Fighting Sexual Orientation Discrimination
When it comes to unification in prisons, there is one topic that needs to be addressed: discrimination. For some reason, prisoners have a tendency to discriminate against other prisoners for a plethora of reasons. Race, color, creed, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are just a few. The one I would like to discuss here is sexual orientation.
I use the word "orientation" instead of "preference" because this is a unique situation in prison. So many times people become homosexual in this environment out of necessity, or force, rather than by choice. Unfortunately, the prison systems in this country are disproportionately black, and this largely contributes to the large number of whites who fall prey to and are trapped in the prison sex slave industry. Some do it for protection and security, and some are just bullied and coerced into it. For many it's just a means of survival.
The drug trade is also thriving in the prison environment, which is another trap for those who struggle with addiction issues. They are able to support their habits by exchanging sexual favors for a "fix." In addition, the drug dealers are able to get their hands on female hormones such as estrogen, which they dose their sex slaves up with. These drugs can have long-term, even life-long effects which increases a lot of the guys' sense of worthlessness.
Many times, the reason that white prisoners are abused this way is due to black prisoners' desire to retaliate against the predominantly white-run system that has oppressed and persecuted them throughout their life. While this desire is certainly understandable, their attacks are misdirected. We shouldn't discriminate against anyone for any reason because, as prisoners, we are all ultimately in the same situation. We should struggle together toward the same goal.
There are definitely people in prison who elect to practice homosexuality out of their own free will. We shouldn't exclude them as comrades either. We must all unite and fight the system that has taken everything away from us.
Let's put our differences aside, regardless of what they are, and let's stand united as equal partners and bring this tyranny to an end. We're all human beings and none of us are better than the rest. It's time that we realize that and stop judging and classifying each other. Let's focus our energy on the proper target: Imperialism and the Prison Industrial Complex. United we stand, divided we fall!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an excellent reminder of the importance of fighting against gender oppression within prisons. This comrade is right on that we need unity, and we must fight the use of sex to coerce, punish, or just overpower others. We don't care if people are straight or gay or any other form of queer, as long as they are on the side of anti-imperialism and building unity rather than division.
While the U.S. Department of Justice affirms this writer's assertion that many victims of sexual assault are white (and numbers are even higher for people who are "two or more races"), we don't have access to data on the national background of perpetrators.(1) Even if it is true most perpetrators are New Afrikan, we also can't conclude whether this would be because of a psychological desire for retribution, or simply a statistical likelihood because so many prisoners are New Afrikan in the first place.
To push the fight against rape in prison forward, we have the example of Men Against Sexism (MAS), a prisoner organization in the 1970s that fought sexual assault, providing protection for vulnerable prisoners and attacking the culture of sexism. Ultimately MAS had a significant positive impact at Washington State Prison which in turn impacted prisons across the state. MAS demonstrated the potential power of conscious prisoners coming together for an important cause.(2)