recognize that LGBT exist, but if we are in any kind of danger we are put into the hole. We are punished severely for such things. Protection from predators comes at hefty psychological prices. So, many LGBT stay closeted and hidden so that nobody knows. Its actually safer for many of us that way.

We do things like write letters to foreign newsletters. There is one out of Canada called Ultra-Violet that I like to write. Gives us a voice. We paint our toenails. Because nobody can see them but us. We write poetry and draw. We laugh with one another when we can, cry when we must, stand up when its necessary. 

None of that protects from everything, In fact, its more or less just helping us cope. I run into people who hate me vehemently, openly, and ruthlessly. I am forced to live in the same unit with them and if I say anything at all I am the one who goes to solitary confinement, for my protection. So, instead, while its happening I think about painting my toenails, what colors I can use, what designs I can create. 

They can say what they want, but I am only thinking about the pretty pink I have on, that they can’t see. It helps me, I don’t know why, but it does. 

If there is something we as people can do to help those around the world gain acceptance from their communities and government, please tell me so I can put it out there. Write me at:

Jeff Utnage 823469 D-610-1
Monroe Correction Center-Twin Rivers Unit
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

Will respond to everyone!

With Love