Matthew Shepard Hub




Laramie, Wyoming Passes Comprehensive LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: VIDEO

Wyoming

Laramie City Council, Wyoming has approved Laramie Order 1915 which will prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and access to public facilities, the AP reports.

The council of the town where Matthew Shepard was murdered 17 years ago voted 7-2 in favor of the motion.

2d45feb61e914cc8ba60947c055bf952-Photo-1-324x450The Legislature had repeatedly rejected anti-discrimination bills, most recently early this year.

Jeran Artery, head of the group Wyoming Equality, said:

"What a day for Wyoming, and what a day for the city that became synonymous with Matthew Shepard's murder to now step up and do this right thing. And I would really encourage other communities across the state to follow Laramie's lead."

Matthew Shepard’s mother Judy, who is active in a Denver foundation focusing on equality issues, said she was thrilled “that Laramie's doing it, at the same time sort of saddened that the state of Wyoming can't see fit to do that as well. Maybe the rest of Wyoming will understand this is about fellow human beings and not something that's other than what they are."

Openly gay Rep. Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie) (above) said:

“Know that, in Albany County, five of six of your senators and representatives not only supported that measure, but actively, vigorously supported that measure, and we will continue to do so. My hope is from tonight that we will do so using the leadership of Laramie”

Two councilors voted against the ordinance. Both Joe Vitale and Bryan Schuster said they were concerned the ordinance caused concerns about religious freedom.

Rep. Kendell Kroeker (R-Evansville), who voted against the anti-discrimination bill this year, said “the Matt Shepard case was a tragedy, but I don't see how an anti-discrimination ordinance would have stopped somebody from committing that heinous crime."

Watch a report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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As Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Is Laid To Rest, Her Death Begins To 'Mean Something' - VIDEO

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Transgender suicide victim Leelah Alcorn (below right) was laid to rest Friday morning in a private service, after her family moved the funeral in response to alleged threats, according to a report from NBC News

Tim Tripp, the family minister at Northeast Church of Christ in Cincinnati, told NBC News the funeral had been moved to a private location because "the times and dates had been publicized, and the family's received threats." Tripp wouldn't specify what threats surrounded the funeral, other than to say the family had heard there would be "disruptions." Mourners arriving at the church Friday found a sign on the door announcing the service's postponement. Jeff Hartmann, of Hodapp Funeral Home, said the private service was held there Friday morning. He said Alcorn's body was to be cremated.

AlcornMeanwhile, the LGBT community and its supporters honored Alcorn at candlelight vigils in Cleveland, Columbus (above) and other cities on Friday night. Additional vigils are planned outside Alcorn's former school today, and as far away as Orlando and London

A petition launched in the wake of Alcorn's suicide calling for a federal ban on transgender conversion therapy has garnered more than 240,000 signatures. Another petition calling for Alcorn's correct name to be placed on her headstone has garnered more than 70,000 signatures. 

As we reported, Leelah's mother, Carla Alcorn, told CNN she'd never heard her daughter's chosen name prior to her suicide. But that isn't surprising given that Leelah's parents likely would have used the name as another reason to punish their daughter, since they didn't support her gender identity due to their religious beliefs. 

WCPO-TV reported Thursday night that Leelah's father, Doug, sent the station an email in which he continued to misgender his daughter and use her birth name: 

WCPO has made several attempts to speak with her parents at their Kings Mills home. 

After an attempt Thursday, the girl’s father, Doug, sent WCPO an email with the subject line: “Joshua Alcorn and your visit this morning.”

Doug Alcorn's message reads in part:

“We love our son, Joshua, very much and are devastated by his death. We have no desire to enter into a political storm or debate with people who did not know him. We wish to grieve in private. We harbor no ill will towards anyone. ... I simply do not wish our words to be used against us.”

Needless to say, it's a little late for that, but actions speak louder than words, and Leelah's parents' actions as described in her Tumblr post were largely confirmed by her mother's statements to CNN.  

Not surprisingly, the original Tumblr post itself has been removed, but you can find an archive of it here, and the unprecedented national media coverage of Leelah's suicide continues, with some advocates calling her death the transgender community's "Matthew Shepard moment." 

