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

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

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

New Book Announcement: “The Meaning of Matthew” by Judy Shepard

Meaning of MatthewThe Matthew Shepard Foundation, http://www.matthewshepard.org, announces the publication of a new book on Matthew Shepard authored by his mother, Judy Shepard: The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. From the book announcement letter:

“Today, the name Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but before his grisly murder in 1998, Matthew was simply Judy Shepard’s son. For the first time in book form, Judy Shepard speaks about her loss, sharing memories of Matthew, their life as a typical American family, and the pivotal event in the small college town that changed everything.

“The Meaning of Matthew follows the Shepard family in the days immediately after the crime, when Judy and her husband traveled to see their incapacitated son, kept alive by life support machines; how the Shepards learned of the incredible response from strangers all across America who held candlelit vigils and memorial services for their child; and finally, how they struggled to navigate the legal system as Matthew’s murderers were on trial. Heart-wrenchingly honest, Judy Shepard confides with readers about how she handled the crippling loss of her child, why she became a gay rights activist, and the challenges and rewards of raising a gay child in America today.

“The Meaning of Matthew not only captures the historical significance and complicated civil rights issues surrounding one young man’s life and death, but it also chronicles one ordinary woman’s struggle to cope with the unthinkable.”

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.  This is a landmark book not to be missed by supporters of the Unfinished Lives Project.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Book excerpts, gay men, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Legislation, Matthew Shepard Act, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Wyoming | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Book Announcement: “The Meaning of Matthew” by Judy Shepard

Ten Years Later: Remembering Matthew Shepard


Matthew Wayne Shepard
December 1, 1976 — October 12, 1998


Sunday, October 12 marks the tenth anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death. In honor of this important day, I offer an excerpt of a chapter in my forthcoming book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBT Hate Crimes Murder Victims. The chapter is entitled, “The Second Death of Matthew Shepard.”


~ ~ ~


Another Mother’s Day came and went. Another Father’s Day, too. Matt Shepard’s chair is empty in the Shepard home in Casper, Wyoming: no card from him, or roses for his mom; no tie or set of slippers for his dad–for over ten years. His parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, and his younger brother, Logan, miss him everyday.

At the center of advocacy for LGBT freedom remains the enigmatic memory of the young, blond man trussed to a buck fence in Laramie, Wyoming. He has become the symbol for the hurts and hopes of lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, and transgender folk, both here and abroad. Curiosity or outrage at what happened to him usually begins the change in heart and attitude about hate crimes for the millions who hear his story. That alone is reason enough to tell and retell Matt’s story, and the stories of so many other LGBT people who have died so brutally. But are we any closer to understanding the real person, or is that person locked away behind the closed door of a decade of myth-making and amnesia? For most Americans, other than his family and his closest friends, the only way we come to know him is through the veil of the savagery that cut his life short. He suffered the dying, but we deal with the effects of his death.

There may be no way to recover who Matt Shepard was: the complicated young man who comes to life when his mother talks about his passionate opinions, his flashing temper, his generosity to a fault, his love of politics, his hopes of becoming a human rights advocate… and, we must add, his disturbing naïveté. The person he might have been is long gone. Like Beth Loffreda says, what we have left is the “whiplash” of his memory, haunting Laramie and haunting us, luring and stinging the conscience of our violent American society. Forgetfulness seems not to work. We can neither forget him, nor should we. In telling and retelling how his life ended lies the hope that a grace of transformation may seize us. Justice may yet be done, and hatred may change gradually into acceptance: of LGBT people by others and by themselves, of those who strike out against persons they fear and do not understand, and ultimately, of the need to grant each other room to live and let live.

Rest in peace, brother. We who survive you cannot, yet. We have much work to do.

Stephen V. Sprinkle
The Unfinished Lives Project

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Book excerpts, gay men, Remembrances, Wyoming | , , , | 2 Comments


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