Monday, October 06, 2008

Matthew Sheppard Should Be 31 By Now

Matthew Sheppard was beaten and left for dead 10 years ago tonight (he died 5 days later) just after midnight on October 7th 1998.

There is still so much to say about this sad story and yet so little is really needed at this point, and I'm still deeply affected by that tragic event. I was basically the same age as Matthew and still exploring what it was to be gay, but I was luckily living in a more accepting Montreal and not in the plains of Wyoming and truly never had to deal with hate or violent homophobia.

I've actually driven through Wyoming and the land is truly a beautiful place, but those fences are so prevalent around the slightly rolling hills that they seem to take on a new haunting undertone that sadly ruins the beautiful landscape. I only hope attitudes have changed to match the beauty of the land.

Judy Sheppard, Matthew's mother, who has become an incredible advocate for gay rights and started the The Matthew Sheppard Foundation to stop hate and replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance. She spoke on The Early Show this morning about the progress (or lack thereof). (Video below)

In the 10 years since, The Laramie Project theatrically (and later in film) explored the issues surrounding the events that happened in the small town of Wyoming and now the original writers will return to interview the citizens again to see how it is 10 years later in order to write an epilogue.

1 comment:

Esther said...

Hey Vance,
Great post, and thanks for the link to the interview. I missed it. I just watched The Laramie Project, and like you said, one of the things that struck me was the contradiction of such a horrific crime occurring in such a beautiful place.