Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Trans Woman Savagely Attacked in Atlanta’s Little Five Points; Details Still Emerging

Video capture of stomping attack on trans woman in Atlanta.  GA Voice image.

Video capture of stomping attack on trans woman in Atlanta. GA Voice image.

Little Five Points, Atlanta, Georgia – A trans woman yet to be identified was brutally stomped in an attack following a verbal engagement with a group of men in the Little Five Points section of Atlanta.  GA Voice reported the attack after videos appeared showing a shouting match between the trans woman and her unidentified attacker.  The video shows the explicit moment as the attacker, a much larger man than his victim, stomps on her repeatedly.  The extent of the victim’s injuries is unknown, but must have been severe.

Atlanta transgender people are on edge ever since two trans women were assaulted on the MARTA in May of this year. Two men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in the wake of that crime.  Now that another trans woman has been targeted for violence, the Atlanta transgender and social advocacy communities are up in arms.  Most disturbing to the trans community is that bystanders in both assaults did nothing to help.  Cheryl Courtney-Evans, founder of Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth (TILTT) told GA Voice, “If this person is not in the hospital, I don’t know why the Atlanta Police don’t know about it—she should have reported it. I’m sickened by the fact that people were once again standing around doing nothing, when this waste of DNA should have been detained and locked up for assault. As a community, transgender individuals are just tired of having to fear and worry about our safety at any given moment that we leave our homes,” she said. “While we understand that the LGB community has the same worry, we also know that they have reached a point in society where it is not so prevalent or common. Transgenders, on the other hand, particularly MTFs, must worry about ‘passing’ or they become instant possible targets for verbal or physical abuse.”

Jeff Graham, executive director for Georgia Equality, said, “That’s another horrific attack against a transgender or gender variant person. I hope that the person who has been attacked comes forward so that the police can fully investigate. It is also time to address the overall violence that transgender people live with every day through increased public education and enforcement of the policies that the city of Atlanta has put in place.”

Since the attack, the videographer who captured the brutal stomping and put it up on YouTube has said that the incident had nothing to do with transphobia.  Though the investigation is still proceeding, it is hard to believe that the victim’s gender variance and gender expression had nothing to do with the savagery of the assault.  The entire Atlanta LGBTQ community is awaiting word on the motive that caused a big man to move beyond slurs to inflict such horrific violence against a trans woman.  Robbie Medwed spoke for Atlantans in a tweet on Wednesday night: “Cringe is too soft a word for the visceral reaction I have when I watch that vine [referring to the video]. I can’t accept that this is Atlanta.”

July 3, 2014 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Georgia, Georgia Equality, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, LGBTQ, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Trans Woman Savagely Attacked in Atlanta’s Little Five Points; Details Still Emerging

Attacker Arrested for Brutal Transgender Beating in Hollywood

Vivian Diego, 22, speaks out for justice after being attacked on May 31 by a gang of transphobic men. (Advocate Image)

Vivian Diego, 22, speaks out for justice after being attacked on May 31 by a gang of transphobic men. (CBS 2 Image)

Hollywood, California – A man has been arrested in the savage beating case involving a transgender woman last month.  Nicol Shakhnazayan, 21, was taken into custody by detectives of the Los Angeles Police Department and charged with felony battery of a woman.  Shakhnazayan, whose arrest happened a day after Los Angeles city leaders posted a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailants in the case, is being held on $1.05 million bail, according to Gay Star News.  The victim, 22-year-old transgender woman Vivian Diego, was assaulted by four men shouting transphobic and homophobic slurs.  The assault took place late on the night of May 31 near a Metro stop at Hollywood and Ivar, after Ms. Diego finished her shift as a barista at Beso Restaurant.  CBS Los Angeles reports that video of the attack on Ms. Diego helped in making the arrest of the first suspect.  Lt. Marc Reina of the LAPD told CBS2: “One of the members of the group ran after Vivian and struck her from behind, knocking her to the ground. The remaining members of the group then joined in brutally assaulting Vivian by repeatedly kicking her, even while she lay motionless on the sidewalk.”

Ms. Diego described the horror and pain of the attack in vivid terms: “It was awful. I wouldn’t wish the pain I went through on my worst enemy.”  She sustained a broken jaw, a smashed cheekbone, bruises, and two cracked ribs.  Her family remains solidly in support of her, calling on the police and city officials to bring the other perpetrators of this hate crime to justice.

