I want to tell you a quick story. There is this girl, we’ll call her Meg. Meg is locked up and is transgendered. She walks like a girl, talks like a girl, has breasts like a girl, looks like a girl…and if it was just that, this story wouldn’t be taking place.

Meg is obnoxious. She acts out, always doing things to get your attention including drawing everyone’s attention within an audible distance. She’ll say “hey,hey,hey,hey,hey,hey,hey,hey!” until the person she wants attention from responds. Meg makes everyone uncomfortable because of this.

She is always getting in trouble, causing a scene, giving the cops hell. In and out of the hole for all kinds of things. Most people just want to stay away from her. Unless they want sex, then they will put up with almost anything, for a time. 

Meg comes out of seg recently and comes to my unit. Meg and I are friends. She does crazy stuff to everyone but me because I have done something different with her. Of course, in our unit she is a spectacle. She is well aware of how uncomfortable she makes the unit. So she tries to stay calm, play nice. 

In the unit she sees that there is a rather large concentration of LGBT people. Traditionally, they have shunned Meg because Meg draws so much attention. But Meg knows that I am her friend and I made a promise to her and to everyone here that no matter who I am talking to, they are always welcome with my friends and I. 

So Meg tries to make them laugh, set them at ease that she is normal, just a chick in a men’s prison is all. So she does what we all do when we are trying to get to know new people, she offers to make them dinner. Now, she knows that they don’t necessarily like her, she knows that everyone is watching her, she tried to take a shower earlier and even with me in there people were either staring or angry at her presence. 

So one by one she offers to cook with the group. One by one they all said “no”. I stood and watched as they all rejected her because of what other people might think. I seen the hurt, her realization of rejection. I was about to intervene and start running interference when someone stepped up, “what are we having and what can I contribute?” The brave man was a closeted gay man who had been around the block. He knew what was happening. She spent the next hour happily preparing meal, eager to make friends and be seen as “normal”. 

This isn’t just a story, this is reality. This really happened. When someone, anyone, is ostracized it hurts their feelings. When this happens for years it creates intense insecurities. How is someone suppose to cope with gender identity issues when the whole world seemingly hates them? On TV everything is great, but in reality nobody will even let you do a nice deed. Then everyone wonders why ole’ Meg acts out. Everyone is afraid of her no matter what she does, so she might as well be in control. 

It is our JOB our DUTY to help those like Meg because we are like Meg. At least once were, if not still. We know what its like to feel rejected and unaccepted. To try and fit in and be ostracized anyway. We know what kind of pain that causes. Ole’ Meg is used to the only people who are willing to deal with her b.s. are people who want her sexually. So she tested me, a lot. Flaunting her goodies at me, but once she was assured I was not interested, I was one of very few people who got to see just how wonderful she is. How caring, insecure and vulnerable she is. Like we all are. 

Our community is in need of each other. We heal through love, don’t be afraid to show it, even when its hard. It will NEVER come back void. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage