Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Remembering Barry Winchell

Barry Winchell horizontal

Today marks the ninth anniversary of the death of hate crime victim Barry Winchell. He served in the United States Army and held the rank of Private First Class. Following a period of ongoing harassment directed at Winchell for having dated a transsexual showgirl, fellow soldier Calvin Glover used a baseball bat to bludgeon Winchell as he slept on a cot in the barracks of Fort Campbell. Winchell died of massive head injuries the following day.

Winchell’s brutal murder prompted President Bill Clinton to review the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy, which many cite as a factor in the hate crime.

Today we remember Barry Winchell, and in our memory we restore to him the dignity and respect belonging to every person, regardless of sexual orientation.

July 6, 2008 - Posted by | Anglo Americans, Bludgeoning, Don't Tell (DADT), gay men, harassment, Kentucky, military, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Remembrances, U.S. Army | , , , , , , , ,


  1. this was my uncle. he got killed when i was 7 in 1999.
    now i can never see him again until i’m in heaven with him.
    i love you uncle bear

    Comment by ashley | November 6, 2008

    • ashley im sorry about your uncle, i hope that someday you will find peace in your heart, i know you must miss your uncle. what happened to him was very cruel he seemed like a nice gentle young man. may he rest in peace

      Comment by patty | May 15, 2009

  2. […] in the story, Calpernia Addams, was propelled into transgender activism by the events. A brief tribute to Pfc. Barry Winchell is online at Unfinished Lives, an ongoing project of Rev. Stephen V. Sprinkle and Brite Divinity […]

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  3. […] Winchell, who had been singled out for anti-gay ridicule by his barracks mates at Fort Campbell, was bludgeoned to death in 1999 by a fellow soldier wielding a baseball bat at his head and body while he was asleep.  Ironically, he was killed after an Independence Day celebration on base.  His hate crime murder and trial exposed one of the most notorious cover-ups of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) era.  His parents and SLDN contend that the Army betrayed him by violating its own DADT policies, failing to follow the best traditions of the Army in order to shield the chain of command, and exposing other gay soldiers to danger and dishonorable discharge.  The anti-gay climate of Fort Campbell was never sufficiently addressed in the wake of Winchell’s killing, and the base commander, General Robert T. Clark, was promoted despite the protests of SLDN and other LGBT advocacy organizations around the country.  His killer is serving a life sentence for Winchell’s murder in a federal military prison facility.   […]

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  4. I knew Barry and spent some time with him when he stationed in Kentucky. I was trying to locate an email for his mother, Pat. Do you know how I can contact her? Thanx

    Comment by William | May 31, 2009

    • Dear William,

      I do not have the email you seek. You might try SLDN.

      Unfinished Lives

      Comment by unfinishedlives | June 1, 2009

  5. Greetings, my name is Kevin and currently I am doing a class project on researching hate crimes. I am researching PFC Winchell because I wanted to search for any hate crimes in the military since I am going into service. I wanted to understand how…(Sorry I can not seem to find the right words to use). I just want more information on PFC Winchell so I can give an effective presentation to my class about how serious this problem is in our military.

    -thank you
    (please feel free to contact me if you wish ryukt226@yahoo)

    Comment by Kevin | March 3, 2010

    • Hi, rykt226,

      The best source I can think of outside PFC Winchell’s family is the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), headquartered in DC. Google them for the email address and phone. They have assisted Barry’s mother and stepfather for years with legal assistance, and first pushed the officials at Fort Campbell to admit there was an actual hate crime on base. Barry’s love, Calpurnia Addams, is online, too. She is in California pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, last I knew.

      Best wishes,


      Comment by unfinishedlives | March 4, 2010

  6. This story saddens me, I watched the movie this past weekend and it brought me to tears….it was so touching and sad at the same time…..touching as to what an amazing man Barry seemed to be and the loved him and Calpernia had for one another. I can not believe anyone would kill someone because of their sexual orientation…..I feel pitty for the guys that committed this crime and I just wish crimes like this were nonexistent. I live in Kansas City and will be going to see Barry’s grave on July 6th…..If his family ever reads this I am very sorry for your loss, your son seemed to be amazing….

    Comment by Melanie | May 25, 2010

  7. I visted Barry’s grave on Sunday July 4th…wish those cowards would not have done what they did. Everytime I think about it it saddens me and makes me so mad….and to think one got out of prison already and is enjoying life? what is with our justice system?!

