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When Innocence Was All I Had

| #012 | EXPRESSION > war stories | 393 words |

"Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger," is a common prisoner motif. Once tested, many demonstrate a moral integrity that even humbles the guards.

Maintaining my innocence made me ineligible for parole. During a parole hearing, the parole board expects to hear some level of contrition. I would have to admit to something that not only never occurred, but would have to make the impossible somehow sound possible with me culpable. As an asexual person without their sexual privilege, I was never going to be able to pull that off.

Adding insult to injury, the implausibility of the incredulous sex acts made it virtually impossible to even try to admit to some level of guilt. Would I be expected to clear up the many inconsistencies? Would I be required to explain the lack of corroborating evidence? Or would I be accused of lying and punished when telling the truth? I would be deemed a liar regardless of which version of the accusations I offered, and likely denied parole anyway.


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My first eligible outdate was in August of 2001, just two months before my codefendant and transgender sibling died from cancer. I was required to go through the formalities of a parole board hearing, but had little to say as I steadfastly maintained my innocence. “You know we can hold you here till your final outdate,” the parole board member pressured. She wasted her breath.

Lying to save my skin was never an option. I waived all the following parole hearings and resigned to my fate. As we innocent prisoners would say to encourage one another, it is far better to be morally free in a physical cage than physically free in a moral cage. Ineligible for parole because of my integrity, I was required to serve the full 15 year sentence. With goodtime reducing the time to a little over twelve years, I was finally discharged on September 22, 2005.

On the day I was finally discharged I received another token of their sexual privilege: a condom. Incredible irony, if you think about out. I mean, what am I as an asexual person going to do with a condom? Just as they threw away some of the best years of my life, I threw away their condom and kept my integrity. Because at the end of the day, integrity is all you’ve got.

Steph is a self-described transspirit, which is a kind of sacred misfit. By transcending conventional limits—gender norms, religious identities, political polarities, and more—Steph experiences a unique connection in life. And suspects others do as well. This blog shares that spirituality, and affirms others of a similar state of being.

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