This Kentucky Prison Is Censoring Books and Magazines That ‘Promote Homosexuality’ Because Prisoners Who Read About Gay People May Become Gay Themselves

It’s 2016, but the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex didn’t get the memo.   

The minimum and medium security prison in West Liberty, Kentucky has a mail policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving books and magazines that “promote homosexuality” — whatever the prison thinks that means. In just a four-month period in 2015, EKCC used the policy 13 different times to confiscate mail including letters, cards, “pages out of book,” and magazines like Out and The Advocate.

Huh? 

The mail policy is based on the dubious notion that gay prisoners pose a security threat simply for being who they are and the equally absurd idea that reading about gay people will somehow make you gay. Of course, gay people are no more likely to pose a threat than anyone else. And reading articles about gay celebrities and news doesn’t make anyone gay, any more than it makes anyone heterosexual to read articles in People about Beyoncé and Jay-Z. As our country’s understanding of what it means to be gay has evolved, the idea that keeping gay-related publications out of prisons will prevent gay prisoners from existing is ludicrous. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that being gay is an immutable part of who a person is.

Unfortunately, the assumption underpinning EKCC’s mail policy — that gay people are inherently dangerous — is one that permeates law enforcement and correctional agencies. Gay and transgender people, particularly people of color, are all too familiar with being profiled as criminals while going about their daily lives

The persistent profiling of gay communities stands in stark contrast to our country’s incredible progress toward LGBT equality in so many areas. Gay people now have the freedom to marry in all 50 states and can serve openly in the military. But that progress is marred by government policies and practices that single out gay people as inferior and even criminal.

That’s why today the ACLU sent a letter demanding that EKCC end its policy of censoring mail that “promotes homosexuality.” The policy is a clear violation of the free speech rights of prisoners — both gay and heterosexual — who are interested in reading about gay popular culture and politics. And it offends the equal dignity of LGBT people to target gay-related publications for unequal treatment.

It’s time for the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex to step into the 21st century.  

CORRECTION: The original post stated that Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex was located in East Liberty, Kentucky. It is located in West Liberty, Kentucky. The text has been corrected. 

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Michael Reed

The Constitution gives us all equal rights and freedom from religious oppression. Religious fanatics promoting biblical/shariah law think they can control others, but this is not Saudi Arabia, Irag, Iraq, Burma or some other third world hellhole, this is America.

If you oppose the Bill of Rights you may as well move to Russia.

Anonymous

Maybe Anonymous at 9:04AM missed that your religious freedom does not include trampling on the rights of others. All these RFRAs will be found unconstitutional, just give it time. The First Amendment guarantees that government will have no official religion, and this is the only way we can be truly free to practice the religion of our choice, not just the religion the hypocritical holier-than-thous (most of whom are not even really Christian in more than name and habit, not really following Christ's way of love). "Accept" or "don't accept" homosexuality, but F you if you think my rights as a taxpayer are less than yours. You're losing, so I pray you get over it soon. Did you notice the Supreme Court just decided that states must recognize adoptions from other states, even by same-sex parents? And guess what impact that has on your life?! Zero! Your side are the ones who want to dictate how other people live, but I repeat, you're losing.

Anonymous

The prison is in West Liberty, KY. There is no East Liberty in Kentucky.

Anonymous

Bend over, Anonymous, bend over!

2

Guess reading the " straight" magazines didn't work for me. This mindset is nothing short of failed logic! Where does the ban stop ? At Sports Illustrated- Hard bodied athletes ? Better Homes & Garden- decorating and gardening tips?
This profiling is discriminatory at the very least .
Don't waste your God theories on me, I attend church and bible study regularly and God loves me. He does not approve of the judgment that is being used as biblical interpretations. God loves all, remember who he befriended along the way.

Magazines don't...

I'm enjoying the idiot that believes that we, the gay community , are part of "liberal" agenda . There is no agenda, we want our right to pursue happiness and to be left alone to live our lives as we pay our fair share of taxes .
By the by , I attend church and bible study regularly and God loves me!! What he doesn't approve of is the right wing Christians that fail to live up to the words of God and the golden rule ! Plus, how you doing where your blended fabrics? Oops, guess that sin is out ? How about a married woman who's husband passes away, leaving no children . It's the brothers responsibility to marry that woman . Where do you get to decide what sin is a greater sin than others ? Plus , if you don't want to read out magazine because it promotes gayness- boy, you got bigger problems . Carry on .

Anonymous

Religious freedom stops where my civil rights begin.

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