As she recovers, Ms. Diego, whose mouth is wired shut, communicated optimism and determination through her pain.  She is proud to be a transgender woman.  “I am not letting this incident, this attack stop me from living my life,” she said to CBS News. “As you can see, I’m still fabulous.”

June 25, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, California, Gang violence, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, LGBTQ, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Attacker Arrested for Brutal Transgender Beating in Hollywood

2nd and 3rd Vicious Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City in Matter of Days

Gay bashing victims attacked outside Midtown Manhattan billiards club on Friday (WABC 7 images).

Gay bashing survivors attacked outside Midtown Manhattan billiards club on Friday (WABC 7 images).

New York City, New York – Port Authority Police report the third brutal anti-gay hate crime in the Midtown area of Manhattan this Friday, when two gay men were assaulted, beaten, and dragged by homophobic New York Knicks fans.  WABC 7  and NBC 4 New York report that the two victims whose names have not been released to the public (but are pictured to the left) attempted to gain access to Space Billiards, an after-hours billiards club around 5 a.m. Friday morning.  They were denied admission, but as they left, a crowd of five men wearing NY Knicks fan jerseys targeted the gay men outside the club, yelling anti-gay slurs at them, and commencing the attack.

The pair ran toward the 33rd Street PATH Station in a vain attempt to escape their attackers, but were grabbed, punched, stomped and beaten, and then dragged along the pavement, sustaining heavy injuries to their faces, arms, and torsos.  The victims were treated at Bellevue Hospital where one of the victims underwent eye surgery as a result of the vicious bashing.

The attackers were apparently so intent on harming the gay men that they continued the beating and yelling epithets in front of the PATH Station, where Port Authority Police witnessed the hate crime in progress, and rushed to break it up.  Most of the attackers fled the scene, but officers arrested two 21-year-old men, Asllan Barisha and Brian Ramirez, charging them with felony assault and anti-gay hate crimes.

On Sunday, May 5, a gay couple were assaulted by Knicks fans with much the same m.o. in the same general area of Midtown.  The New York Anti-Violnce Project (AVP), an organization that combats anti-LGBTQ violence, reports the second incident involving an attack on a gay man by an assailant hurling homophobic slurs in Union Square on Tuesday, May 7. Police have a suspect in custody in relation this assault.  In response to the rash of bias-motivated hate crimes against gay men in New York City, the AVP has issued a Community Alert.

Investigators are working to understand the relationship between the three incidents of bias-motivated crimes against young gay men, separated only by less than a mile and a half and a matter of days.  New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who spoke out against Sunday’s assault, issued this statement in the wake of theses most recent anti-gay attacks:  “I am outraged by this string of assaults. These vicious assaults are not reflective of the diversity that defines New York City. Our city prides itself on its inclusiveness, and hateful slurs and physical attacks against anyone, for any reason, go against the very fabric of what makes our City great. I thank the NYPD Hate Crime’s Task Force and the PAPD for their continued work to identify and bring those responsible for these heinous attacks to justice, and urge all New Yorkers to stay alert, safe and vigilant.”

May 10, 2013 Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Christine Quinn, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, New York, New York City, New York Knicks, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2nd and 3rd Vicious Anti-Gay Attacks in New York City in Matter of Days

Gay Bashing Targets Two North Carolina Women

Sarabeth Nordstrom and Erin Johnston, brutally attacked by homophobes in Boone, North Carolina (Q Notes image)

Boone, North Carolina – Two women perceived to be lesbians were targeted by anti-gay violence at a fast food restaurant in Boone, North Carolina.  Sarabeth Nordstrom and Erin Johnston, a junior exercise science major at Appalachian State University, were verbally harassed with anti-lesbian slurs at the restaurant on February 11 by two females and a male, according to Q Notes.  When Nordstrom and Johnston left for home, the lone male and one of the female harassers followed them.  According to Equality North Carolina, the male initiated the attack upon the women at approximately 2:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the apartment complex where the victims lived.  Nordstrom was struck in the face repeatedly, sustaining a broken nose, eye socket, and cheekbone.  Johnston was knocked to the ground when she tried to call 911 for help, and stomped again and again. Her ribs were broken, her meniscus was torn, and she suffered wounds to her mouth and her nasal cartilage.  They were treated at Watauga Medical Center and released.

