Monday, October 6, 2008

Matthew Shepard - Ten Years Ago Tonight

Matthew Wayne Shepard
(December 1, 1976 - October 12, 1998) 

Matthew Shepard was a gay American student at the University of Wyoming who was badly beaten, tied to a wooden fence, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6 - October 7, 1998. Shepard died five days later from (among many other things) severe head injuries at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, 1998. 

His murder brought national as well as international attention to the issue of hate crime legislation (or the lack of) at the state and federal levels. Ten years later we still do not have a federal hate crimes bill passed thanks in part to W.

What is really needed (in my opinion) is more awareness and acceptance in schools so that kids grow up knowing that being gay is okay and normal. I personally would have done better in school and in life had I felt better about myself and had known I was not the only one "like that".

We remember Matthew Shepard and all victims of hate crimes today including Susan Pittmann and Christine Puckett.
May they all rest in peace.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

It is so tragic that these hate crimes continue to be received with passive acceptance. The lack of will to confront and shift the public attitude is deplorable and must be confronted. The passive acceptance problem continues to support the "ordinary haters" and through lack of direct confrontation supports violent action against gays and lesbians. We have to take radical action within our conventional communities and let others know that this anti-gay/lesbian atmosphere is unacceptable. Thank you Brian for directly confronting the hate crime issue through your Pittmann/Puckett Documentary.