Gabriel Guzman shares the horrors of being gay in prison

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Life becomes difficult when you are differ from other people. You should always fight to deserve respect from foes around you, especially in prison. Gabriel Guzman spent ten years in prison for having sex with a minor beginning when he was 17 years old. As a gay Latino man, he was a double minority among the prison population.

“In prison, it’s hard,” 31-year-old Guzman tells Progressive.org. “But being gay in prison makes it ten times harder.” Guzman says he was often the target of homophobic abuse, both at the hands of other inmates and from prison staff. As a result, he spent a lot of time in solitary confinement, sometimes for months on end.

Sadly, this sort of treatment is not uncommon for LGBTQ prisoners. The U.N. declares stays in solitary confinement longer than 15 days tantamount to torture, except in certain cases. When he wasn’t locked in the hole, Guzman spent much of his time working out in the prison gym. He says he tried to become as physically intimidating as possible in hopes of avoiding further abuse or harassment, and to stand up for other gay prisoners. Be strong and never forget who you are. A person only with will-power can fight for the rights, just never give up.

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