by Gulley Britney
Social hierarchy and domination begins in the prison system. As the carceral system expands, my life diminishes. Every time I blink my eyes, I feel the walls closing in on me. The effects of solitary confinement are playing tricks on me! I can’t separate reality from imagination. I can’t decipher what’s truth or hallucination.
The unethical punishments of solitary confinement are based on the fact that Warden Audrey England is transphobic; and considering I am F2M (female to male) transgender and a Political Prisoner and activist who reports injustices, files complaints and exposes corruption, abuse and transphobia, I am held captive in prolonged solitary confinement. And the results of solitary confinement are dire and detrimental.
In Texas prisons, correctional officers are nothing but bullies – bullies who taunt, ridicule, belittle, abuse, discriminate, harass, retaliate, dehumanize and torture prisoners, mainly transgenders. The greater the power they have, the more dangerous and abusive they become – white terrorists! A bunch of fascists who are republicans with Confederate flags that enjoy raping Black women in prison, obliging slavery as punishment with forced labor (work with no pay, working for profiteering corporations, government businesses and facilities where women are imprisoned), who condone punitive measures such as loss of family visits, no phone calls and prolonged solitary confinement, but most of all gay bashing the LGBTQIA, mainly transgenders.
In the summer, when temperatures hit indexes of more than 110°F, the correctional officers refuse to do water runs 90 percent of the time.
In Amerikkka, Texas is the Lone Star State that governs itself as an independent state, more so a country. The United Nations outlawed solitary confinement, deeming it cruel and unusual, yet Texas utilizes this inhumane practice as punishment to infinity and beyond drastic measures. Texas also practices convict leasing, which is unpaid labor – slavery – working 12 or more hours a day. In Texas, where mass incarceration has never been addressed by republican and transphobic Governor Abbott who also refuses to initiate any type of prison reform, this is where transphobic carceral policies exist.
In the summer, when temperatures hit indexes of more than 110°F, the correctional officers refuse to do water runs 90 percent of the time, which causes transgenders to go dehydrated, and suffer from heat exhaustion and heat Strokes. Texas refuses to put air conditioners inside the prisons for prisoners, even though it’s been court ordered after a class action lawsuit was won by prisoners suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for lack of respite options during the dire heat of summers in Texas prisons.
Point of the matter is, I, along with thousands of other transgenders in Texas who are living in hell, literally, being manslaughtered daily. Human lives are being discarded with carelessness. Even though there are advocates and organizations that support prisoners and are pushing for positive changes, the abolishment of solitary confinement, the reduction of mass incarceration, the acknowledgment that prison lives matter, the justification that transgender lives matter and many other causes, it is still all to no avail. The Texas legislation is a Pandora’s Box filled with conspiracy and a hatred for minorities, considering Texas prisons are filled over the capacity with mainly people of color and LGBTQIA. This is proof TDCJ is a monopoly for autocracy, racism and homophobia, transphobia.
Transgenders are assaulted, raped, starved, sexually harassed to no avail – reports of these allegations are immediately met with retribution.
Lane Murray Unit is the epitome of tyranny and inhumanity at Gatesville, Texas, a city known for confederacy and white supremacy. Corruption is never addressed and staff members employed at Lane Murray Unit go unpunished for their transgressions. Ombudsman complaints go uninvestigated. Grievances go unanswered and uninvestigated. And the few investigations that do transpire are frivolous and fallible.
Transgenders are assaulted, raped, starved, sexually harassed to no avail. Reports of these allegations are immediately met with retribution. Transgenders as myself, are bullied, harassed, ridiculed, assaulted, placed in solitary confinement for a prolonged amount of time for no probable cause. There is no justice. There is no policy. There is no professionalism. There are no virtues. There is no integrity. These entities of law are non-existent at Lane Murray unit.
I fight for my life daily at Lane Murray Unit. It’s ironic how the correctional officers are more dangerous than the inmates, abusing the inmates with every form of tactic of torture and oppression possible. Being Black or being transgender is a death trap at Lane Murray unit. I’d have more luck at surviving walking freely on the borders of Russia and Ukraine with a hand grenade at Crimea’s nuclear plant and setting myself on fire. This is not an exaggeration! More so a paradox to be exact, but truth nonetheless.
There is no philosophy, no corrections or justification for the immoral and grotesque treatment of transgenders in Texas. The depravity is immense at Lane Mary Unit. What incentive is there for having a prisoner in solitary confinement for years other than to torture, decapacitate, subvert and abuse? It is pure and simple – manslaughter of prisoners. And people like Audrey England get away with it. Where is the justice? So many questions with so little answers, all the while transgenders are being manslaughtered.
