Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Remembering Our Dead During the Holidays

Lawrence Fobes "Larry" King, one of our ancestors who received a measure of justice in 2011.

2011 was a year to remember.  The stories of the LGBTQ sisters and brothers who have died among us are windows through which we can see into our own souls.  Our ancestors are our teachers, if we will let them be.  At some point, I cannot pinpoint exactly when, I made the choice to still my powerful emotions around the murders of LGBTQ people, and let their stories teach me what it means to be alive.  That choice is one of the most important I have every made, and one of the most fruitful.  The book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims, was truly born in that moment.  Though I never met a one of the persons whose stories I tell in my book, they are very close to me–not in a morbid sense, at all.  I believe I can understand why so many gay folk would rather not remember how quickly our lives can be snuffed out.  But a truly community-shaping insight the dead have given me is that only the choice not to remember is morbid.  Re-telling the stories of those who have died among us because of who they were, gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, gives our community a new sense of how precious each life is, and a new resolve to be a justice-oriented people who treasure every moment we are given.

2011 is full of such memories for the LGBTQ community.  So many have faced terrible persecution, just to love whom they choose, just to live as they were created to live. We remember the young–so many of them–who found life too much to bear in a homophobic, bullying world.  We remember the transgender sisters, especially, who faced injustice everywhere they turned, and for whom living daily is an act of uncommon courage.  We remember the families, the lovers, the neighbors, the friends–and the killers, too.  Change comes at a glacial pace…so slowly.  But it comes.

Our dead have only died in vain if we refuse to remember and honor them.  Like the Mexican people know who treasure their dead on the Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, death is a stark reality however it comes.  But our friends south of the border also know how to tease death, argue with it, make fun of it, create works of art, song and dance out of it, and how to transcend the fear of death by gathering together to remember and cherish those who have died.  The LGBTQ community is learning how to do that, as well.  In Houston, Texas, right off of the Montrose, a memorial to LGBTQ people who have died has been created and dedicated this very year.  Everywhere I have gone this year to talk with people, more and more are finding the healing empowerment of remembrance.  Around the memories of our dead, extraordinary communities of strength, advocacy, and love have arisen.  These are all such good things, and they all have come about as gifts from our ancestors who have died among us.

We cannot, will not forget our fallen ancestors.  In their memories lies the key to becoming a true people of maturity, gratitude, justice, and hope.  That is the true fruit of remembrance for the LGBTQ community.  So, we who believe in justice cannot rest.  We honor and educate.  We recall, re-tell, and remember.  We push for justice, and then we push some more.  Our ancestors expect us to do no less.  And we, in their memories, can do no less.

Happy Holidays, however you celebrate them in your homes, from the Unfinished Lives Project Team.  We give thanks for each of you!  ~ Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, Founder and Director of the Unfinished Lives Project

December 23, 2011 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, LGBTQ, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Special Comments | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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