In , I was sent to prison on drug-related charges linked to the manufacturing and distribution of a controlled substance. I had just turned twenty-five and had no idea of what life was like behind bars. I also happen to identify as straight. When I first arrived at the correctional facility located in the Southeast, I knew deep inside that things were going to be bad. You see, one of the things you find out when you get sent away is that everyone knows your business, including who you are and why you are doing time. At any rate, on the fifth day of my incarceration, I had two members of the Latin Kings LKs forcing me to have sex with them.
These Steamy Photos Prove Your “No Asians” Rule Is Racist Bullsh*t
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I n , when Calvin Burdine was awaiting sentencing for allegedly stabbing his gay lover to death, the prosecuting attorney encouraged the jury in his closing remarks to award Burdine the death penalty, rather than life in prison, on the grounds that sending a gay man to prison was akin to sending a kid to a candy store. After 17 minutes of deliberation, the jury obliged and sentenced Burdine to die. His death sentence was later overturned mostly because Burdine's public defender had slept through much of his trial , but the homophobic thinking — that prison is some kind of paradise for gay men — lingers on. The reality of life in prison for homosexuals and transgender individuals does not appear to reflect this myth. One young man named Rodney, imprisoned for fraud and check-forging, sent me a detailed account of his life so far in prison. He described a litany of brutal rapes, assaults, beatings and, eventually, the total abandonment of his male identity as his only means of survival in the hyper-masculine and often homophobic prison environment. His account suggests that far from being a paradise, prison for gay men can be a living hell.
DeAngelo Jackson: The First Black Man to Win GayVN for Best Actor
Overnight, the year-old Atlanta native — born Montero Lamar Hill — became the biggest gay pop star in the world. That he did so in the orbit of hip-hop and country, genres that have historically snubbed queer artists, was groundbreaking. But this is still a genre that has never been supportive of change. Especially in the … hip-hop community. In fact, an entire lexicon dedicated to pointing out discomfort with gay men has permeated rap lyrics.
I spoke with DeAngelo and found him unbelievably candid, authentic and kind. We had a conversation regarding his career and his hopes for the future, as well as his desire to support the transgender community. How did it feel winning the award? Were you surprised?