I diligently fight for liberation, justice and peace against a cruel army of inhumane barbarians masquerading as correctional officers. Winston Churchill once stated, “victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.” With this engraved in my mind and my heart penetrated with valor, I sustain. I will not lose hope or give up. In this fight, I keep hope alive that these monsters one day answer to a judge in court for their violations and transgressions, and justice will be served; when Texas will initiate prison reform; when prisoners will be treated as humans not as cows and pigs at a slaughterhouse; when the lives of the LGBTQIA community truly matter; and the liberation of all political prisoners.
Pictures take me away mentally, emotionally, psychologically, forcing serenity and a sense of hope within me.
Just as Nelson Mandela once said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” For this I believe that the fallacies of capitalism that have led to the restrictive growth economically and socially causing tensions beyond a course of rectifying the problems of manslaughtering of transgenders in Texas prisons will end.
I daily wake up to transphobic slurs and cold food, hoping today I get pictures in the mail. Any kind of pictures; pictures that take me away mentally, emotionally, psychologically, forcing serenity and a sense of hope within me. As I daydream of that peace, my thoughts are interrupted, “Hey tranny, do you want some boxers? Too bad, here goes some panties, freak,” One of the correctional officers yells into my cell, followed by the usual raucous, laughing and banging on the door and bars – I am used to this by now.
Although it still bothers me, I don’t let it show to my persecutors. I have more pressing matters that need my attention. My T-injections are usually late. Several times I’ve gone a month without them. Medical staff claiming there was a shortage of medication or no staff to pull me out my cell, or no needles. I’ve been given every excuse under the sun, when all I ask is why I haven’t had my T-injections in four weeks. I am yelled at and told to get out of prison so I can get my own abomination injections. I am used to this by now.
As I walk back to my cell, I walk slowly enjoying the respite from the 24-hour lockdown in solitary confinement. Even though I have to endure the taunts and comments belittling my gender identity from the officers escorting me, I’m glad to be free, out of the six by nine brick and steel dungeon – even if it’s only for five minutes.
My sixth sense tells me I’m in danger, or danger is near.
All five of my senses are alert. A sixth sense I’ve developed since being held captive in solitary confinement and being aware of the dangers I’m surrounded by. As we walk back to my cell there is a blind spot from the cameras. As we crossed to the intersection and come face to face with that blind spot, my sixth sense tells me I’m in danger, or danger is near.
The first punch comes from the left. I am able to elude this one. The second punch comes from behind and I’m able to step away with only being grazed. But by the third, fourth, fifth, 20th, 30th, I’m doomed.
Of course, the attack took place where no cameras could see. I awake in my 6×9 brick and steel dungeon cell on the floor, face swollen, ribs aching as I try to sit up. Two of my fingers are possibly broken. Multiple abrasions and bruises cross my body like I’ve been beat with a hammer. I asked for medical treatment to no avail. I’ll have to self-remedy my wounds. I am used to this by now.
All I can remember is walking back to my cell and one of the officers making a crude remark about me being an F2M transgender. The question was, “So what the hell are you?” I didn’t respond. I guess that’s what triggered the attack.
I’m using the cardboard off the paper tablet for a splint for my fingers. I wrap it with a piece of torn shirt. The torn shirt I was wearing during the attack. The shirt is ruined, bloodied beyond cleansing. It appears as if I tiger-mauled me. I wash my face, one eye swollen shut, the other halfway shut but not as swollen. My ear is cut. My neck is sore. As I do an inventory of my injuries, I realize there is nothing I can do but let the days pass and allow my body to heal on its own. I’m used to this by now.
Just another typical day in prison for me. I am F2M transgender: an easy target, perfect prey for predators concealing themselves as correctional officers. Power is a destructive force and can be used for great evil. Overall, it can be used to manslaughter transgenders, and the correctional officers get amnesty. As the population grows, transgenders are being pulverized. Epictetus 1 said: “It is difficulty that shows what men are.” During difficult times I remain hopeful in a hopeless place. I write my thoughts on paper. I exercise. I read books – I love to read. I am human, I am alive I remind myself.
Would things be different had I been born in 1866? No! I’d still be subjected to slavery, abuse and discrimination. The only difference is today in 2022, there are laws that are supposed to protect me: civil rights, human rights and constitutional rights. But where are they as the manslaughtering of transgenders in Texas transpires?
Gulley Britney, F2M transgender, is a Political Prisoner and activist (and regular contributor to the SF Bay View).
Send our female-to-male some love and light: Gulley Britney, 1601283, Lane Murray Unit, 1916 N. Hwy. 36 Bypass, Gatesville, TX 76596.