Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Unfinished Lives on OutCast Austin

Our Project Director Stephen V. Sprinkle was on last night’s OutCast Radio talk show on the book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims.

Click on this link to listen to Sprinkle’s interview on Outcast Austin. Steve say’s that he had a wonderful time being on the program. (The Interview starts about 6:00 minutes in).

March 31, 2011 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, Book excerpts, gay men, Gay-Straight Alliances, gender identity/expression, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Matthew Shepard, Matthew Shepard Act, Matthew Shepard Foundation, Media Issues, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Unfinished Lives Book Signings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Unfinished Lives on OutCast Austin

Family of Bullying Victim Sues Joshua (TX) ISD

Jon Carmichael, 13-year-old bullying victim who was told "No one cares if you live or die."

Joshua, Texas – A year after their 13 year-old son, Jon Carmichael, succumbed to bullying and hanged himself in his family’s barn, Jon’s parents are suing the Joshua Independent School District in federal court.  According to the Dallas Voice, the suit contends that R.C. Loflin Middle School officials covered up months of cruel bullying victimizing their son, targeting the youth because he was smaller than his classmates, and was perceived to be weak.  The bullying Jon suffered got so far out of hand that just before he took his own life, he was forced to strip naked, was tied up, and was then crammed into a trash can. The attack was video taped, and put up on YouTube, but a school official ordered it to be taken down, and did not report the brutal bullying attack to anyone else, according to the allegations in the lawsuit. Other incidents included Jon being being tossed into a dumpster.  On the day Jon took his life, the lawsuit alleges that he told a female classmate he was going home to kill himself, and she responded by saying that he should go ahead and do it, since no one cared whether he lived or died.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the complaintants’ attorney, Martin Cirkiel of Round Rock, accuses the school system of more than neglecting to enforce school policies like never leaving children unsupervised in gym class, but of “an actual practice and custom of looking the other way.” The suit is asking for damages compensation for young Carmichael’s estate and heirs.  The Superintendent of the Joshua School District said that he would not comment on the suit, since he had not had the chance to read it yet.  Carmichael’s family were among the many who converged on Austin last week to call upon the Legislature for a comprehensive state law banning bullying in Texas schools.  Joshua is a town of 4,500 near Cleburne, Texas, south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  The Joshua Independent School District has eight campuses, one of which is the Loflin Middle School.

March 29, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Blame the victim, Bullying in schools, Hanging, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Legislation, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unfinished Lives Book Tour Stop @ Barton College

Barton College - Logo

Barton College

The book tour is now scheduled to visit Barton College in Wilson, NC on Monday, April 11 from 4 – 5 pm in on campus at the Regan Writing Center. Dr. Joe Jones is primary host for a short lecture and the book signing. Many thanks to Rev. Phil Jones for all his help in working this out, too! Click Here For More Info.

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Book Tour, North Carolina | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Unfinished Lives Book Tour Stop @ Barton College

Two Transgender Murders Bespeak Crisis of Violence

Marcal Camero Tye, 25, hate crime victim

Forrest City, Arkansas and Baltimore, Maryland – The brutal murders of two transgender women of color within the last month indicate the epidemic nature of transphobic and racist violence against the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community.  No suspects have been identified yet in the murder of Tyra Trent, 25, who was found asphyxiated in a vacant building owned by the city in Baltimore on February 19.  Ms. Trent had been reported missing days before the discovery of her body.  Marcal Camero Tye, also 25, was murdered by dragging behind a vehicle for several hundred feet in Forrest City, Arkansas on March 8. The FBI has begun an investigation into the grisly murder of Ms. Tye, since Arkansas has not statute on the books protecting transgender people. No witnesses have come forward, and no suspects are being investigated in the Tye case as of yet.  Transgender activists have filled the cyberworld with posts and articles about the two women, since regional and national media routinely ignore such stories, and the African American and LGBTQ press seem not to be much better when it comes to reporting these terrible acts of violence.  Media chronically use male pronouns when referring to these women who gave so much in order to live life as they were born to be. Statements like “a man in a dress” sensationalize and demean the victims over and over again, even following their murders–thereby re-victimizing the victims. By definition, these murders are hate crimes perpetrated against a class of human beings who have remarkable hurdles to surmount in society.  It is amazing to us at Unfinished Lives that Ms. Tye could live as a transgender woman in small town Arkansas.  Ms. Trent faced similar problems in big town life.  Local law enforcement authorities are reluctant to launch hate-crime investigations because of internalized bias against transgender persons.  In the case of Ms. Tye, Arkansas LGBTQ activists were infuriated when Francis County Sheriff Bobby May asserted that her murder was a usual homicide and that the dragging death reports of he demise were “misleading.”  The Little Rock-based Center for Artistic Revolution has issued statements of alarm and support for Ms. Tye since the initial reports of her slaying. As EDGE Boston reports: “The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ most recent report on anti-LGBT hate violence also indicated disproportionately high levels of anti-trans violence. Trans women-many of whom were of color-comprised half of the 22 reported anti-LGBT murders in 2009.” The situation has reached epidemic proportions across the nation.  These two savage killings underscore the need for LGBTQ and racial/ethnic minority advocates to amplify the cries of the transgender community.  The killings must stop.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Arkansas, Asphixiation, Blame the victim, Character assassination, Dragging murders, FBI, gender identity/expression, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Legislation, Maryland, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, Social Justice Advocacy, Strangulation, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Two Transgender Murders Bespeak Crisis of Violence

