QNIssue_110108 web - QNotes

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QNIssue_110108 web - QNotes

Not for Reproduction Q-Notes Not for Reproduction22 NOVEMBER 1 . 2008 • QNotesB E H I N D BA R SGay rights on lockdownAn inmate details his ongoingto receive publications that show nudity orcourt battle with the N.C. Dept.sexual activity. The Advocate certainly didn’tof Correctionshave that.Q - N OexQlusiveT ESGranted,there mightbe a picture ofby Joseph Urbaniakan attractiveSpecial to Q-Notesguy in aspeedo or[Ed. Note: Joseph Urbaniak,thong, butan inmate at Harnettthat wasn’tCorrectional Institution inany moreLillington, N.C., is thescandalousplaintiff in a pending lawsuitagainst the N.C.the otherthan some ofDepartment of Correctionsmen’s magazinesthatto secure the right of LGBTprisoners to possess nonsexual,LGBT-themedprison show-came into thebooks, newspapers anding women inmagazines. In this exclusivescanty bikinis,and thosefeature, he gives his accountof the circumstances thatmagazinesQ - N Oprecipitated this importantT ESwere allowed.court battle.]The policy also says that a publication“Inmate Urbaniak! Report to the H-Block cannot be denied just because staff may disagreewith its contents or find it repugnant.Control Desk! Immediately!” The dorm officer’svoice echoed over the intercom on the That’s the actual word used in the policy,yard at Harnett Correctional. When I got to the “repugnant.” Obviously, the staff found myControl Desk, the dorm officer gruffly said, magazine repugnant.“Report to the captain’s office.”“I’ll appeal.” I filled out the necessaryAs I walked across the prison to the captain’soffice, I got that queasy, knotted-up, publication review committee would seepaperwork and left his office, sure that thebutterflies-in-the-stomach feeling that you the error in the captain’s ways and approveget when you’re driving down the highway my magazine.and you see a state trooper’s flashing blueA few days later I was again summoned bylights in the mirror, and you know you’re the captain. This time he held up the latestbeing pulled over. I tried to think of what I issue of Out,telling me it had been disapproved.Other publications followed: The Frontmight have done wrong to merit this audiencewith one of the unit officials. I couldn’t Page, The New York Blade,other issues ofOutthink of anything.and The Advocate.When I arrived at the office I knocked on I began to get paranoid, fearing that anythe door.“Come in,” a voice yelled. I went in day now a couple of officers would come andQ - N Oand sat in a chair. TheTcaptain sat behind aEsearch through my locker, hoping Sto find moregray metal industrial-type desk with papers “repugnant” material. I might even get lockedand folders scattered on it. He was an older up in Segregation. It seemed like I threatenedman close to retirement, with skin like wellwornleather and short gray hair.After all, here I was, an openly gay man inthe sanctity of the institution.“You are being denied a magazine that their prison, receiving gay publications. Icame in the mail.You’ve got three choices.You could lie on my bunk and read a gay news orcan throw it away, mail it home or appeal the entertainment magazine in sight of everyone.denial.” He held up a copy of The Advocate. That might give the impression that the prison“Why is it being denied? I’ve been getting condoned such repugnant behavior, and wethat magazine for years.”certainly couldn’t have that!“It was denied up front,” he said, referring to Over the next several months I was calledsome nameless person in the administration. to the captain’s office again and again. More“But why was it denied?”magazines were denied. Books that had theThe captain paused a moment, then said words “gay” or “homosexual” in the title, oras if it pained him to do so,“Because it’sshowing men in some sort of embrace, werehomosexual in nature.”likewise denied. Even books that had nothingto do with gay issues or homosexuality“And? That’s against policy?”“You can’t receive homosexual material,” he were disapproved, only because they came atemphatically replied.the same time as gay-related books — guiltQ - N O“Why not? I am aThomosexual.”Eby association.S“Like I said, you can throw it away, mail it Everything was appealed to the reviewhome or appeal. What do you want to do?” committee and, to my surprise, everything“But I don’t understand why I can’t have a was denied.magazine that I’ve been getting for years withoutany problems.”committee, asking them to explainI began writing letters to the reviewexactly“I said,” he declared in a louder voice,“youcan throw it away, mail it home or appeal it.Now what do you want to do?”I sat back in the chair, feeling numb andgetting angry. According to Department ofCorrections policy, inmates are not allowedwhat in the last issue of Out,or in a novelabout two men falling in love while tryingto break into the film industry inHollywood, or in any of the other publicationsdenied, they found so distasteful as tosee Inmate on 23Q-Notes Not for Reproduction Q-Notes

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