Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of when Matthew Shepard was brutality attacked in Laramie, Wyoming. His death was not the first of it’s kind. And despite the outpour from communities, small and large across the entire globe, his death isn’t the last of it’s kind either.
See, Matthew Shepard was picked up at a bar, beaten, tied to a fence and left to die without even his shoes, all because he was gay.
Back then, and now, we feel like we do stand in the way of these crimes. We pass things like the Matthew Shepard’s Hate Crimes Act, saying enough is enough. We repeal bad legislation, like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but is it enough?
Recently, a 14 year old boy from right here in New York killed himself after being bullied. He cried out. No one listened.
But now we are. Another life too late.
Part of this enormous problem, I think, is that bullies, and those who attack people for simply being gay, cannot get past another person’s gayness.
I see it all the time. From those who say they are completely alright with a person being gay, but when alone, they only have one thing to talk about, being gay. From those who simply avoid the topic, at all costs. See, bullying, is only just the outcome of what happens when we let labels do that talking.
I am a gay American. But that isn’t only who I am. I am a writer, a college drop-out with aspirations to finish my degree, and I am a hopeless romantic who someday dreams of being married and having a family of my own.
Matthew Shepard wasn’t just gay. He a college student. He was into theater. He had friends, and he was a son of a courageous mother and father.
Being gay was just a part of him. It’s just a part of me.
Remembering Matt means we need to remember that he was not just a gay man, he was many things, and he is missed in many ways.