Unfinished Lives Book Debuts in DC and Dallas

Interfaith Peace Chapel on the Campus of Cathedral of Hope, Dallas, Texas

Washington DC – Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims, made its debut at the annual meeting of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy this past Friday. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle will kick off a series of book signing events nationally, beginning with a lecture, panel discussion, book signing and reception at the Interfaith Peace Chapel on the campus of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas, next Sunday, March 27. The Cathedral of Hope, a congregation of the United Church of Christ, is the world’s largest LGBTQ-predominant faith community. Members of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, meeting at the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, received the book with enthusiasm. Dr. Sprinkle was a guest at the 19th Annual Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Dinner, held at the National Building Museum on F Street. A stellar gathering of LGBTQ heroes and their allies celebrated the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and honored two mothers of gay servicemembers who were murdered because of their sexual orientation. Dorothy Hajdys-Clausen of Chicago Heights, Illinois, the mother of slain sailor Allen R. Schindler, and Pat Kuteles of Kansas City, Missouri, mother of murdered soldier Barry Winchell, were given a standing ovation.  A chapter on Schindler, “Hell to Pay on the Belleau Wood,” is in Unfinished Lives, and Winchell has been featured in this blog repeatedly. A panel discussion is planned for the March 27th book signing event at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in response to a short lecture by Dr. Sprinkle.  Dr. Keri Day, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of Brite Divinity School’s Black Church Studies Program, Pastor Alex Byrd of Living Faith Covenant Church of Dallas, and Colonel Paul Dodd, U.S. Army  Chaplain (Ret) of Austin will be on the panel. The event is scheduled from 3:30 until 5:30 pm.  Dr. Sprinkle will be signing his book following the 9 am and the 11 am services at the Cathedral that morning in the Sources of Hope Bookstore. Cathedral of Hope is located at 5910 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas. For more information about the book signings on Sunday, March 27, contact Sue Schrader at sschrader@cathedralofhope.com, or Brian Parman at bparman@cathedralofhope.com.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Cathedral of Hope, Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, Illinois, Lesbian women, military, Military Chaplaincy, Missouri, Remembrances, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Unfinished Lives Book Signings, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Unfinished Lives Book Debuts in DC and Dallas

Unfinished Lives 2011 Book Tour Comes to North Carolina

Duke University Chapel

DURHAM – Dr. Sprinkle is scheduled to appear at Duke University in Durham on Tuesday, April 12, at the Cokesbury Book Store, 12 noon till 2 p.m. outside the refectory at the Divinity School, for his signing books. Rebecca Turner, Cokesbury‘s manager can be reached at rturner@cokesbury.com for details.

WILMINGTON – The appearance and book signing in Wilmington is Sunday, April 10, 2011 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. at Two Sisters Bookery in downtown Wilmington. Brooks Preik, (one of the stores owners) can be reached at bpreik@att.net. Dr. Sprinkle is also preaching that morning at St. Jude‘s Metropolitan Community Church on 19 North 26th Street, Wilmington, 28405 for both the 9 AM and 11 AM services. For more information, contact Rev. John A. McLaughlin at stjudes@bellsouth.net, or 910/762-5833.

