Over 13,000 Americans have been murdered in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries because of their sexual orientation and gender presentation. In Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memory of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims, Stephen Sprinkle puts a human face on the outrage and loss suffered when people die from anti-gay hatred. Beginning with new developments in the story of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Laramie, Wyoming, Sprinkle tells the stories of fourteen representative LGBTQ victims whose lives were savagely cut short due to homophobia and transphobia. These are stories about people who could be your neighbor, classmate, co-worker, or friend – real, everyday people whose love was foreclosed, relationships brutally terminated, and future contributions stolen from us by outrageous, irrational hatred. Told lovingly yet unflinchingly, Unfinished Lives lifts the stories of these LGBTQ victims from undeserved obscurity, allowing their memory to live again. Relying on personal interviews and visits to the locations where these people lived, loved, and died, Sprinkle records the raw emotions, powerful movements for social change, and unexpectedly hopeful communities that arise from the ruins of those people whose only “offense” was to live as they were born to be. Part portraiture, part crime narrative, and part ethnography, Unfinished Lives is poised to change the conversation on hate crimes in the United States.
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TW: Anti-LGBTQ violence, including murder.
This book is best for those who want to learn the true feelings of LGBTQ people and their families as they lived through extreme violence and prejudice, and who aren’t afraid to be made uncomfortable. This book likely should not be used in an introductory setting, discretion is advised.