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AFA's Sandy Rios Calls Matthew Shepard's Murder a 'Complete Fraud': VIDEO

Rios

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios took the podium at the Values Voters Summit over the weekend to toot about how Christian conservatives are being threatened in America, citing a letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights groups urging Republicans to stay away from the Summit, Right Wing Watch reports.

She also took the opportunity, on the anniversary of Matthew Shepard's murder to tell those assembled that it was a "complete fraud", citing claims in a recent book by wingnut Stephen Jimenez that Shepard's death was the result of "a drug deal gone bad".

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Matthew Shepard Foundation has blasted the Jimenez book, saying "Attempts now to rewrite the story of this hate crime appear to be based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law."

Continue reading "AFA's Sandy Rios Calls Matthew Shepard's Murder a 'Complete Fraud': VIDEO" »


Family And Friends Reflect On The Life And Legacy Of Matthew Shepard In New Documentary: VIDEO

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For those unaware, tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's tragic passing. To mark the milestone, a new documentary film titled Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine has been released, which tells the story of the Wyoming young man through the personal lens of family and friends. We previously reported on the documentary back in 2011 when it was still getting funding.

Check out the powerful trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

To find out more about the film and showtimes, visit the website HERE.

Continue reading "Family And Friends Reflect On The Life And Legacy Of Matthew Shepard In New Documentary: VIDEO" »


National Cathedral Dean: Homophobia is a Sin

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 4.23.51 PMAs part of a weekend honoring LGBT young people at the Washington National Cathedral, Rev. Gary Hall (pictured right) spoke out against homophobia and heterosexism, denouncing both as 'sin.' The Huffington Post reports:

"We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin," said Dean Hall. He continued, "Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are."

He criticized the role that some churches have in advancing oppression of LGBT youth, saying, "It's more than tragic - in fact it's shameful - that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting out children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence."

Hall's sermon marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard and the third anniversary of the suicide of Tyler Clementi. Both Judy Shepard and Jane Clementi were at the Sunday service to honor their sons' lives. 

Back in January, Rev. Hall announced the prominent Episcopal cathedral would begin celebrating same-sex marriages.

(photo via National Cathedral


Brendon Ayanbadejo Pens Open Letter to Ole Miss on LGBT Inclusivity Following Heckling Incident

Brendon AyanbadejoIn an open letter posted on Fox Sports today, Brendon Ayanbadejo offered to help the University of Mississippi's educational outreach on LGBT inclusivity following reports earlier this week of a mass heckling of a student production of 'The Laramie Project,' the Moises Kaufman play about the Matthew Shepard murder. Approximately 20 Ole Miss football players were involved in the heckling incident, with reports of some calling cast members 'fags.'

Says Ayanbadejo, in part:

The alleged behavior of Ole Miss football players along with freshmen from other sports and students attending the play to fulfill some underclassmen requirements is abhorrent and unacceptable.

I blame the administration as much as I blame the athletes. This is a graphic play and a graphic production. People need to have an idea of what they are getting themselves into.

In no way do I condone this behavior but you need to have a conversation with these athletes when they set foot on any campus as to what is expected from them as representatives of the university.

This is why the work of Athlete Ally and groups like the Gay Straight Alliance, which serves as a bridge for gay and straight students in high school to form an alliance of inclusivity and nondiscriminatory behavior is so important.

Unfortunately everyone was not raised with the morality and values to treat all people equally.

A representative of the Ole Miss athletes allegedly apologized - after being prompted by a member of the school's academic staff - but many didn't quite understand what they were apologizing for. [...]

So before Ole Miss is quick to hand down punishment I would like to see them take a more holistic and proactive approach in educating students and student athletes alike. All you have to do is reach out and I will be happy to discuss how I can help you take the next step."

You can read the full letter HERE

(photo via Instagram)


20 Ole Miss Football Players Heckle 'Laramie Project' Production, Call Students 'Fags'

Approximately 20 Ole Miss football players were involved in a mass heckling incident at a University of Mississippi production of The Laramie Project, the Moises Kaufman play about the Matthew Shepard murder.

The Daily Mississippian reports: Olemiss

According to the play's director and theater faculty member Rory Ledbetter, some audience members used derogatory slurs like "fag" and heckled both cast members and the characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter said the audience's reactions included "borderline hate speech."

The football players were at the play because of a theater course requirement.

Said Ledbetter:

"The football players were certainly not the only audience members that were being offensive last night. But they were definitely the ones who seemed to initiate others in the audience to say things, too. It seemed like they didn't know that they were representing the university when they were doing these things."

Junior theater major Garrison Gibbons said the incident offered a real-life example of the play's subject matter: “I am the only gay person on the cast. I played a gay character in the show, and to be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can’t accept me for who I am.”


Matthew Shepard Foundation Slams New Book Disputing Role Of Anti-Gay Hate In Shepard's Murder

6a00d8341c730253ef0154361338c4970c-250wiThe Matthew Shepard Foundation has denounced a re-telling of the murder of Matthew Shepard put forth by Stephen Jimenez in his new book, The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard. As previously reported, Jimenez, who is gay, argues that it was not anti-gay prejudice that motivated Aaron McKinney to murder Shepard but rather a "drug-fueled rage that had nothing to do with [Matthew's] sexuality." According to Jimenez, "McKinney had been a male hustler, had been familiar with gay guys and gay bars...He really did like having sex with gay guys and...he was not unfamiliar with homosexuality and the gay world." Jimenez also asserts that gay rights advocates were responsible for perpetuating a false narrative that focused on anti-gay hate to help push through hate crime legislation nationally. The New York Daily News reports:

"Attempts now to rewrite the story of this hate crime appear to be based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law," the foundation said in a release [...]

As the book's release date approaches, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which was founded 15 years ago, issued a statement that reaffirms Shepard was "killed in a brutal, anti-gay hate crime.

"We do not respond to innuendo, rumor or conspiracy theories. Instead we remain committed to honoring Matthew's memory, and refuse to be intimidated by those who seek to tarnish it," the statement reads.

This is not the first time someone attempted to change the accepted narrative of Shepard's murder. Back in 2004, ABC's "20/20" ran a controversial report in which McKinney said it was a meth-fueled robbery that ended violently — not a hate crime.

McKinney said he targeted the 21-year-old University of Wyoming freshman because he was well-dressed and assumed he would have a lot of money.

Many gay-rights activists and scholars criticized the "20/20" report arguing it ignored the evidence that anti-gay hatred fueled the brutal Oct. 7, 1998, murder in which Shepard was tied to a fence, tortured and left for dead.


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