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 Please read this powerful letter from Stefanie Rivera about the importance of reaching out to members of our trans communities behind bars during the holiday season.

Coming Together for the Holidays

By Stefanie Rivera


Many of us have the privilege of being able to have loved ones close to us for the holidays and being able to enjoy some sort of an outlet with our friends on a daily basis. We don’t even question it.


Sadly, many of our incarcerated transgender brothers and sisters, who have all but been forgotten, face a hostile, uncertain and very lonely future behind bars.


Many of us take for granted our daily walks and the warmth of the sun on our faces or the gentle breeze through our hair. But most importantly there are those times when we don’t even stop to think about how truly privileged we are to have so many wonderful people beating down our doors to spend time with us. So imagine how truly difficult it must be to get called out to the courtyard on the prison grounds: names are being called to go up to pick up a letter and yours is not among the names called out. That is the painful reality for lots of transgender people all across the country who have had the misfortune of becoming entangled with the prison industrial complex.


The way that a dog pants and runs around or a cat rubs itself on your leg while purring as you come in through the door is the same way I used to feel whenever I would receive just a simple letter saying “Hello.” It let me know that I mattered and that I was not forgotten.


Many trans people have had to endure abandonment many times over with family disowning them and society saying they’re not worthy to be on the outside living amongst us. So I say to you that, while our lives can consume our every moment, life has all but stood at a standstill for a lot of our trans brothers and sisters and we must remind ourselves of the way we felt during those times when either family, society or just plain old circumstances caused us to feel alone, forgotten and unwanted.


Just a few lines of scribble is all it would take to put a loving smile on one of their faces and a sense of worth that no amount of money could ever buy. So when you find that you have some idle time on your hands, feel free to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and reach out to one of our own.

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