BG, former CCWF prisoner
I used to dress like a girl, but I was always a little tomboy — I didn’t talk or act or sit all girly, and I would get in trouble like a boy. When I was locked up at 16 I said to myself, no I can’t be with a girl because I was too worried about what people would say, but then I said to myself, let me try it and I also started dressing like a boy all the time. Both the prisoners and the cops would say “oh, she’s a boy” but I would say “no I’m a girl” and they would call me he but I really wanted to be called she. I would just be like “okay I’m a boy, whatever.” As long as I knew what I was I didn’t really care.
Since I got locked up in 2000, there is more acceptance of gays. Even though some people are still against gays, you don’t have to hide in the closet and there are more places for us to be comfortable. People do stare at me and it gets me mad but I don’t want to say nothing because one thing will lead to another and get me in trouble. When I was looking for work, one employer told me I could have the job if I dressed in tighter clothes, did my hair, and wore make-up. I know that just because of the way I dress I am not going to get a really good job, even though I can dress the way I want and still look professional. My family and friends gave me a hard time saying “you’re a grown woman now, you’re not young any more, you should dress like a girl, you should dress like you used to dress.” I tell them I dress the way I dress because it is how I feel comfortable, and I try to make them understand that I tried it and this is what I know I like. I tell them to check out a gay park and a gay festival so they can see more than me, that a lot of other people are like me. You don’t have to try to be like me, but try to understand that there are a lot of people like this. Have an open mind to see where I’m coming from and understand me a little bit.
I feel like the reason people think that it?s wrong for me to dress the way I do even though I am a girl is that they think girls shouldn’t be with girls, girls should be with boys. People think it is a sin to be gay but they don’t know because they haven’t tried it. I don’t think it?s bad to dress the way I do and be with girls, because my heart tells me to be like this. The world should be so that people can dress however they want. I think they should just accept us.
To me, even though people stare, I’m going to be who I am. I’ve found myself.
BG, former CCWF prisoner