US: ‘Being Gay in Prison Is Ten Times Harder’: Inmates Tell of Abuse, Use of Solitary

Gabriel Guzman has dark brown eyes, but it’s difficult to discern when you talk to him. That’s because Guzman, a former Illinois prison inmate, has a hard time maintaining eye contact, one of the many lasting effects of having spent long periods in solitary confinement. Guzman was released last March after ten years in prison, about three and a half of those in solitary.

Guzman, 31, was sent to prison for having sexual relations with a minor beginning when he was 17 years old. A Latino gay man, Guzman says in an interview that he was often sent to solitary confinement for defending himself and other LGBTQ+ inmates against other inmates and prison staff.

“In prison, it’s hard,” Guzman says in a soft voice. “But being gay in prison makes it ten times harder.”

Eight percent of incarcerated adults identify as something other than heterosexual, according to a recent report on LGBT prisoners. This is nearly twice the percentage of adults in the general U.S. population who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

For many of these people, abuse because of their sexual identity is a daily occurrence. It can come in many forms, from both other inmates and prison staff. Read more via Progressive