Deliverable 8

Two Spirits: Program helps gay youth serving time behind bars

WOODBURN, Ore. – The young people locked up at MacLaren Correctional Facility are all serving time for a serious offense.

Behind the fence, some are still paying with more than their time.

“I was bullied a lit bit more than most people,” said Alejandro Estrada, who is gay.

For years, inmates like Estrada had little support.

“I have seen youth be assaulted, I have seen youth be taken advantage of. I have seen a lot of these things happen,” said MacLaren staffer Missy Mintun.

“Basically, beaten by other guys because of my orientation,” Estrada said.

“It’s a very confusing time to come out and to be able to say to yourself let alone the rest of the world – ‘hey, I am gay,’ or ‘I am transitioning, I want to be a transgender’ or ‘I am questioning my sexuality,'” Mintun said.

About 130 youth are serving time at MacLaren. About 10 of them take part in the Two Spirits group.

See more on this initiative here.

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