Jack Castiglione has worked on civil rights issues in general but focused on LGBTQ rights beginning in the mid-1970’s when he moved to Long Beach, CA. Specifically, he worked to stop anti-gay violence, assisted people with AIDS, and engaged the Los Angeles Archbishop of the Catholic Church to change the Church’s negative view of LGBT Catholics and of all members of the LGBTQ community in general. (Read details.)
In working to stop anti-LGBTQ violence, Mr. Castiglione established a hotline in his home in 1986 and monitored it for 6 years. He interviewed everyone who reported a crime and took those reports to the Chief of Police with whom he served as an advisor for 6 years. He used a comprehensive, three-prong approach which was extremely successful: First, he informed the general public through newspaper articles that anti-gay violence was common in gay-populated areas. Second, he participated in annual police officer sensitivity training programs as a part-time instructor. His goal here was to help create awareness of anti-LGBTQ violence and the particular and critical problem that Long Beach Police officers did not consistently take anti-LGBTQ complaints seriously, sometimes refusing to even take a report to acknowledge that the crime happened. And third, he wrote many articles in the gay press, as well as gave talks, to encourage victims to report the crimes against them. Remarkably. within a few years, anti-LGBT Qcrimes dramatically diminished.
“We have made much progress in Long Beach, in California, and in the nation toward equality. Especially noteworthy is the monumental milestone of achieving our right to marry, which has recently been confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.” Mr. Castiglione added, “However, we do not have the luxury of resting on our successes, no matter how many or how monumental they are. It’s much like swimming upstream. There will always be a current against us. We have to thwart the persistent activities of those individuals, private organizations (especially conservative religious groups), and even many local and state governments, that seek to undermine, and reverse our accomplishments. We must even be concerned about our national government agencies that want to repeal every measure of equality thus far obtained. We must be vigilant. We must counter those anti-LGBTQ forces whenever and wherever they appear.”
The Man Who Stopped Gay-Bashings and Murders in His City
2 New Books: Featured Book Reviews
The life of Jack Castiglione is anything but boring. It took 2 volumes (so far) to tell his adventurous story. The Chartreuse Garden: The Horrific Murders of Innocents that Compelled Me to Fight Social Injustice and Hate, AND, My Life on Purpose: Fending Off Death, the Catholic Church, the Aids Epidemic, and Hate Crimes.
Do you know anyone else who has beat death 10 times? Anyone who has met repeatedly with Bishops and Cardinals to defend the LGBTQ community? Any one who have faced dozens of gay-bashings and murders? Anyone who has comforted and embraced people with AIDS 1,500 times?
Some people have called his the unsung gay hero. Castiglione says, “If I am a hero, I must be the most imperfect one ever.” He would be the first to admit his faults and missteps, of which he includes in his memoirs. His life has been challenging, to say the least. But through all of this, he managed to survived (so far). Even becoming a quadriplegic who has mostly recovered, Castiglione never gives up hope.
The books can be read in either order, for they tell of different aspect of his life as indicated in the subtitles. Available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions. My Life on Purpose = https://amzn.to/3H6Z1aL and Chartreuse Garden = https://amzn.to/3vKMW5W
(A big thanks to FOJ (Friends of Jack) for putting this site together!)