The victims said they had never met their assailants prior to the incident.  The alleged main attacker, Ketoine Jamahl  Mitchell, 19, turned himself into Boone Police, and was charged with two counts of assault on a woman, one count of assault inflicting serious injury, and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.  Brooklyn Lacrossa Canter, 18, was arrested in early March, and charged with aiding and abetting the assault.  Mitchell, who has a larceny record in Caldwell County, is being held in the Watauga Detention Center on a $6,000 secure bond, according to The Appalachian Online. Authorities have set April 17 for the first court appearance of Mitchell and Canter.

As Equality North Carolina points out, there is no hate crimes protection for lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, and transgender people in the state law codes.  Since this savage attack, ENC has agitated for the passage of the Safer Communities Act by the NC State Legislature, which specifies LGBT people as a protected class from physical harm.  Since anti-gay slurs were shouted by the assailants at the victims during the harassment and attack, by definition this was a hate crime–one law enforcement authorities in North Carolina are not yet equipped to acknowledge or combat.

The Appalachian State community has rallied to the support of the victims.  On March 2, a University Forum addressed the question of violence against gay people and women, and on March 5 a benefit was held to give the women a hand with their expenses since the attack.  A petition to Governor Bev Perdue and the state legislature to amend the NC hate crimes statutes is collecting signatures on Change.org, and can be accessed here.  A Facebook page has been created in support of the petition.

April 1, 2012 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Appalachian State University, Beatings and battery, Equality North Carolina, gay bashing, GLBTQ, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, North Carolina, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gay Panic Excuse Used to Justify Wisconsin Queer Bashing

Queer bashing suspects Jason "Jake" Immel-Rhode (l), and Lyall B. Ziebell (r)

Oshkosh, Wisconsin – Christmas morning erupted in anti-gay violence when two Oshkosh men allegedly assaulted a gay man outside a popular tavern patronized by LGBT people, calling the victim “a stupid faggot” while kicking him in the head. According to The Northwestern.com, Lyall B. Ziebell and Jason “Jake” Immel-Rhode, both 20, were charged with battery causing great bodily harm with a hate crime enhancement which will increase the penalties against the men, if found guilty.  With the hate crime rider, the men could serve as much as  23 years, six months in prison and face $40,000 in fines for the crime.

The criminal complaint states that Ziebell and Immel-Rhode were walking past PJ’s Bar on Oregon Street at approximately 2:15 a.m. on December 25 when the victim offered to buy them a shot of liquor apiece if they would lend him a cigarette.  The three men walked into the bar where the victim made good on his offer for the cigarette.  After finishing their drinks, the three went outside the bar where the assault began almost immediately.  WTAQ reports that the victim suffered a broken jaw and a brain injury from the savage attack.  The criminal complaint also states that the attackers left the scene of the assault to head to Ziebell’s home, and on the way they robbed a Mexican market of cash and pre-paid cell phones. The victim has no doubt, however, that the violence used against him was a response to his being a gay man.

The Northwestern goes on to report that Ziebell admitted to police that he was “very homophobic,” and commenced his assault on the victim when he allegedly “began to hit on me”–clearly a reference to the notorious gay panic defense often invoked in gay bashing trials to suggest that the victim was to blame for the injury done him.  Ziebell also said to police that he heard Immel-Rhode shout that the victim was “a stupid faggot” as he kicked him repeatedly in the head.

Court officials ordered Ziebell and Immel-Rhode bound over to Winnebago County Jail, where they are being held on a minimal bail of $3,000 apiece.  They are to go to court for preliminary hearings on January 5.

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Wisconsin | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is History: We Must Not Forget Its Cost

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the advent of full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the 1993 law making gay and lesbian servicemembers liable for discharge if they admitted their sexual orientation.  While there will be celebrations and night watch parties throughout the nation marking this historic day in the struggle for LGBTQ equality, we cannot afford to forget the terrible cost anti-gay discrimination has wrought in the Armed Forces of the United States.  So, today, we lift up the lives and patriotic service of four gay men who died because of the ignorance and bigotry of other servicemembers, and the systemic bigotry of the services themselves which at best permitted these murders, and at worst encouraged them.

Seaman August Provost of Houston, Texas, was shot to death on duty in a Camp Pendleton guard shack, and his remains were burned to erase the evidence of the deed on June 30, 2009 in San Diego, California. He had recently complained to his family that a fellow servicemember was harassing him because of his sexual orientation.  He feared speaking with his superiors about the harassment because of the threat of discharge due to DADT.  His partner in life, Kaether Cordero of Houston, said, “People who he was friends with, I knew that they knew. He didn’t care that they knew. He trusted them.”  Seaman Provost joined the Navy in 2008 to gain benefits to finish school, where he was studying to become an architectural engineer.

