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Home / Articles / News / Interviews /  Pride in Prison
MarkReye1-l

Pride in Prison

With Mark Reyes

August 12, 2009, 12:00 am

Inmate No. 44521 doesn’t want to be Mark Reyes anymore. The 35-year-old prisoner at Penitentiary of New Mexico has filed a petition to change his name to Monica Meshica Wolf Tenocha, which he says better represents his identity as an Aztec high Satanic priest and an individual coping with gender dysphoria. Reyes is currently serving a 22-year sentence for attempted murder in Roswell. He is currently housed in Level 5 maximum security, which means he can’t work to save up to pay for the legal advertisement to complete the name change.

SFR: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about why you want to change your name?
MR: The name is my original Aztec name. I’ve had this name my entire life. It translates to ‘Standing Mountain Warrior Wolf of the People of Tenocha.’ I was named Mark Reyes at birth by my mom. My mom wasn’t raised like us and carries a white religion. My name, Mark Reyes, is offensive. My people were slaughtered by Spanish people. A Spanish last name and a Jewish first name, that’s like naming a black person Adolf Hitler. You know what I mean? It’s awful. I hate that name.

So, you want your security level reduced so you can go to another facility and make money for your name change?
That and so I can be transferred to Roswell, where I’ll have access to my legal files. Also I’m losing my mind here, sitting in a cell 24 hours a day, and I can’t do nothing about it. I have a strong mind and I’m a strong person, but it makes you crazy. You think crazy thoughts; you start wanting to do bad things to people. It’s against my religion to commit suicide but, if it wasn’t, I’ll tell you right now I would’ve already killed myself. I’m sincere about my religion.

What does it mean to be an Aztec high Satanic priest?
The Satanic religion and the Toltecayotl religion of the Aztecs is the exact same thing, only they have different names for the gods. I’m a master of rituals and ceremonies, and I was pretty much brought up this way.

How do you attempt to practice it behind bars?
I can’t. The prison doesn’t let me practice either my heritage or my Satanic religion. They even try to make me separate the two and say I can only claim one or the other. But my whole life I’ve taught Aztec Satanism.

Can you explain your gender identity to me?
Two-spirit in Native American culture can pretty much refer to either a person that is bisexual or a person who is gay or a person that has gender dysphoria. That means I consider myself a female. I identify as female. I can’t take medications for it. There’s no counseling for it. There’s no way to convince yourself to think any other way.

If you were out now and you had the resources, would you be interested in transitioning?
I wouldn’t have a sex change because that’s considered mutilating myself in my religion. If I could get a job that would allow me to pay for hormone therapy, I would do that.

How does identifying as female change the dynamic for an inmate in a male prison?
It doesn’t because I don’t go disclosing that to people. I’m not ashamed of it or nothing, but I don’t have sex with people in here. I don’t dress like that in here, I don’t talk like that in here. All anyone knows about me in here is that I’m Aztec and I’m a Satanic priest.

Do you have an ultimate dream about what you’d like your life to be like?
When I get out, the only thing I plan on doing is working. I’m gonna probably live at my aunt’s house for the first six months to a year and just pay a small portion of the rent and save up for things I need: a copier, laser printer, fax machine and a computer, so I can run my own home business. I’ll be marketing my writing and my books and selling my songs over the internet. But, when I get out, I won’t have a chance to stay out there if I’m still going by my old name.

 

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