Matthew Shepard : Gay & Black Glossary

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Matthew Shepard
The most famous gay bashing incident was the crucifixion and murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie Wyoming on 1998-10-07.
killers of Matthew Shepard Aaron McKinney, 22 and Russell Henderson, 21, tortured and killed Matthew.
Matthew Shepard Matthew Shepard was just a little guy 1.57 metres (5.17 ft), 49.90 kg (110 lbs), 21 years old.

I went to the Matthew Shepard vigil. It was held at St. John’s church in Vancouver BC Canada. This location was a great reminder that there are Christians and there are Christians.

The church was full. People filled the lobby too. People were quiet, sad, serious. The crowd was all ages, men and women, but only a few children. I searched faces looking for a clue to what people were thinking. There was no anger, no fear. I think I saw some quiet determination. There was sadness and shock.

The choir sang a never again song. It may have been specially composed for the occasion. Someone read a story about the long slow death by hanging of a gay boy in the Nazi death camps. Some people wore pink triangles — the Nazi symbol for gays.

Somebody read an essay written by Matthew’s best friend. Matthew was just an ordinary kid, a boys-just-want-to-have-fun sort of guy.

There were no tears.

Then came time for the candle ceremony. There were not enough candles to go round. A lady who looked like Whoopee Goldberg found me a broken candle. People passed the light from person to person. Whoopee lit mine. Then we each walked to the front and put the candle in some big tubs of sand. It was a solemn procession. When I got to the tub, I suddenly saw a large photo of Matthew beaming at me. It caught me off guard and I lost it and burst into tears. Suddenly he was a real person, not a debating point. It was as if he were saying Its all right. I’m fine. Its not that serious.

They played Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven. I started sobbing and went outside in the rain to compose myself.

I thought to myself, it was all just so stupid! I wasn’t angry at the guys who killed this nice kid. I just wanted to shout at them how could you be so stupid! How could you let yourselves be caught up in this foolish hate game?

Fred Phelp’s monument to Matthew Shepard
Fred Phelp’s monument to Matthew Shepard

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