Watch GLAAD spokesman Tiq Milan discuss the tragedy on MSNBC, as well as WCPO's report on Leelah's father's statement, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "As Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Is Laid To Rest, Her Death Begins To 'Mean Something' - VIDEO" »


Judy Shepard Talks 'Incredible' LGBT Progress and Why She Thinks Bill Clinton Got 'Bad Advice' on DOMA - VIDEO

Judy

Judy and Dennis Shepard recently sat down with HuffPostLive to talk about the "incredible" LGBT progress made since Matthew's passing, as well as the new documentary film on their son - Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine

While there, Judy also shared her thoughts on Bill Clinton and why she think's "bad advice" played into him signing the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. 

Said Shepard:

I think in his heart he wanted to do the right thing and he knew what the right thing was, but the political advice was not right.  

Watch the full segment, which also includes Judy's thoughts on the GOP midterm election vicotry "setback" and whether she's planning on voting for Hillary in 2016, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Judy Shepard Talks 'Incredible' LGBT Progress and Why She Thinks Bill Clinton Got 'Bad Advice' on DOMA - VIDEO" »


Matthew Shepard's Parents Head To Russia To Fight Anti-LGBT Intolerance: VIDEO

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The parents of Matthew Shepard are heading to hostile territory in hopes of bringing a message of tolerance to Russia. Tomorrow, Dennis and Judy depart for St. Petersburg to attend the screening of a movie about their slain son and then move on to Moscow, where they hope to meet with parents of LGBT youth. In a country where gays are consistently harassed for spreading so-called "propaganda", the Shepards hope to bring a message of tolerance on their five-day trip. But given how entrenched anti-LGBT attitudes have become under the rule of Vladimir Putin, they know it won't be easy.

“Putin has made it so unhealthy to be LGBT or an ally,” Dennis Shepard told the AP in an interview about their trip. “It will take at least a generation to clean up the mess he’s made and get some acceptance.”

Their first stop will be a screening of Matthew Shepard is a Friend of Mine at the Side by Side Film Festival in St. Petersburg, an annual event since 2008 which has been promoting LGBT tolerance while drawing criticism from government officials there. But filmmaker Michele Josue, who was a close friend of Matthew's in high school, feels strongly about screening her film in a hostile environment. 

"We've been preaching to the choir," she said of previous screenings in the U.S. "It's important to get our film seen by a community that didn't have access to it."

The film, which has been on the festival circuit this year, makes its NYC premiere tonight at the Doc NYC Festival. You can watch the moving trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Matthew Shepard's Parents Head To Russia To Fight Anti-LGBT Intolerance: VIDEO" »


Judy Shepard And Hundreds Of Activists Set To Attend LGBT Rights Conference In Mexico City Next Week

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is set to hold it's 27th world conference in Mexico City next week. 

LOGO-WEB-298x300According to an article in the Washington Blade, Judy and Dennis Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, will be speaking to members of the group, which is an umbrella organization of more than 1,000 local and national groups devoted to advancing LGBT rights worldwide and monitoring laws that protect or persecute LGBT people. The group is also known for its maps of the world which highlight LGBT rights in different regions, like Europe.

“Dennis and I are excited to be able to meet so many amazing activists from ILGA next week,” Judy Shepard told the Blade. “We’re very much looking forward to learning from the other participants.” 

ILGA expects more than 400 activists from over a dozen countries to be there for five days of panels, meetings and discussions. The conference runs from October 27th through the 31st, with other U.S. attendees including Ty Cobb of the Human Rights Campaign and Shawn Gaylord of Human Rights First. The location of the event is notable as Mexico is currently experiencing some growing pains over LGBT rights, with massive protests against marriage equality after it was voted in for the Coahuila province earlier this year.


66 Gay Clips from '90s Nightly News: WATCH

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How many of these stories do you remember?

Dave Evans, who made the gay supercuts of the '70s and '80s news clips, has released the latest in his series.

This video shows clips on an early anti-gay Scouting lawsuit, protests in California over Governor Pete Wilson's veto of a gay-rights bill, Clinton becoming president and the protests over gays in the military, the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and the Matthew Shepard hatecrime and aftermath. 

Watch the powerful video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "66 Gay Clips from '90s Nightly News: WATCH" »


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