Gay prisoner’s writings

{democracy:21}

Be sure to read: Matt Comer’s “Editor’s Note” and Kevin Scott’s “Guest Commentary.”

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13 Replies to “Gay prisoner’s writings”

  1. I have read several of the submissions by the prisoner in Harnett County as published by Q-Notes. I myself don’t particularly care for this prisoner’s style of writing nor his approach to prison life; however, I care for the criticism directed against Joseph Urbaniak’s columns by Kevin Scott even more.

    I’m sure Mr. Scott would not approve of the lifestyle of most authors, including Isherwood, Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Poe, Genet, Gide, just to mention a few.

    I am 76 years old, and all my life until these last fifteen years I have been told to be remorseful for being gay. And for most of that time I have done penance. But no more. I may not choose to read the prisoner’s writings, but, hey, a multitude of Middle Class squares don’t approve of my attempts at writing, either.

    If there is a readership for Joseph Urbaniak, there should be a place for his writings, no matter what a Fortune 500 company employee thinks.

    I have two AA sponsees in prison, one in the Harnett County, another in the facility at Windsor. Anyone who believes that the NC Prison System is dedicated to rehabilitation should just visit any institution one time and talk with the inmate.

  2. Gay prisoners do need a voice. However, I am sure that Q-Notes could have found a better spokeperson for the issues they state are important to publish. If the issues are the fair treatment of LGBT prisoners and writings of their mis-treatment, than that should be the focus of the writings that are published. From my readings of Mr. Urbaniak’s writings, the published material is focused on the sexual experiences of a conficted molester within the prison system.
    Child molestation is not an issue of sexual identify, it is a crime of power over another an individual.

  3. As someone who has endured the pain and lingering emotional effects of sexual abuse, I find it appalling and repulsive that Q-Notes would publish a column from a man who committed such an offense. Anyone who victimizes a child, whether they are an “adolescent” or not should be locked away and should not see the light of day again. The decision to publish the opinions of this man shows a reprehensible insensitivity to not only this mans victim but to all those who have survived sexual abuse and a lack of common sense by the editor. I for one will no longer read Q-Notes until the column has been pulled!

  4. Michael, the editor himself is a survivor of child abuse. Have you read his opinion column or are you just ranting out of emotion?

  5. Yes I read the opinion column which is why I am so shocked that he made the decision to allow this vile individual to publish in Q-Notes and yes I may be ranting out of emotion but it is a justified emotion.

  6. Cry me a river people, damn! I think Matt’s and Q-Note’s decision to publish this column is valid and even though the offense is horrible and inexcusable, it is still a view into an otherwise unknown venue by most of us. In the end, if you do not want to read it…THEN DON’T! If you do, read it objectively. Published writings do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher, the editor, the employees or other readers…now does it???

  7. Being a Criminal Justice student at UNCP-Pembroke and working with family violence issues in the community, I was also dissapointed that Q-notes decided to publish a column from a convicted child molestor. This only sets the gay and lesbian community of NC back and does not represent a positive viewpoint for our community.

  8. Q-notes should not lend a voice to a pedophile, whether in jail or not. This has nothing to do with free speech or creating awareness for GLBT prisoners. Urbaniak is obviously narcisstic as well as mentally ill. If he wants to express his views then let him talk to the prison psychiatrist. If Q-notes doesn’t soon stop giving him a forum for his sickness, then I can longer support Q-notes by reading it or using the services of any business that advertises within it.

  9. Cry me a river too. Objections and criticism should not be given ‘off the cuff’. Think your responses thru before inserting foot to mouth. I’ve looked over the charges against this inmate. I’ve come to the conclusion it is a young man and his lover, not an act of violence committed here. The court system unfairly sentenced this man to a long jail term, when a murderer gets a shorter sentence for what I feel is a far more reprehensible crime. Pedophia is nothing to sniff about. However, read some of the crimes committed by others, then, judge accordingly.

  10. “If Q-notes doesn’t soon stop giving him a forum for his sickness, then I can longer support Q-notes by reading it or using the services of any business that advertises within it.”

    Lisa, again, the willingness of Q-Notes, it’s editor or publisher, to publish this man’s writings do not, DO NOT! condone any deeds. The reader has the option to read the man’s writings or just turn the page. I say, keep publishing and let Lisa take here business elsewhere. And, I say to advertisers who help the success of Q-Notes by advertising in it, let the ignorance of such rants and ravings fall by the wayside. People let’s embrace the diversity that we desire and admire and be wise enough to realize that within that diversity are areas that we may not all agree on. Censorship is not the answer. Wisdom is.