Private First Class Michael Scott Goucher, a veteran of the Iraq War, was murdered near his home in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on February 4, 2009 by an assailant who stabbed him at least twenty times. Known locally as “Mike on a Bike” by neighbors and friends, Goucher was an assistant organist for a congregation of the United Church of Christ, and Captain of the neighborhood Crime Watch.  He also was a selectively closeted gay man, hiding his sexual orientation from his community. Goucher survived deployment in Iraq, only to meet death at the hands of homophobes back home.

Private First Class Barry Winchell of Kansas City, Missouri, was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat as he slept in his barracks by a member of his unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky on July 6, 1999.  Winchell had fallen in love with a transgender woman, Calpurnia Adams, who lived in Nashville, Tennessee.  In the fallout from his murder, President Bill Clinton ordered a review of DADT, which resulted in the addition of a “Don’t Harass” amendment to the policy, but little else. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, who represented Winchell’s parents in litigation with the U.S. Army, demanded to know who in the upper ranks of Fort Campbell knew of the murder and its subsequent cover up.  The commandant of the fort was promoted over the objections of many human rights advocates. Winchell’s story has been immortalized by the 2003 film, “Soldier’s Girl.”

Petty Officer Third Class Allen R. Schindler Jr. of Chicago Heights, Illinois was murdered on October 27, 1992 in a public toilet on base in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. His killer was a shipmate who despised Schindler for being gay. He had been outed while on board the U.S.S. Belleau Wood, and was supposedly under the protection of his superiors until he could be separated from the service.  Schindler had called his mother to tell her to expect him home by Christmas.  Instead, the Navy shipped his savaged remains home to Chicago Heights before Thanksgiving.  The only way family members could identify his remains was by a tattoo of the U.S.S. Midway on his forearm.  Otherwise, he was beaten so brutally that his uncle, sister, and mother could not tell he was their boy.  Schindler’s murder was presented as a reason DADT should never have been enacted, but authorities in Washington brushed his story aside and enacted the ban against gays in the military anyway. Schindler’s story is told at length in Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims, authored by the founder of the Unfinished Lives Project, Dr. Stephen Sprinkle.

We at Unfinished Lives celebrate the repeal of DADT tonight with thanksgiving for the courage of lesbian and gay servicemembers who chose to serve their country in the military though their country chose not to honor them.  More than 13,500 women and men were drummed out of the service under DADT.  But in addition to the thousands who faced discharge and shame, we cannot forget, we must not forget, the brave souls who died at the hands of irrational hatred and ignorance–the outworking of a blatantly discriminatory policy that never should have blighted the annals of American history.  The four lives we remember here are representative of hundreds, perhaps thousands more, whose stories demonstrate the lengths to which institutions and governments will go to preserve homophobia and heterosexism.  We will remember with thanksgiving our gay and lesbian dead, for to forget them would be to contribute to the ills wrought by DADT.

September 20, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Bludgeoning, California, DADT, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Illinois, immolation, Kentucky, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, military, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Protests and Demonstrations, Remembrances, Repeal of DADT, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Slashing attacks, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, stabbings, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Tennessee, Texas, transgender persons, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, Vigils, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is History: We Must Not Forget Its Cost

Queer Bashing In Utah: Third Gay Man Attacked in Two Weeks

Scene of possible anti-gay hate crime attack in American Fork, Utah (KSL 5 News photo)

American Fork, Utah – A 32-year-old gay man was attacked by slur-yelling homophobes outside the beauty salon where he is employed as a stylist.  Fox 13 reports that Cameron Nelson was emptying garbage into a dumpster just after midnight on Thursday from the Metropolitan Salon when two or three attackers jumped him, beating and kicking him repeatedly while disparaging his sexual orientation.  Managing to get back inside the shop, Nelson laid down and tried to nurse his wounds until a co-worker arrived a few hours later, found him “covered in blood,” and called paramedics and the police.  American Forks Police Lieutenant Darren Falslev told reporters that Nelson was kicked several times.  He was treated for a broken nose, abrasions, bruises, and a series of other more minor injuries.  The Salt Lake Tribune interviewed another American Forks Police Officer, Sergeant Gregg Ludlow, who called the slurs hurled at Nelson “disgusting,” and that attack against him “quite repugnant.”  Later news reports are saying that this assault may be investigated as an anti-gay hate crime, in view of the overtly homophobic epithets aimed at the victim.  Sgt. Ludlow told Q Salt Lake, “It’s pretty early in the investigation but it’s a definite possibility that the crime could be considered a hate-related crime. The slurs were made and we promise to keep investigating until the attackers are caught. We are taking this very seriously.”  Nelson is certain he was targeted because of his sexual orientation, but did not know any of his assailants. Police are searching for a white male suspect about 5′ 10″ tall with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing cutoff shorts and combat boots.

