Hi! I’m Amber.
A bit about myself… and my goals
Well, let’s start with the simple part shall we? I’m trans and hoping to be able to get surgery to finish my transition, and with your help that can be sooner rather than later. Which is why I have asked for a little help from my friends in setting up this page. Ya see, I would set it up myself but… I’m kinda sorta stuck in prison at the moment. It’s kinda like being pregnant, except for the steel bars, pepper spray, and it not over after 9 months of misery.
So that’s about it for the simple part, from here on it it gets more complex. You were warned.
We’re trying to raise money to pay for the following gender-affirming surgeries:
- Thyroid Cartilage Reduction (Adam’s Apple Shave)
- Home Hair Removal System (TriaBeauty of No!No!Pro)
- Hair Reconstruction (Hair Plugs/Micro Plugs)
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I actually need to transition, and what I just want because I want it, and what surgeries I don’t want (like breast implants or a nose job).
There is one more surgery I need: the bottom surgery. It’s only slightly more expensive than the rest with a $30,000 price tag. So I’ll just go ahead and worry about that later. I’m hoping to be able to get assistance from some charity organizations like The Jim Collins Foundation or CK Life. Of course, it would be really cool if we were able to raise way more than enough and be able to donate a bunch of money to those charities instead of asking for it.
Because I have just recently started HRT, I have at least six months to wait before I can get any of the surgeries I listed above. So my plan is to raise money for the next couple years and see where we’re at when we get there.
I’ve actually got quite a bit going on in the next few years. Most of which involves either fighting with the Wa DoC to get them to give us trans people the things we need, or working toward clemency. I am hoping to, in the next 4 years, complete my physical transition, complete my college degree, get moved to a women’s prison (I’m in a men’s facility right now), get the Wa DoC to recognize my legal name change (currently they don’t), and set up a support system for the LGBT inmates in Washington prisons (gay-straight alliance or similar).
I am nothing if not ambitious =^. .^=
A lot of what I’m trying to accomplish walks a fine line between pushing the definition of current Wa DoC policies and getting the Wa DoC to change their current policies without pushing so hard that I get put in the hole “under investigation” as retaliation for what I’m doing. Not because I’m worried about being placed in solitary confinement, but because it would severely limit my ability to accomplish my goals.
Which brings us to the subject of…
“What are these Wa DoC policies of which you speak?”
Well, this is one of those subjects that I will probably end up circling back to on a regular basis. Seeing as there are thousands of pages of them which define the rules for nearly every aspect of an incarcerated person’s life. The most notable policies for me are the ones that regulate gender expression, the mailroom policies, and the policies dealing with LWOP.
There isn’t like “Policy number DOC blah-blah-blah Offender Gender Expression” or anything. It’s actually a collection of policies taken from here, there and the other place that effectively does that. Little things like not being allowed to grow my nails out beyond 3/8 of an inch is in the grooming standards policy. Plus not being able to get nail polish because it’s not in the property matrix policy. Then not being allowed to use the art curio program to buy paint to use on my nails. So effectively these rules taken together regulate my gender expression by saying “no manicures.”
The same with the clothing policies. They just recently changed them to allow trans inmates to be issued underwear in accordance with our gender identity. So up until last year I was forced to wear boxers. I’m a girl! I need bras and panties not boxers. The reverse is true for the transmen in the women’s prisons. They’re boys and need boxers. The Wa DoC is still not wanting to give us slacks, blouses, t-shirts, jackets, shorts, sweats, and shoes in accordance with our gender identities. So my pants don’t fit at all and my blouses button up on the wrong side and so on and so forth.
So these are the types of things we are working on getting changed.
There is one weird silver lining to the situation I am in… The Wa DoC still sorts people into the men’s and women’s prisons according to weather or not one happens to have a penis. Thus, pre- and non-op trans people are always put in the wrong facility. 1)I’m a lifer so I have a lot of time to fight the DoC on this point and 2) If I can get the minor surgeries I listed above, I pass. Now I know the whole idea of respectability and playing into stereotypes passing and all that is bull—-. However, they are excellent levers for manipulating idiots stupid enough to buy into them if you happen to be lucky enough to pull it off. This only works because of equal protection.
If the DoC allows me to be moved to WCCW before I have the bottom surgery for any reason, then they have to allow other trans people to change facilities who are pre- or non- op. One person opens the door for others. I believe I have a good chance of pulling this off because unlike many other inmates, I have been working towards clemency the entire time I’ve been in prison. Most lifers haven’t really given thought to clemency until relatively recently because of former governor Christine Gregoire. She didn’t want to let anyone out. Now we have Governor Insley who is actually open to considering granting people clemency. Well, all that positive behavior (few exceptions, it is prison after all) and educational programming makes it harder for the DoC to argue that I would somehow be a threat to the people in the woman’s prison.
It’s all a part of my evil, nefarious, dirty rotten, no good plan for world domination. What? as if anyone is going to believe I have a benevolent plot to take over the world?
So, in short, I hope you join us for the next couple of years to see how this all turns out. It will be like an adventure! Er, depending on your philosophical bent may or may not be a good thing. I’m generally one to agree with Bilbo. Adventures are dirty nasty uncomfortable things filled with hours of great tedium, punctuated with moments of great terror, and usually make one unfashionably late for dinner. So instead let us say it will be interesting. That is, up until the moment I get around to telling you my working definition of the word “interesting.”
Editor’s Note: This blog will be managed by Megan and Andy, two of Amber’s friends and penpals. The actual crowdfund page will be put up soon; until then, we will be posting blog posts from Amber every Friday.
We’ll be setting up a Facebook page soon, so you can keep up with when we post, or if we have updates on Amber that aren’t posted to the blog. If you want to get in contact with us, email email@example.com and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you have.