  11. I just posted a comment on another thread related to this same context. You can find that comment here: http://www.q-notes.com/2009/01/10/stop-publishing-writings-from-prisoner/#comment-2919

    I find it irreprehensible that members of the LGBT community pass judgment on one of our own, facing a system that is built in denying him his rights as a gay man. Using Mr. Urbaniak’s story to challenge the discrimination within the North Carolina Department of Correction, WILL NOT equate our movement with the support of pedophilia. It is absurd to think that we cannot challenge the bigotry and discrimination committed against Mr. Urbaniak because he is charged with “indecent liberties” and/or because he is a prisoner.

    Folks, the underlining story here, is that Mr. Urbaniak (a North Carolinian, a gay man and a human), is being denied fair treatment by a State agency who is suppose to represent it’s people fairly. By reading about his injustice and the life of a gay man in NC’s prison system (and from experience as a former correctional officer, I can tell you it’s accurate) – we should be outraged. We can take a stand AGAINST discrimination, without taking a stand FOR pedophilia.

    And, for those that think an inmate should not have access to the media, think about the civil right’s movement. One of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous messages came from within a jail. What would the face of the civil rights movement look like today, had Dr. King not been allowed to access the media?

    The media’s job is to fairly represent the fact. Q-Notes has given Mr. Urbaniak a voice (given that they reserve the right to censor that voice – such as I expect they would if Mr. Urbaniak used his voice to say that pedophilia was ok) that he would not otherwise have. It’s important for those incarcerated within our state’s prison facilities to be able to report abuse, neglect and infringements of their rights. The media is one that that this can be accomplished.

    I am a Christian, but my comment appearing here – no way implies that QNotes is promoting Christianity. The Unibomber wrote a number of opinion pieces that appeared in newspapers across the country. The publication of his articles did not equate his crime to the entire Caucasian community or to all men or to say that the newspaper was promoting his crimes. It’s unfair to say that because QNotes allows an incarcerated gay man to write about his experiences within prison, that his crime represents the entire LGBT community. You just can’t get from there to here. There is no logic in that, whatsoever.

    Likewise, if I may point out, Mr. Urbaniak’s charge of “indecent liberties” could also be a result of a failed legal system, when it comes to the LGBT community. (I’m not trying to paint Mr. Urbaniak as being wrongfully charged or as not guilty. I do not know him personally and am unaware of the exact circumstances surrounding his alleged crime.) Mr. Urbaniak could have been in a relationship with someone under the age of 18 and charged with “indecent liberties.” This, on the surface, may sound wrong. But, compare that to the number of 18, 19 and 20 year old heterosexuals that are in relationships with someone 16 or 17 years old. Prior to the “statutory rape” law, “indecent liberties” may have been the only charge a prosecutor could have found to charge someone with. You can only imagine the witch-hunt a conservative prosecutor would make against a young gay couple today – imagine that 10 years ago.

    I’m glad that Qnotes has given Mr. Urbaniak a voice and I’ll continue to read his columns. His is a story that is worth hearing and it’s a cause that we all should stand to oppose. We can’t pick and choose who we want to give equal rights to. I say – equality rights for all! (All means prisoners, pedophiles, murders, liars and even victims of those crimes)

  12. I thought that the last 8 years had taught us that censorship of the media is a slipery slope. Like Brandon, I don’t know Mr. Urbank’s circumstances but I would support that a gay man is going to be judged more harshly than a straight man when it comes to underage sex or pretty much any crime in the good ole South. I also support Mr. Urbank’s right to have access to non-sexual materials. It is not “frivilous” to protest a different standard set for gay and straight prisionors. As to his specific writing, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  13. Clifford Browder January 25, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Though a resident of New York City, I have followed the publication of Joe Urbaniak’s articles, and the controversy they have raised, with great interest. I have been a pen pal of Joe’s since 2000; we have exchanged close to four hundred letters and have often discussed his case and related issues. I have obtained his complete court records and have helped him to write his unpublished memoir, telling in detail how he came to be arrested and imprisoned. I understand the concern of those readers who question the appropriateness of publishing his articles on gay prison life, but I feel that they might change their minds if they knew Joe’s full story. The relationship which led to his arrest was a consensual one. The presumed victim, a teenager, has since testified in court, and stated separately in a signed affidavit, that Joe did not harm him in any way, nor in his opinion would Joe willingly harm anyone; that he himself bears some responsibility for the relationship; and that he favors Joe’s receiving parole. Even if the circumstances were otherwise, I think that Q-Notes would be justified in printing Joe’s articles, and I applaud their having done so to date. I take the issue of child molestation seriously, since three of my friends were molested as children and as a result bear emotional scars to this day. But Joe’s relationship was a very different matter and should not be confused with cases like those. And his honest reporting of gay life in prison merits the attention of the whole gay community. I hope the articles will continue.

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