American Fork, a quintessential Utah city of just under 30,000, was best know around the nation for the filming of classic movies, such as the 1984 hit “Footloose,” starring Kevin Bacon, and its 89.9% church-going citizenry.  Now, it becomes yet another Utah city experiencing a rash of anti-gay hate crimes along the Wasatch Front, a string of cities and towns in Northeast Utah where 80% of the state’s population resides.  Nelson’s friends and the residents of the city are “in shock” about the attack. If the investigation confirms Nelson was bashed because of his gay identity, his case will become the third such assault on gay men in Utah in the last two weeks.  Two Salt Lake City men have suffered similar attacks outside a local night club, most notably, 20-year-old Dane Hall, who was “curb checked” by his attackers on August 27, suffering a smashed cheekbone, splintered jaw, and 6 missing teeth.  The American Forks Police Department say that they have not yet made a connection between the Salt Lake City attacks and the assault that targeted Nelson, but they are definitely not ruling it out.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Utah | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

6 New York Teens Charged with Murder as Hate Crime

Anthony Collao, 18, fatally mistaken as gay, (l), pictured with his girlfriend, Wendy Vargas

New York City – Six teenagers have been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in the fatal March attack on an 18-year-old male perceived to be gay.  365 Gay reports that the youths attacked and stomped Anthony Collao of Bethpage on Long Island to death as he was leaving a birthday party on March 15 in Woodhaven, Queens. The suspects, none of whom are older than 18, crashed the party, breaking windows, shouting “homophobic remarks,” and scrawling anti-gay slurs and epithets on the wall with a red marker. Collao and his cousin, sensing trouble, tried to leave the home, but were chased outside where the assailants threw Collao against a car, and savagely beating and stomping him until he no longer moved.  His cousin screamed for them to stop, saying that Collao was not gay and had a girlfriend, but the attackers continued pressing their assault with their fists, shod feet, and a metal pipe. Collao fell into an irreversible coma and died two days later at a Jamaica hospital when life support was removed from him. Four suspects — Alex Velez, 16, of the Bronx, Christopher Lozada and Luis Tabales, both 17 and from Queens,  and Nolis Ogando, 18, also from Queens – were arrested soon after the attack. A fifth suspect, Calvin Pietri, 17, of Woodhaven, who allegedly bragged about the killing on Facebook, was arrested within a day of the attack. Jonathan Echevarria, 16, of Brooklyn was also arrested and charged.  Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown told news reporters that each suspect has been charged with a 21-count indictment of murder as a hate crime.  The charges were upgraded after new evidence in the case came to light.  The suspicion that someone might be gay, or even an unsubstantiated accusation of it, as in this case, carries the potential of death. Homophobia and heterosexism are deadly to straights as well as gays.  The defendants in this case could each face as much as 25 years for the crime if found guilty.

June 24, 2011 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Gang violence, gay bashing, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, LGBTQ, Mistaken as LGBT, New York, Slurs and epithets, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Unfinished Lives” Book Tour Rolls Through North Carolina

 

Stephen Sprinkle signs "Unfinished Lives" book at Barton College, Wilson, North Carolina (Keith Tew photograph)

