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Alexis

23 years, Brooklyn, New York

Storytelling Project

I'm from East Side, San Jose born and raised. Who I am? I'm “actually female” but I go by transgender so I shaved my head, on female would be a lot different for other people, so it just makes me who I am. I’d say that I am Mexican. An American boy.

I don’t really know much about my race. I know I am Mexican- American. I have more Mexican then Hispanic in me because I was born in America and haven't left America. I'd say I'm more Americanized.

Growing up was a struggle but I've always had at least one parent by myside so if it was not my mom it was my dad, but they'd always be there at separate times. The system took my parents away from me for a few years. I was kind of raised by my grandma. God Bless her she made me who I am today.

I was sixteen-years old when I first got locked up and I was depressed, and I was drinking and taking Xanax at the time. Things were going hot on at home and I didn't want to go home so the partner I was with at the time had called me a taxi cab and told them, “their intoxicated and he's fucked up. He doesn't have any money, bring him to my house and I will pay you when he gets here”, and the guy said okay but I need something for collateral. So, I gave him my phone and we were worked it out. But before he got to the freeway he pulled over and said

“alright get out of my car”

and I said

“alright give me my phone”.

And he said: “nah, nah, nah just get out of my car.”

And I was like “no give me my phone man.”

He went to go kind of like open the door against me and kind of shoved me out and I reached over and I threw my first punch. Well that’s when I had opened up the middle console and I'd seen he had a bunch of money laying so I told him

“you want to take my stuff I'm going to take yours” and that’s when he hit me back.

He hopped out the car after that I hopped out the car went around to the driver’s door and we started fighting, boxing on the street until he, I don't know, he did something and got away from the car door and I jumped into the car and I took his car from him.

About a mile later I crashed it the cops were already behind me and they told me “any sudden movements and were going to shoot”.

So I sat there and I dropped to the floor and I said “I don't have anything I'm not armed I have is a knife and that’s it.”

They picked me up threw me against the cop car checked me and threw me in the back of a cop car. I don't remember anything after that but I just remember telling him “you have my phone you have my phone?”

They said “yeah we have your phone” and that was the last thing I remember.

When I woke up, I was in a room cell with one bed. All by myself. And they kept me like that for two weeks. And I found out afterwards that they weren’t suppose to do that but one of the guards had told me it’s because I'm a “dyke”, cause I like female. So, when they actually roomed two weeks later they roomed me with another stud like me. They didn't give me the full whatever they're suppose to let me. And then from that point on, I got put on a 5150 hold watch it was just how enclosed I was by myself for two weeks.

I'd say people like me who gender themselves and believe who they are suppose to be they don't have any type of respect. I'd say only some guards do because they know what it is but the other ones they don’t really care they're going to do what they're going to do just to get their paycheck whether it hurts your feelings or not.

Me being who I am I know that. And my friends that were put in there, like me – studs, they told me too. It wasn't right for them. They couldn't get roomed with anybody just because if another girl was female and femme, feminine they wouldn’t room ‘em with them. I just think that's just wrong. Just because us “girls” like other girls, cause it’s not every girl we fall in love with.

For them guards to look at us like actually human beings and not the actual animals that they say that we are. I mean we do what we do for a reason right? So, there's more behind our story then just how we look and how we carry ourselves.

Alexis was asked: “What would make you feel more respected and honored in the system?”

“I don't know. Be more human kind and not just slappin on there like what are you in here for. And to give me the respect you'd want.”

“I'm just going to say that the system they have their ups and downs. Only because the people when I went in there I know that I had some guards on myside to help me, to watch me thrive. But I also had some guards that would kick me down and tell me that I would come back. Tell me I'm just a rat of a kid.

So, I mean being in there it…I don’t know, I'm cool, I'm gonna leave it like that. It made me watch my actions. It made me respect a lot more people. It ripped me away from my family and I didn’t like that.

So, the day I got released is the day I changed my ways. I remember the day the guard told me “you'll come back, this is your first time, you'll come back.” And two years later, I’m not back, not at all.

I do all I possibly can to go by their rules, so I can be the person I want to be. And it helped me in a way, I ain’t gonna lie. It got me out of little stupid things I was doing, it made me open my eyes. And you know it put me on schedule, to go to school. To get your shit together, you know. So, I changed because of me. Because I gave me that chance to change, you know. I wanted to. I didn’t look just one way, I had to see through other perspectives. I was tired of hurting the people I loved. Really it’s me.

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