#QueerHeroes Day 17 – Matthew Shepard
Matthew Shepard shouldn’t be on this list.
He should be at home, perhaps with a husband, maybe even kids. Or embarking on an exciting new adventure or a career he began after the college he never got to graduate from. He should be enjoying a life that he may not have believed possible the fateful night he went to that bar in Laramie, Wyoming.
Two monsters beat him beyond recognition, tied him to a fencepost, and left him for dead. He was barely alive when found. He died days later.
His horrific murder helped mobilize people like Ellen DeGeneres (who had just come out) and others to advocate for hate crime protections for queer people. For compassion in general.
Matthew’s incredible parents—Dennis and Judy Shepard—have since dedicated their lives to education and advocacy. Reliving his death so that others won’t feel their pain.
Last year, he was interred at the Washington National Cathedral.