Giving Thanks and Sharing Thoughts About Life, Death, Justice and HIV
By Tim Hinkhouse
January 10, 2017
Hello there readers:
Here it is, another holiday season in prison and the New Year is upon us. Come on 2017! You have to be better than this year, I hope? 2016 wasn't horrible for me, personally. I have been monitoring the progress of the Center for HIV Law and Policy and the SERO Project in their fight to end HIV criminalization, which will affect me personally. Of course, that is only if new law gets applied retroactively.
Speaking of HIV organizations, I want to send my thanks to the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, specifically Yolanda for sending me a beautiful "Happy Holidays" card. I appreciate that you are thinking of me.
This year I was fortunate to receive several cards from people associated with the SERO Project, also in Pennsylvania.
One card from "Olivia" touched me. I want to share what she wrote: "Hi Timothy! Are you the Timothy in Oregon who writes blogs for The Body.com? If so, I love your work! If not -- eh, honest mistake. Either way, I wish you only the very best this season and beyond. Thinking of you! Olivia, New Orleans, LA."
How cool is this? A fan of my blog sent me a card. I want to tell her directly that I am grateful to be remembered this time of year or just anytime at all. Thank you Olivia! You are awesome. I'd love to hear from you if you want to email me? I'll write you back.
As of this writing, the Oregon governor, Ms. Kate Brown, has had my clemency application going on 15 months. When I sent her my packet, I included so much information that was photocopied and sent to me regarding the changes being made in the criminalization of HIV. The one thing that I hope Ms. Brown will notice that I sent her was a copy of an article about Colorado:
"On Monday June 6, 2016 Governor John Hickenlooper signed SB 146 into law. The new law reduces the enhancement to the maximum sentence and requires the prosecution to prove transmission first."
I am hoping that Governor Brown will have mercy on me and say that more than two decades in prison is enough time to be served.
I want to again ask my readers that, if you believe that getting seven decades of time to serve in prison for non-disclosure of HIV, unprotected sexual intercourse and NO TRANSMISSION of the HIV virus is unfair, then I need your help.
I want to encourage you to reach out to the Oregon Governor on my behalf and tell her what you think about my sitting here till I am supposed to turn 80 years old. Go online to Oregon.gov to find out how to contact her via email, phone, fax or snail mail.
It is my hope to spend Christmas of 2017 out there with people that I make as new friends in the HIV community. There is a lot that I have to catch up with out there, like how to use a cell phone. I have to learn how to use the internet as simple as email. I am told that the Oregon prison system won't teach these things until I reach a minimum facility, which I'll be eligible for on February 12, 2046 when I am 75 years old.
This next year, I will have been living with HIV for 27 years. From the religious perspective that I have been raised to believe, I am supposed to believe that "God" has something big planned for my life.
Why didn't this illness take me many years ago, so I wouldn't have to live with the mental turmoil that I have had? In my life, I have learned that living is hard and dying is easy. Know what else is difficult for lots of people?
Talking about death. Why is that so uncomfortable? When we are faced with wrapping up the final affairs of a loved one, we ignore our own mortality. Everyone has his or her own beliefs as to what happens to us upon our expiration date, whenever that is. Care to talk about this with me?
Sorry I got off track and went to a dark place. This time of year is difficult for me as it is for many people in prison or out in the free world. My inner peace comes from writing in a journal and sending pieces of those thoughts in a blog form for you to read.
One last thought. I'd like to thank the staff at The Body.com for letting me be a part of the site, getting my words out to you, the readers. This is a site dedicated to educating people about HIV/AIDS and the way it affects those with it, which should always be the focus.
Everyone has a jaded past to some degree, and if it doesn't have anything to do with HIV infection, it doesn't belong here. Life is already difficult for those of us that face discrimination because we have HIV.
To discriminate against someone based on other character defects of their past doesn't make your pain any easier to deal with. You are just displacing your own prejudices onto the shoulders of someone who already has their own cross to bear. No matter who you are or whatever is in your past, I will stand by and lift you up in your time of need.
Happy New Years to all of you reading this! It is my wish that you all are healthy, successful, happy and blessed in so many ways!
A New Year, With Ongoing Challenges of Social Death in Prison and New Cuts to HIV Care on the Outside
HIV on the Inside
I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.
Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
You can also email me at hi.timothy7019
Subscribe to Tim's Blog:
June 7, 2018 - Mental Health and HIV in Prison
May 29, 2018 - Ignorance About HIV Is Not an Excuse to Be Disrespectful
May 24, 2018 - Through Blogging, HIV-Positive People Can Have a Platform to Be Heard and Understood
December 11, 2017 - 24 Years Ago, I Was Arrested for Having HIV and Unprotected Sex and Failing to Disclose: A Blog Entry by Tim Hinkhouse
December 4, 2017 - Questions About HIV Criminalization Law Updates, Retroactivity, and Recidivism: A Blog Entry by Tim Hinkhouse
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The opinions expressed by TheBody.com's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TheBody.com itself.