A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

September 19, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Interesting, Answers

What’s it like to be gay and in prison?

It depends on the man himself.

In CCA there was an openly gay Hispanic fellow, who I don’t believe spoke any English. The Hispanic guys doted on him. He was treated by a number of men the way you might expect they would treat a girlfriend. I saw his admirers bring him little gifts, candy purchased on commissary, the milk from their breakfast… They would save him a seat close to the TV, and made sure his laundry was tended to.

The Hispanic fellow liked to stand on the upstairs balcony where he had a direct view into the showers… Most of us thought it was funny. He seemed to think nobody noticed. There was a female guard, a petite brunette in her early twenties who did the same thing. There were a few guys who liked an audience and would make sure the merchandise was on display. I think the same guys performed for the woman and the fellow.

In federal prison we had Gay Dave, a tiny man who looked like he could’ve been a model if he could feign a little more of the machismo that magazines seem to like. He loved the attention he got and seemed to play it up. I remember saying something to him about the prison-issue blankets. His reply, in a lilting voice was, “Now, I forget… Sheet or blanket, which one goes on top?” I walked away thinking, “Can he really be that dumb?”

Oh. Duh. I got it later. I was the dumb one.

Big Gay Ken was completely different (bet you thought I was going to say Big Gay Al). Extremely bright, Ken had the most caustic wit I’ve ever encountered. He was large featured, loud, and extremely heavy. His wit was used defensively against everyone, even those he might call friends. It was entertaining in short bursts, but draining over the long haul. The dirty white boys loved to hate Ken. I suspect they were jealous of how he could verbally shrink anybody, and was never afraid to. They called him The Kangaroo because his stomach, devoid of any muscle, drooped down between his legs while he sat (and he sat a lot) . It seemed to remind them of a marsupial’s pouch. Ken, bright as he was, never got it. “Kangaroo? What the fuck is THAT supposed to mean?!” he’d shout for the entire unit to hear. I say shout, but that was Ken’s normal conversational level.

We had a gay doctor. A wonderful man who was so much fun to listen to… He often taught health classes and had everyone’s respect as far as I could tell. I’d often see men come to ask him his opinion on their health concerns at chow hall. He was always smiling and helpful. He’d make sure you knew what the medical department was *supposed* to do for you.

Finally there was “Pocahontas.” She was feminine in every way that she could be, save one. Every gesture, from her walk, to the way she moved her head were those of a woman. She wore little bits of jewelry made in prison, and paid far more attention to her clothes than most. She grew her hair out as long as she could, but male pattern baldness doesn’t care how comfortable you are in your body and it will thin whatever you have. Almost everyone gave Pocahontas a wide berth.

The openly gay guys were just people like everyone else, some with more virtues than faults, some the other way around. Their individual experiences were pretty much what their personalities created.

Jim Christmas, Four years behind bars for another man’s crime.

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