Prison Letters

I'm Andres D. Bravo. I'm a queer Latino transman creating intersectional comic books and watercolor paintings. I volunteer as a public speaker and I mail illustrated letters to queer and transgender people impacted by the Prison Industrial Complex.

I started writing letters to queer prisoners in 2017. Letters provide a ray of hope. Being in jail or prison is traumatizing and dangerous enough as it is. For LGBTQ people who are incarcerated at disproportionately high rates this often means daily humiliation, abuse, and fear of creating worse conditions by speaking out. Many LGBTQ prisoners are held in solitary confinement for months or years, a practice medical experts equate to torture, simply because of who they are.

When someone hears their name during mail call it reminds them that people on the outside still care. It sends a clear message to prison guards and other prisoners: "This person has support, they are not forgotten." This is a vital harm reduction strategy, especially for queer and transgender folks.

The aim of my art career is to create as much colorful, diverse, and affirmative art for people who feel underrepresented by mainstream entertainment. Whether free or behind bars, one painting can be the difference between despair and hope.