Tuesday, April 26, 2011

tired, sad, and tired

I should be working. But, I am too sad to work. I've been missing in action over here at injection reflections because I have been working too much and trying to be a good parent and good partner. But today it is gray and beautiful and my heart is breaking for so many reasons.

I am tired of the meanness. I am tired of the ruling, white elite.
I am tired of the rich. I am tired of the haves and have nots. I'm tired of violence. I'm tired of humans killing the planet. I'm tired of the disconnection.

I am tired from witnessing the problem of prison:
the abuse within prisons;
the social factors that lead to the use of prison;
the inequities in sentencing;
the cycles of violence that lead to death and harm and insanity in poor communities;
The homophobia and transphobia that lead to the incarceration and then further abuse of queer people once they are incarcerated;
the general public's ignorance of what really happens in prison and the ability of their ignorance to shape policy (tough on crime measures and then restrictive, punitive, retributive practices once people are in prison)
the racism that fuels the expansion of the use of prison...

I am simply tired of fighting.
But, I will keep on keeping on. Only because of the individuals who we are able to help.

I started writing up the case of someone I've been working with for so many years...it hurts to think how long she has been suffering, but then I decided I'd just lay it out this way. Imagine being a nearly fully transitioned M to F and being forced to live in an all male prison. Imagine having serious difficulty getting appropriate health care to deal with a complication with your top surgery--silicone leakage (I'm talking five years of pain and suffering). Imagine the daily harassment from other prisoners and staff alike. Imagine being called mister, sir and he just to turn the knife in those soft parts connected to your gender identity when all your life you simply wanted to be recognized as the girl you are. Imagine living amidst the constant threat of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Imagine getting a major misconduct ticket for impersonating a female when you are a woman. Imagine the refusal of the prison system to acknowledge the trans/homophobia of the system. *note: I was able to help get her moved to a unit with a less-abusive climate.

But I want more.

I want this woman and other woman and men like her to be able to shape policy directives to include their perspectives on how they will be able to live more safely and wholly while having to live in prison. For years the woman above has been asking to be moved to a different prison and to be able to choose another gender variant identified bunkie at a more easy going, well-run prison than the one she lives at now. When I first met her she was in a level V prison cause she needed a single bunk. Eventually, we were able to get her moved to a lower level single bunk. Then, recently, she was moved to a prison notorious for being called the glad.iator school (a prison for younger--often more violent--prisoners). Why? Why?

Imagine being a prisoner rights activist and some days just feeling utterly hopeless and tired with the almost impenetrable system.

I'm done now.
But just for now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just met with a person who grew up in Canyon City, a place full of prisons, with an entire family working in prisons. I think she feels like she was raised in a quasi prison, because of the way prison permeates the whole town's life. This way is good for no one (though worse for some than others). I hope your bike ride home, maybe a chance to peek at a hive or a blooming bulb, helps this feeling for you, even temporarily. Love you. Molly

eeny meany said...

I hear where you're coming from. I work in the mental health field and I have strong feelings about the post-prison transition and the lack of support to help these people lead healthy, satisfying lives.

If I was dealing with the in-prison issues you are, it would weigh heavily on my mind, too. The fact that you're advocating for this woman is amazing. For your own peace of mind, I hope you find ways to let go of the emotional pain occasionally.