RALEIGH – Dr. Steve Sprinkle will be speaking in Raleigh at a noon-brown-bag lunch event in Talley Student Center on the campus of NC State Univ., Monday, April 11, 2011 from 12:00–1:15 pm. He will sign books from 1:15-1:45 pm. Justine Hollingshead, Director of the GLBT Center at NC State is our contact person for this event. The public is invited. Continue reading

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Bisexual persons, Book excerpts, Book Tour, Endorsements, gay men, Gay-Straight Alliances, gender identity/expression, Lesbian women, Media Issues, North Carolina, transgender persons, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Unfinished Lives 2011 Book Tour Comes to North Carolina

Brooklyn Man Brutally Gay Bashed

Williamsburg native, Barie Shortell, the day of the attack

Brooklyn, New York – Barie Shortell, 29, was beaten savagely by a gang of six teens who thought he was gay.  On February 22, Shortell walked past the hooded teens in the Williamsburg neighborhood who insulted and hurled anti-gay epithets at him.  At about 10:10 PM, Shortell told The Brooklyn Paper, one of the youths yelled, “Oh, shit, is that a guy or a girl?” Shortell let the insult pass, thinking it “juvenile,” but the gang pursued him as he tried to cross Wythe Avenue, slamming him into a wall and then pummeling him on the sidewalk with such force that it shattered his nose, his eye sockets, and broke his jaw in several places. Shortell thankfully has no recollection of the moments of the assault. He was sure, however, of the motive for the attack. “I feel pretty confident they perceived me as a gay man and attacked me, but I can’t understand why they did what they did,” he said to The Brooklyn Paper. “I looked horrible. Blood was everywhere.” Shortell was rushed to Woodhull Hospital where surgeons worked for better than ten hours to reset his jaw and insert three metal plates into his face and head. A spokesperson for the hospital told reporters that the force of impact the injuries represented was equivalent to a car wreck. At first, police dismissed the hate crime aspect of the case. Pressure from the New York Anti-Violence Program made them reconsider. Now the case is being investigated as an anti-gay hate crime, though there have still been no arrests made as of March 17.  The costs of Shortell’s surgery has mounted to over $100,000, so friends have organized a benefit to raise money for him next week on March 23.  Calling the event “Gay Bash: A Benefit for Barie Shortell,” the organizers are asking $35.00 admission to the Blackout Bar, 916 Manhattan Avenue at Kent Street in Greenpoint. Doors open at 7 PM.

March 20, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Brooklyn, Gang violence, gay bashing, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, New York, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Suspect 3rd Century Women Put to Death in Arena: Ancient Hate Crime?

Carthage, North Africa Province – Roman authorities ordered the public execution of a young Roman noblewoman and a female slave in the arena of Carthage on this date, March 7, 203 CE (Common Era). Vibia Perpetua, 22, a young mother, and Felicitas, a slave of like age who was also a young mother, both North African Christians, joined their male counterparts as victims in what legitimately might be called a state-sanctioned hate crime for refusing to swear allegiance to the Emperor, Septimius Severus.  Suspicion about the sexual orientation of the women has swirled around the story for centuries. Was the tie that bound these young women together faith alone, or was it something more?  Perpetua, one of the first Christian women in history to author an account of her own life, wrote a “Prison Diary” that was edited after her execution by an anonymous narrator who opens with an short introduction and closes with what appears to be an eye-witness account of the life-and-death drama that took place in the amphitheater of Carthage. Nothing explicit is written concerning the possible desire of the two young women for each other in the account, entitled “The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity.” But the lasting impression among gays and lesbians for the last two hundred years is that these North African Christian women were bound to each other with a mutuality that seems particularly “woman-centered” even for the outlawed early Christian communities of the late second and early third centuries, not to mention the strictly hierarchical and socially stratified world of the Roman provinces. Perpetua had given birth to a baby shortly before her condemnation, and Felicity who joined her in prison gave birth right on the eve of the execution. The motherhood of the women has been used to counter the suspicion of lesbianism or bisexuality, but as Yale gay historian John Boswell writes, “A young woman’s marriage in second- or third-century Rome did not necessarily indicate anything about the direction of her affections.” Others have argued that the Christian mission of the women made them comrades in martyrdom as they died for their faith, in refutation of any suggestion of lesbian affection between them. Mary Rose D’Angelo refuses this objection in her famous essay on women partners in the New Testament: “In the early Christian pairs, it is the women’s participation in the Christian mission that takes the foreground.  But that should not obscure the recognition that their commitment to the mission can also be seen as the commitment to each other.” The witness-narrator of the execution watched as a crazed, wild heifer, especially chosen for its gender to shame the young women, was unleashed to gore them. The mad cow tossed Perpetua, ripping her dress.  The cow then crushed Felicity to the ground before losing interest in the victims. There was nothing un-Roman about a young noblewoman reaching out her hand to help a slave up, as the narrator reports Perpetua does.  But then something most un-Roman takes place.  The Latin text (20.7) reads: Et ambae pariter steterunt, “And they both stood there together.” It is not only that these young women stood together, but that they did so when they were not expected to do so. Carolyn Osiek, the New Testament scholar from Brite Divinity School, writes of this dramatic moment: “But perhaps the author knew more than we suspect and was telling of a solidarity that had grown between the two women of unequal social status, who stood together as equals facing death.” In this moment of surprise, the curtain of nearly two thousand years is parted for an instant. Elizabeth Castelli writes that there are “moments of slippage, spaces where the self-evidency of gender conventions and relationships for which they were foundational might have been thought otherwise.” This surprising moment is one of them, when a coating of eroticism thinly glosses over two standing together, social unequals, equally facing death side-by-side. Perpetua and Felicity stand at the head of a long line of transgressive women who suffered gender hatred, suspect because of sexual outlaw status. At the very heart of Christian witness, two young women whose affection for each other was forged in a Roman prison hold onto love in the face of state-sanctioned hate crime.  For this, we honor them.

