Gay Jail is Magic

19 Nov

Loved this article on LA’s gay jail, but I feel like there’s some subtlety in it that maybe is too subtle. Slate Outward described the article like this:

On Tuesday, L.A. Weekly released an astonishing story and accompanying video about a place that’s so miraculous its existence feels like a mirage: the gay wing of the L.A. men’s central jail. Before I spoil any of the fun, you should go ahead and watch the profoundly humane, often hilarious video.Outward

Soooo maybe I should make it not subtle:


That they are in jail is a given to a certain class of writer, one that maybe believes that good people are innocent and bad people are criminals.After Ferguson, after statistics like this, who still believes that?

According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.

Despite being in jail, the people in the original article seem to be no danger to anyone, in fact, many of them like the communities formed around their incarceration. Is this because it is a “good thing” or is this because no alternative community or means of support has been presented to them? The people profiled are not the gays on tv, or the trans people in magazines, but they are the rough and tumble brown and black people who are too odd to fit in their respective hetero communities. They are the unintended victims of racist policies that criminalize drug abuse, but because they are faeries, they are magic, and have turned their lot in life into a very meager benefit.

When you write about gay misogyny, it is them you talk about, the drag queen, the uneducated ones, the brutes, the ones without a home. You say they dislike you, I say they have good reason to.


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