Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review - Eight Bullets: One Woman's Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence

Date Started: May 3, 2017
Date Finished: May 18, 2017
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

I was very hesitant about starting this book. I am not the kind of person that enjoys reading about traumatic experiences and, as a gay woman, I was worried that this would hit too close to home. I was worried that I would live in fear and that I would feel scared for my marriage. 

Instead, I feel inspired. The foreword of Eight Bullets tells the gripping, terrifying experience of Claudia Brenner and Rebecca Wight. Targeted, stalked, and hunted for their sexuality, Rebecca was killed and Claudia fought with everything she had to survive. That is where the book begins. 

The subtitle of this book could not be more fitting. This is not the story of the tragedy that happened and it is not the story of the murderer. It is the story of Claudia's fight to stay alive. It is the story of the community of people that stood together and fought against this. 

Claudia was shot in 1987, nearly two years before I was born. I was raised in a world where being gay was not accepted and discrimination was common, but the hate and the violence that were part of the everyday life of previous generations just crushed me. Now, in 2017, I am legally married to the love of my life. I am on her health insurance and we have all the benefits of a heterosexual married couple. There is always still a fear of discrimination. It is still legal for an employer to discriminate based on sexuality. I still feel scared of holding my wife's hand in public, because I know that people like Rebecca's murderer are still out there. 

This book has made me so appreciative of the rights that I have, the life I am able to live, and of the choices I have. It has also shown me that our work isn't done. That there is still so much to do. It is because of Claudia and her peers that I have the life I do, now it is our turn to make it better for the next generation.

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