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Thirteen Years Later, Judy Shepard Recalls Matthew's Murder, Legacy

Judy Shepard remembers her son Matthew and meditates on his legacy thirteen years after his horrific murder:

Matthew_shepardThirteen years ago this week his father, brother and I were at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo., with our firstborn son, Matthew Shepard. He was 21, and dying. Just days before, he had been just like millions of American college students whose names are not known to the world -- getting the hang of his new classes, adapting to a new campus, making friends. His father and I thought his biggest challenges were keeping money in his checking account and getting his homework in on time.

But here he was in intensive care, the victim of a terrible, senseless attack at the hands of two other young men who, at some point in their lives, learned it was OK to hate others for being different, to victimize them, to disregard their humanity.

Matt passed away quietly in the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 1998, with his family at his bedside. He died because of violence fueled by anti-gay hatred. For a lot of reasons, some of which we will probably never quite understand, the world had been watching, praying for him, and voicing their outrage.

October cannot go by anymore, and never will again, without us wondering what might have been, for us and for so many other families, if hatred of gay, and lesbian, and bisexual, and transgendered people, and all those whom others simply think might be, had been rooted out long ago.

Watch Judy Shepard's touching appearance on Ellen a year ago, AFTER THE JUMP...

Creating Matt's Legacy [huffington post]

Matthew Shepard Foundation [official site]

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  1. Such a beautiful young man. He did not die in vein for his death has mobilized the gay community more so then it ever was before. He will live in all of our hearts forever.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Oct 12, 2011 12:12:54 PM

  2. This was my tribute to him and others like him....

    Posted by: CB | Oct 12, 2011 12:34:16 PM

  3. Matthew will never really be gone when he is the hinges that hold the equality fight for all those who are still marginalized in the united states. RIP sweet man. You live in many hearts.


    Posted by: Jaxxy21 | Oct 12, 2011 12:44:36 PM

  4. So very sad! I continue to think about this young man to this day. 13 years ago. Left to die, tied to a fence. Beaten. Called names. Tricked into his situation. If the fundamentalist christians had any heart, theyd acknowledge that this is exactly how their savior was treated in his final hours. And they would weep alongside us.

    Posted by: stevenelliot | Oct 12, 2011 1:25:28 PM

  5. Matthew Shepard's tragic death gave a face to the extremes of suffering that the LGBT community can be subject to. It came before a time where people felt morally obliged to highlight injustices and crimes impacting us. Anti-gay crimes and gay teen suicides were simply not deemed newsworthy, even though they clearly happened in significant numbers.

    That the Matthew Shepard story made the news at such a time demonstrates the brutality of his death, but also the beginnings of a realistation that something in the national mindset was deeply rotten and had to change. And attitudes are changing... but not fast enough for my liking.

    Posted by: GC | Oct 12, 2011 1:26:09 PM

  6. More than 8 years ago -- ABC did an expose
    that PROVED that Matthew Sheppard was
    killed as a result of 'a drug deal gone bad' --
    and his murder was NOT due to homophobia.

    (One of his killers was an ex-lover of his.)

    abcnews DOT go DOT com/2020/story?id=277685&page=1

    Matthew Sheppard was NOT killed due to his being gay
    -- he was killed due to his being a campus drug dealer.

    Posted by: JaneTheCommentator | Oct 12, 2011 9:22:09 PM

  7. I am certain this is a day she has relived over and over so many times in her life. It is not "how" he died, for you insensitive asses who say he was killed for some other reason. This was her/their child. Since none of us were there (including ABC News - and in case you haven't caught on, you can spin a story any way it needs to be spun), the point being he was gay - like many of us; more importantly, he was someone's child. We should all mourning his death.

    Posted by: TyInTenn | Oct 12, 2011 9:51:39 PM

  8. Janethecommentator, where do you get off? The killer's girlfriends' testimony is damning. Your smear is hateful and despicable. Shame on you!

    Posted by: Tom | Oct 13, 2011 1:14:09 AM

  9. METHEW Wayne Shepard is what his name should be. While his Oct. 1998 killing is unrelated, the fact is that 2 months before his death in Aug. 1998, a drunk MW Shepard committed misdemeanor assault&battery on Cody bartender who reacted by decking him temporarily k/o him. The next day, Matthew (METHEW) Wayne Shepard made up story of being homosexually raped by 3 to the Cody police. He 'dropped' the charge when actually only the police can decide whether to pursue or drop a charge after medical tests came up negative by saying that alcohol impaired his judgment & he had no memory of what happened. Matthew Wayne Shepard did this hoax & in Oct. 1998 he shouldn't have been in Laramie-he should've been in a Cody jail as there was enough proof for a jury to have hopefully convicted him of misdemeanor assault&battery + falsely reporting crime. Other things which have been told of Matthew Shepard is that he used Meth (possibly ecstasy) & he feared having AIDS. So Matthew Wayne Shepard is a METHEW Wayne Shepard.

    Posted by: snowisfun | Jan 30, 2012 9:33:40 AM

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