In her own words: Eisha Love looks back Video below article by Gretchen Rachel Hammond 2015-12-19
This article shared 7789 times since Sat Dec 19, 2015
On Dec. 18, Eisha Love was transferred to Statesville Prison in Joliet, Illinois, to "dress in and dress out"the process for release having spent three years and nine months in a tiny cell of the Cook County Jail waiting for a trial.
After 11 hours of testing, photos, fingerprinting, paperwork and waiting in the bullpen ( a warehouse-sized holding cage ), Love was finally taken in a prison van to the massive front entrance of the facility, where she was met by the arms of her mother. Sobbing with joy, both women embraced. They didn't want to let each other go.
Freedoma word Love never thought she would hear.
"There is a God," she told Windy City Times.
For the first three months of her incarcerationbeginning in March, 2012Love was housed in the medium security Division XI. "I was with a couple of familiar people that I was getting along with," she recalled. "Out of the blue I got a court date. I didn't know the reason behind it."
The charges against her had been upgraded from aggravated battery to attempted murder in the first degree. Love was told by a correctional officer to pack up her things because she was being sent to the all-male super maximum security Division IX to be housed alongside some of Chicago's most violent offenders.
"It was a shock," Love said. "Because my public defender never told me. I didn't understand. I was lost. I was stuck. After coming down to holding, we were walked to Division IX. They have a long tunnel. It was dawning on mehow would I be able to get through? How would things be with a girl like myself in an area with murderers?"
Initially, there were two other transgender women on Love's Protective Custody ( P.C. ) tier. Their gender and humanity were systematically robbed from them by prison guards. "It took a toll," Love said. "They would look at us as clowns. The respect level was none. They would address me as 'him.' I would let them know I was trans but it was their option to choose to say what they wanted to say. It was more not caring at all. I had to tolerate it."
"They would put boys into my cell," she added. "We were supposed to be housed according to us as being transgender but there would be times when the jail got to be over-capacity. Being in that predicament, you never know what the [chances are] of them doing something to you. It was very uncomfortable."
Years passed like that for Lovelocked in her cell for usually 23 hours-per-day, which she deliberately kept dark as she retreated further into herself. "You are hoping that you're going to get some good news, but it was always bad. I was losing hope," she said.
"I had probably three [public defenders]" Love remembered. "From different ones there were different stories. One was with me. One was somewhat with me and the last one was not for me."
According to Love, her last public defender did everything she could to dissuade her from fighting her case. "There would be things that kind of discouraged me to believe that she was working for me. It was like she was working against me. I would tell her I wanted to go with a strong fight and she would say 'it happened. You did it. Just plead out.' It was a scare factor. But I felt like she was misleading me."
The public defender wasn't the only one. Love was told that the man she struck with her car had his leg amputated as a direct result of the incident. Once Clinical Professor of Law at the Chicago-Kent College of Law Daniel T. Coyne took Love's case in late 2014, it became clear through medical records that the amputation was voluntary.
"I was being lied to the whole time," Love said. "My public defender was saying that I did something I didn't do and all this time I was sitting here fighting for my life. When I got Dan, I never doubted him."
Ultimately, Coyne secured her freedom. Looking back from that long dark tunnel, Love has taken some hard lessons from her ordeal.
"This could have been something that could have been swept under the rug," she said. "I want to let other girls know that if there's anything you are doing, be careful. You never know what may happen."
Iowa, Georgia ban medical treatment for trans minors 2023-03-24 Two more states have enacted laws that prohibit medical treatment for transgender minors. On March 22, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law that affect transgender minors in the state, NBC News reported. Senate ...
Utah bans conversion therapy 2023-03-23 On March 22, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill that bans licensed professionals from practicing conversion therapythe discredited practice that attempts to turn LGBTQ+ people heterosexualon minors, Q ...
Uganda bans people from identifying as LGBTQ+ 2023-03-22 On March 21, Uganda's parliament passed a law making it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+, Reuters reported. The development hands authorities broad powers to target LGBTQ+ Ugandans who already face legal discrimination and mob violence. In ...
HRC settles race-based lawsuit with former president 2023-03-16 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and its Black former president, Alphonso David, settled a lawsuit in which David had alleged racial discrimination in his firing, Reuters reported. In September 2021, David was fired after New York state ...
Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill 2023-03-15 Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...
Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).
The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.