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As part of the relaunch of “It’s War in Here,” we asked some of our incarcerated members to join an Advisory Committee for the project. These members have helped us to generate questions and edit the surveys, and they will help us to review data and edit drafts of the report later on. They are serving an invaluable role in ensuring that this report accurately reflects the realities of transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York State prisons.

We asked all of our Advisory Committee members to share short “self-interviews.” We shared some of these responses with our readers a few weeks ago, and today we have another round of profiles from our lovely and resilient community members fighting for justice on the inside:

Name: Kai

Pronouns: he/him

Tell us a bit about yourself: “I’m Kai who is not defined by his mistakes, his gender or his ethnicity. I’m a humble dude who loves to learn & [listen].”

What is one thing you hope people get from reading the new report? “That there are transpeople in prison, that we need our voice heard.”

If you could style your hair any way you wanted, how would you wear your hair? “The same way I wear it now/Caesar with waves”

What animal best represents you? “Many – Dolphins bcuz their smart, Elephants bcuz their strong, Lions bcuz their fierce”

Name: Luke R. Lyons

Pronouns: he/him or Sir or Mr.

Tell us a bit about yourself: “I am currently in Bedford Hills C.F. (until 2020). I am also attending college classes. I love to read books and work at my job in the laundry.”

What is one thing you hope people get from reading the new report? “The proper information regarding Transgender Inmates and their struggles and triumphs while incarcerated.”

If you could style your hair any way you wanted, how would you wear your hair? “Shaved on the sides and cut short with it grown on top.”

What animal best represents you? “The mighty Lion! Strong, powerful and a leader”

 

Name: Clifton Goring – “but am legally changing it to Graceéd R&B”

Pronouns: they/them/their

Tell us a bit about yourself: “I am an optimist, compassionate, open minded and love to sing, write music and poetry. I will fight for the LGBTQ community until the existence of eternity is no more. when I love I love hard and I enjoy making friends.”

What is one thing you hope people get from reading the new report? “The point that we are human and important to everyday walks of humanity, and even when viewed as equal, we will not end our fight, for we are one and speak for all. Survivors, no, we are victorians!”

If you could style your hair any way you wanted, how would you wear your hair? “First I would have to get a hair restoration treatment because of 16 ½ years of prison stress I am bald. then I will grow out my hair and cornroll it, once in a while I’ll straighten my hair and wear it out. I love having long hair. I miss having hair.”

What animal best represents you? “It’s a tie between a panda bear and a lion.”

 

Name: Ms. Rona Sugar Love

Pronouns: Ms., she/her

Tell us a bit about yourself: “I am serving 25 years to life for murder. I am a victim of physical & sexual assault since childhood and youth and adult life.”

What is one thing you hope people get from reading the new report? “Knowledge and understanding and see us as human beings for who we are”

If you could style your hair any way you wanted, how would you wear your hair? “However way it make me feel happy.”

What animal best represents you? “I am every living animal on the planet cause I love every living creature and animal in the planet.”

Name: Terrianna Eliza Witherspoon

Pronouns: she/her, Ms.

Tell us a bit about yourself: “I’m a 34, soon to be 35 on Nov 9, Transwoman. I’m an inmate in doc male facility. I have a soon to be husband also in doc. I stand strong for my Community and I belive in fighting for myne and other trans Peoples’ rights.”

What is one thing you hope people get from reading the new report? “The one thing I know for sure is Knowing the history of trans people that go through being incarcerated and the mental abuse that we endure not just by the inmates, but by the staff that don’t address Transpeople and their current gender identity as well as looking at us as human beings”

If you could style your hair any way you wanted, how would you wear your hair? “I’m a big fan of long hair. So I would wear it long and straight with a little highlights to complement my personality, skin color, and eyes”

What animal best represents you? “I have my 2 favorites, Cats and dogs. a cat is quiet as kept and a dog is a protector.”