Sunday, October 12, 2008

Matthew Shepard October 1998

In the early morning hours of October 12, 1998 Matthew Shepard died.

Beaten, tied to a fence and left exposed to die in a remote field outside Laramie, Wyoming, Shepard's murder by two homophobic, remorseless thugs, galvanized the country. Then President Clinton even called the family to express his condolences. When Lawrence King was killed in a recent incident the current President was silent, as he has been for his entire illegal regime.

Sadly, the progress of making sexual orientation a hate crime has been stymied by an unsympathetic, even hostile regime. The gay community itself, whatever that is, still seems to be concerned over the latest over priced fashion trend than voting or working for a more just society. If the black community was as nonchalant about rights as the gay community, slavery would still be legal.

There have been some positive steps but they have been tempered by a larger number of negative steps. Neither candidate for president can speak out for full rights for sexual minorities. A whole generation of kids are being reared in right wing mega churches, most if not all preaching that being gay is a sin. Maybe my basic pessimism is coming through, but I see little to cheer about.

I wish I would have had my act together. If I did, I would have gotten a tattered green and yellow ribbon out of my storage. I got it ten years ago at a Matthew Shepard rally here in KC. The weekend after he was found beaten, our church choir did not sing, silent in our protest. We all wore our ribbons.

The ribbon is with my Christmas decorations. Every year, my bright lit tree is darkened a bit by this tiny piece of cloth... remembering Matthew who saw no more bright Christmases.

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