From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard

Front Cover
Mary E. Swigonski, Robin S. Mama, Kelly Ward (LCSW.), Matthew Shepard
Harrington Park Press, 2001 - Political Science - 233 pages
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Fight for the human rights of LGBT individuals with strategies from this powerful book!

From the intimate horror of domestic violence to the institutionalized heterosexism of marriage laws, this volume takes an unsparing look at the interconnections of prejudice and hate crimes in the lives of LGBT individuals. Bringing together original research and solidly grounded theory, From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard also offers fresh strategies so you can work effectively for social change.

This moving, thoughtful volume begins with a friend's memoir of the murdered Matthew Shepard; this intimate glimpse is powerful testimony that hate crimes affect individuals, not just symbolic martyrs. From Hate Crimes to Human Rights drags hidden homophobia from the closet and examines it with clean, incisive intelligence. It tackles taboo topics, including:
  • what the Bible really says about homosexuality
  • how minority cultures sometimes foster hatred against the LGBT individuals in their midst
  • why child welfare services don't protect LGBT youth from peer violence
  • how internalized LGBT self-hatred can be expressed as domestic violence

    Hate crimes do not occur in a cultural vacuum. From Hate Crimes to Human Rights searches out the roots of hatred and suggests ways to eradicate them, drawing on economics, theology, and linguistics as well as sociology, history, and political science. Specific suggestions include:
  • how to use language as a social and cultural change strategy
  • what individuals and universities can do to promote human rights
  • how to make use of the intersection of difference and tolerance to prevent hate crimes
  • why equal treatment for LGBT individuals is a human rights issue, not a special-interest advantage

    From Hate Crimes to Human Rights provides powerful explanations of the ways hatred generates hate crimes and proposes positive action you can take to validate human rights.

    A Statement from the Authors One of the premises of this book is that if we want to progress from hate crimes to human rights, we must learn to respect, honor, and celebrate diversity. The chapter authors exemplify a rainbow of ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Each of us is committed to advocate for human rights and to work to end hate crime. Toward those ends, the royalties from the sale of this book will go directly to a memorial fund that has been established at Monmouth University in Matthew Shepard's honor. The proceeds from that fund will be used to support students in their preparation for human rights advocacy.

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About the author (2001)

Mama is Associate Professor of Social Work at Monmouth University in New Jersey.

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