Beyond The Fence: Conjuring the Lives of Martyr Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard 1976-1998

"Why do I speak now?" she asked. "Well, I had an 18-year-old ask how she could possibly stay in a town that's so inhospitable and dangerous. I realized then that I'd tacitly allowed denigration of people like myself. There's a history here of prejudice against African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, anyone who's different. I challenge people to treat [Shepard's murder] as a call to action. Look at how we address difference in our lives. Think about the institutions you belong to. Does your church ordain gay ministers? Do you have a child in the Boy Scouts, which has explicit rules forbidding homosexual troops or troop leaders? Do you allow thinly veiled comments that denigrate people like me? Do you question the uncontested norm?"

Research assistance: Robert Frederick

John Collier

One of four articles in our Matthew Shepard: Beyond the Fence feature.

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