This guest post is from Unfinished Lives which is a place of public discourse which remembers and honors LGBT hate crime victims.
Out Impact, the Gay Online Magazine, has a feature news article on the work of the Unfinished Lives Project and its Director, Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, in its latest issue. Chrishelle Griffin, a graduate of Spelman College, carried out the interview with Dr. Sprinkle for Out Impact.
In a portion of the Q & A, Griffin asked Dr. Sprinkle what he believes are the most glaring misconceptions about hate crimes against LGBTQ people. “Let me share two with you,” Sprinkle responded.. ”The first is that LGBTQ hate crimes victims were engaging in ‘risky’ behaviors that contributed to their deaths. This is nothing but an internalized version of the old ‘gay panic defense’ that says we are somehow responsible for the victimization we suffer. I never met a gay hate crimes survivor who had a death wish,” Sprinkle said. ”These women and men were simply trying to live what is normal for them. They were looking for love, seeking companionship, or whatever. Straight people do the same sorts of things all the time. We, however, live in a culture that makes our lives vulnerable—all of our lives, for every one of us. That is the message most of us never seem to get. As long as the majority culture permits some of us to be killed and maimed, every one of us is at risk.”