    Comment by Melanie | July 6, 2010

  8. […] Seaman Allen Schindler was beaten to death by shipmates in a public toilet in Sasebo, Japan. PFC Barry Winchell was murdered with a baseball bat in the Army barracks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Seaman August […]

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  9. He looks so dear. I just saw Soldier’s Girl last night. My heart is broken for Barry. I think Troy Garity did a very good job making me like him. Barry just followed his heart being a soldier and being with Calpernia. He didnt hurt anybody and still this happened to him. I want to do something for him and his memory. I hope Justin Fishers life is ruined (which it probably is after six years in jail and being the drunk bum he is) and that Calvin Glover serve on the better side of 25 years. At least. RIP Barry, hope you are in a better place.

    Comment by Chris | January 20, 2011

  10. the murderess still in jail?

    Comment by Meganlee Rivera | June 19, 2011

  11. It is sick that Fisher got off so easy. I think he was the main one who killed Winchell. Glover was just a weapon. I think Fisher did it because he was gay and he was jealous of Winchell because Winchell accepted his own homosexuality while Fisher was too much of a coward to come out of the closet. Barry Winchell probably could ahve made the world a better place but he was brutally murdered just because he was gay. It is so sad that someone’s sexual orientation could cost them their life. All gay soldiers should look to Winchell for inspiration. Not just soldiers but everybody. It was brave of him to take such a huge risk for love and be with Calpernia Adams even though he knew homophobes would persecute him for not being heterosexual. I hope all gay men can be this brave. Winchell wasn’t the only gay soldier to suffer for his sexuality, but this is one of the saddest stories.

    Comment by glitterboy | February 28, 2012

  12. It wasn’t about a deliberate thought to be brave. The point here was that Barry Winchell was murdered because he had a capacity to love (which is LOST on so many people Gay or Straight). I don’t think that he would have wanted to be the poster boy for the GLT movement because it wasn’t about that for Calpernia and Barry. Even Calpernia’s story was lost in this as she was just as much of a living victim as Barry is another soul who was not able presently, to freely love as he chose. This is not a “free” country. Being “free” has always had a damned price. It’s no different to being black or whatever, this country is so faked up with it’s “tears” for things that they do not understand. Barry’s death was BECAUSE he was able to love and wasn’t so insecure about it. This couple wanted to be an average couple with out being thrusted into the show pen in this way. Calpernia was only humiliated again as she was paled in the background once again. The media and every organization turned this into a political statement because they were against Clinton in the first place. If Clinton had any other policy that “failed” THEN that would have been the focal point of that year (the same as what they are dong to Obama). Folks are nothing more than pirranah’s after their next bite and if I were Calpernia, I wouldn’t trust anyone ever again. Barry more than likely would have married Calpernia and they would not have wanted their love to be the catalpult that this has been for so many careers and tons of money for organizations. It’s wrong to view them in any other way. But as I am sure as Christ rose from the tombs that NO one will understand a thing that I am saying here. At the end of the day, the entire parade is BS and no one truly cares about the real humans who are left behind of this sick horror. Those who love Barry live with this loss every single day.

    Comment by Trinity Nelson | August 15, 2012

  13. I’ve just watch the movie after 10 years, but Barry Winchell story brings a huge impact on my life in every level particularly in accepting myself as a Moslem gay and of Asian origin. I was crying over and over again at the end of the movie, and even at this moment. Why can’t we just be our own self?. There are more stories of a brave gay,lesbian, Tran sexual and Bisexual around the globe but this one has it’s own story to tell….and it inspired me to be strong, to be brave and to be true about my colors.God is not judging me like those homophobic toxic peoples do,Love is from God, and to be embrace it no matter who you are. There are saying, is God made mistake that we fall in love with the same gender? but as we know that God is never mistake….So don’t judge us being GLBT!
    This is the saddest story of being who you really about and to be true to yourself. My heart goes to Mr. Winchell’s parents, friends and off course Miss Calpernia Addams.May his soul rest in peace…and may his story and love inspire us for the longest time to come……

    Comment by Leam Alexe | April 17, 2013

  14. I just can’t stop crying, this is so sad for me I’m a transsexual woman, married , I love my husband, and I’m sure calpernia love him , things like that never can happen, he was young man, I wish he’s murder stay in jail for the rest of he’s live. Stop hate people , we are humans , we love like everyone in this world, love you barry and I love you calpernia.

    Comment by Kally | September 20, 2013

  15. Good soldier

    Comment by Joshua Ledesma | June 23, 2014

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