I n , when Calvin Burdine was awaiting sentencing for allegedly stabbing his gay lover to death, the prosecuting attorney encouraged the jury in his closing remarks to award Burdine the death penalty, rather than life in prison, on the grounds that sending a gay man to prison was akin to sending a kid to a candy store. After 17 minutes of deliberation, the jury obliged and sentenced Burdine to die. His death sentence was later overturned mostly because Burdine's public defender had slept through much of his trial , but the homophobic thinking — that prison is some kind of paradise for gay men — lingers on. The reality of life in prison for homosexuals and transgender individuals does not appear to reflect this myth. One young man named Rodney, imprisoned for fraud and check-forging, sent me a detailed account of his life so far in prison.