Prison Radio
Lisa Strawn

Lisa Strawn, CMS Vacaville, “Acceptance.”

Currently where I am and who I am, I’m not accepted for anything. Being a trans woman in a man’s prison, I’m not entitled to acceptance. The reality of acceptance has been at the hands of those who have mentally, physically, and sexually abused me into thinking that my acceptance is and has been secondhanded. But not just that. I’m constantly reminded in my daily life that I don’t fit into a so-called accepting place by the eye-rolling and the stares I get, as well as transphobic statements made.

Staff and inmates show their fear and unacceptance because they think it’s funny and encourage others to be as intolerant as they are. But that doesn’t make me feel that I cannot be accepting of who I am. Even with the LGBTQ population, I’m not always accepted because I’m not the person who hides who I am or the fact that I’m a leader and don’t allow men to say I can’t do what they do.

And somehow my own self-acceptance means more to me than the acceptance of those who daily are fake to me and do all they can to shake my core. So what they don’t realize is how accepting of myself I am is more important than what they feel. Because I can accept myself for the good and the things I don’t like, I can walk into a room full of intolerant, selfish, and nonaccepting people and know that.

The only difference is the fact of knowing that I have given my all to be accepting of those who aren’t accepting and tolerant, and in knowing that, we should all be more tolerant and accepting of everyone, because we don’t have the right to take away acceptance of anyone because of gender, sexuality, race, or religion. You cannot love and accept yourself until you love and accept everyone.

Lisa Strawn, CMS Vacaville, “Acceptance.”