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Africa, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Bisexual persons, Carthage, Execution, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Lesbian women, Martyrdom as State-Sanctioned Hate Crime, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Perpetua and Felicity, Public Theology, religious intolerance, Remembrances, Roman North Africa, Special Comments, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Suspect 3rd Century Women Put to Death in Arena: Ancient Hate Crime?

Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, Eminent Gay Theologian, Dies at 68

(Fred Field/Harvard News Office photo)

Plymouth, Massachusetts – One of America’s best-known preachers and theologians, and arguably the most famous out gay scholar in the nation, Peter J. Gomes died February 28 of a brain aneurysm and heart attack. He was 68 years old. For three and a half decades, Gomes was a member of the faculty of Harvard Divinity School, and served as Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church as well as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. A New York Times Bestselling Author, Gomes will be remembered as the person who put the Bible’s teachings within reach of an intelligent, progressive secular audience with his widely acclaimed book, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (HarperOne: 2002). The son of a Cape Verdean father and a Bostonian mother, Gomes graduated from Bates College in 1965 and Harvard Divinity School in 1968. As he rose to prominence in Harvard, African Americans rejoiced to have a scholar and preacher so well situated in the academy.  In recognition of the role he fulfilled in American black life, Henry Louis Gates featured Gomes in the Public Broadcasting System documentary,African American Lives 2. A life-long Republican until 2006 (having offered prayers at the inaugurations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan), Gomes became a registered Democrat in order to vote for Deval Patrick, the first African American Governor in Massachusetts history. In 1991, Gomes shocked the public by coming out openly as a gay man during a campus controversy over homosexuality–a story he tells eloquently inThe Good Book. Upon announcing his sexual orientation in order to support Harvard gay and lesbian students, Gomes was targeted by a hail of criticism.  His defense of himself was forceful, measured, and laser-sharp: “Many of my critics, chiefly from within the religious community, asked if I read the same Bible they did, and if I did, how then could I possibly reconcile my position with that of scripture?  When arguments failed, anathemas were hurled and damnations promised.  The whole incident confirmed what had long been my suspicion.  Fear was at the heart of homophobia, as it was at the heart of racism, and as with racism,religion—particularly the Protestant evangelical kind that had nourished me—was the moral fig leaf that covered naked prejudice” [The Good Book, p. 166]. Throughout the rest of his life, Gomes combatted fear and advocated for the equality of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Among his other New York Times Bestselling books are The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need (2003), and most recently The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News? (2007). Gomes suffered a stroke in December 2010, and was recently transferred to a rehabilitation center in his beloved hometown of Plymouth. News reports suggested that he was planning to return to Harvard this spring, and fulfill his career until his announced retirement in 2012. As the Harvard Crimson says, “He maintained a tremendous presence at Harvard as well as around the country.” More particularly for the LGBTQ community, Professor Gomes’s voice of faithful sanity and his incarnated presence as a person who was both black and gay will be sorely missed. Ave atque vale, Professor Gomes!  “Hail and fare you well!”

March 1, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Book excerpts, gay men, Harvard University, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Massachusetts, Peter J. Gomes "The Good Book", Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, Eminent Gay Theologian, Dies at 68

   

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: