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Vanguard Incarcerated Press bannerBy Aaron Zendejas

Darkness engulfs me and there is no way out but the line of salvation called “Reporting.” There are different people that live in this world and what I am speaking of is prison. The caliber of individuals that walk the yard and the different personalities that live here is just a cluster of crazy, and that also includes individuals you live with. Most of you out there reading this know what I speak of. So many scenarios of what if’s and, “Is this going to happen to me?” run through our minds on a daily basis.” Who am I living with” and “Are they safe to live around” is especially vital because incidences happen on a daily basis and is more fact because no one reports these issues. Several major issues I am referring to are abuse, manipulation, and bullying. Those of you out there I can guarantee have either been victims or witnesses to such incidences. Do you ever feel that when you try to speak no one listens?

Do you ever feel like when you want to say something, you feel like no one will believe you, or if you speak you feel ashamed or embarrassed because you always tell yourself “That won’t be me, I won’t be a victim. I won’t let anyone punk me or put hands on me” and it turns out that it does end up happening. These are things that transpire from being incarcerated and being not just in the population but also part of the LGBTQI community.

I am a transgender woman, and I have experienced things throughout my time of being incarcerated for 13 years that no person should ever have to go through. Not only do I have to deal with the constant harassment of being sexualized but the constant insults and put-downs and bullying all because people can’t accept rejection. I have been physically beaten, manipulated, mentally broken down to the point I felt I deserve it, even sexually coerced, and let me tell you these were dark days. Some of these things weren’t just done by strangers, no, they were done by people close to me.

Some of these abuses were from previous relationships I was in, before my incarceration and after. The time I had to be sent to the hospital due to a hairline fracture of my ribs was done from a previous relationship I was in between 2016 and 2017. It was done out of anger and resentment. Due to the fact he was in a relationship with me, his beliefs contradicted how he felt about me, and he was intoxicated. My ex previous to that incident beat the hell out of me for three factors: (1) I broke up with him, (2) I wasn’t going to tolerate being mentally and physically broken down and beaten, and (3) people stood up to him on my behalf and instead of getting crazy with them it was taken out on me!

Even cellies that I was temporarily housed with due to not being compatible were verbally and at times physical because of how “soft” (meaning someone that isn’t violent) I am, and they were just cellies. The sexual advancements and harassments were a whole different beast. Most of you out there suffer from this daily because of the environment we live in.

And the individuals CANNOT and won’t accept no! You out there could never possibly understand what a transgender goes through within themselves, but more on how we are easy victims due to most of us not being violent. People that have struggled their entire lives to discover who they are is an experience that is very trying. You have people in a position of power that abuse that power (correctional officers) that can’t understand self-acceptance and come to terms mentally and struggle with themselves, or they do and still treat us like shit!. Me and my partner (best friend) of over three years are being deliberately mistreated due to me being transgender and him being non-binary. CDCR separated us as retaliation for pushing PC 2606  for actual safety concerns that I was experiencing and was made to be a “liar” and a “whore”! At this point, I see no way out!

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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