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This lifestyle can be complicated. Inside these walls, you’re bound to see it all. I know I have. 

I’ve been this way since I was five years old. Nowadays, I have no problem being me, myself, and I. It’s a new day if I do say so myself. Most people inside these walls are not properly educated on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Pansexual (LGBTQIP) lifestyle. People inside these walls will try and put all queer people in the same box. 

To be clear, there are also many different variations inside of each and every letter of LGBTQIP. I’ve had issues inside these walls with many people thinking one size fits all. 

It’s not always what you think, and a lot of the time, it’s more than what you think. 

Being a fluid gender pansexual individual, I identify as both woman and man simultaneously. Inside these walls, many have come before me, and many have disrespected us queer people. When non-queer people encounter a bad queer actor, the rest of us are subject to stereotype as soon as we hit the scene. I shake my head at that. 

Inside these walls, I have been made out to be something or someone I’m not. Inside these walls, I am being asked to be my fake self and not my real self. 

I am a true queer individual. I don’t have a problem with me being me, but other people do. Why is this? Inside these walls, if I pretend to be a non-queer person, I could have many many fake friends to pretend with. Hell, forget the Oscars. Inside these walls, they want me to win the Best Pretender Award.

You know what I say to that? I will not conform. Not now and not ever. 

Inside these walls, I’ve seen it all and done it all (to a certain extent, of course).

To be perfectly clear, many non-queer people are really queer people in disguise. Inside these walls.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Suten Blackgold is a Black writer, singer/songwriter and social justice activist from Panama City Beach, Florida. They are the author of four books, and currently incarcerated in California.