Raleigh, North Carolina – The Unfinished Lives Book Tour is visiting cities, churches, and campuses throughout the Old North State, and buzz is growing on the book wherever it goes.  Dr. Sprinkle commenced at the home of the Reverends Phil Jones and Cathy Cralle-Jones in Cary on April 9, where a packed house heard the story of how Unfinished Lives came to be. “I survived an anti-gay hate crime threat myself in 2000,” Dr. Sprinkle told the gathering of well-wishers for the book.  “That near-brush with physical violence just because I was gay set me on the journey to learn as much as I could about other stories of hate crimes victims in the United States,” he said. Representatives of St. Paul’s Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Hillyer Memorial Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cary, Hopewell United Methodist Church in Sampson County, and the Graduate School at North Carolina State University engaged Dr. Sprinkle in a lively Q & A on hate crimes in America.  On Sunday, April 10, Dr. Sprinkle preached for the 9 and 11 a.m. services at St. Jude’s Metropolitan Community Church in Wilmington, an LGBTQ-predominant congregation founded after the brutal 1990 disembowelment slaying of lesbian carpenter, Talana Quay Kreeger, “Talana with the wild, blonde hair.”  No church in the city would allow Kreeger’s funeral because of the negativity toward her homosexuality, though she was the innocent victim of a horrendous hate crime.  Coastal Carolina queer folk vowed never to depend on a straight Christian congregation again to allow a funeral for one of their own. Local visionary activist, social worker Tab Ballis, introduced Dr. Lou Buttino, head of the UNC-Wilmington Film Studies Department, and announced that “The Park View Project” documenting the murder of Talana Kreeger, would be seen to completion by the eminent filmmaker. Reverend John A. McLaughlin, pastor of St. Jude’s, welcomed Dr. Sprinkle on behalf of the city of Wilmington. In the afternoon, representatives of St. Jude’s and First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Wilmington, and Winterville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) joined Dr. Sprinkle for a book signing at Two Sisters Bookery in the historic Cape Fear Riverfront Cotton Exchange. On Monday, April 11, Dr. Sprinkle spoke at the NC State University GLBT Center “Lunch and Learn” event, and signed copies of his book. Center Director Justine Hollingshead and Emeritus Professor Bill Swallow hosted Dr. Sprinkle at State, where members of the Wolfpack Football Team were in attendance for the talk. This was Dr. Sprinkle’s second appearance at the NC State GLBT Center. In the afternoon, Dr. Sprinkle and Rev. Phil Jones went to Wilson to deliver a lecture and sign books at Barton College.  Dr. Sprinkle was hosted by Dr. Joe Jones, and greeted by members of the Religion and Philosophy, Sociology, Social Work, and English faculties of the college. He spoke on “Honor and Educate: How the Community of the Dead Shapes LGBTQ Community.”  Students, faculty, and staff asked many probing and pertinent questions about the nature of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and the linkage with religious intolerance. On Tuesday, April 12, Rev. Jones and Dr. Sprinkle traveled to Duke University Divinity School in Durham for a book signing sponsored by Cokesbury Bookstore. Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, renowned theological ethicist, called “America’s best theologian” by Time Magazine, attended, and got his copy of Unfinished Lives. “These stories need to be gotten out there,” Dr. Hauerwas said. He presented Dr. Sprinkle with a signed copy of his 2005 book, Cross-Shattered Christ: Meditations on the Seven Last Words. Later in the afternoon, the tour went to the LGBTQ Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Dr. Sprinkle and Rev. Jones were greeted by Terry Phoenix, Center Director. A topic of discussion was the April 4 torture attack on gay UNC student Quinn Matney, who claimed he was branded by a super-hot metal instrument while being held down by his assailant. “Here is a taste of hell for you, you fucking faggot!”, the UNC student said his attacker shouted while torturing him, as reported to the Daily Tarheel. Before departing Chapel Hill, Dr. Sprinkle introduced his book to Dr. Rick Edens and Dr. Jill Edens, co-pastors at the 800-member United Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ. Dr. Sprinkle plans to contact RDU leaders on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program on Wednesday, before returning to Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth.  The book tour is making friends and news everywhere it goes.  A four-session series on the book is planned for Houston during Pride Month, in June, and a six city national tour in the Fall.  Stay tuned for more on Unfinished Lives!

April 12, 2011 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Barton College, Beatings and battery, Bisexual persons, Book Tour, Bullying in schools, Burning and branding, Cokesbury Books, Covenant Christian Church, death threats, desecration of corpses, Duke Divinity School, Evisceration, First Christian Church Wilmington, funerals, gay bashing, gay men, gay teens, gender identity/expression, Gender Variant Youth, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program, It Gets Better Book, It Gets Better Project (IGBP), Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, LGBT teen suicide prevention, LGBTQ suicide, Matthew Shepard Act, NC State GLBT Center, NC State Graduate School, North Carolina, Park View Project, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Public Theology, Queer, Racism, rape, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, School and church shootings, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, St Jude's MCC, stabbings, stalking, Stanley Hauerwas, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Strangulation, suicide, Torture and Mutilation, transgender persons, transphobia, Two Sisters Bookery, U.S. Navy, UNC-Chapel Hill LGBTQ Center, UNC-W Film Studies Program, Unfinished Lives Book Signings, United Church of Chapel Hill, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, women | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on “Unfinished Lives” Book Tour Rolls Through 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

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