Remembering Matthew Shepard
25 years ago, we lost Matthew Shepard to a brutal and harrowing assault that shook our collective conscience. This beautiful young man, who fearlessly lived as an openly gay individual, had his life stolen by the poison of hatred. As I reflect upon his tragic legacy today, I'm haunted by a troubling question: How many more of our lovely souls will endure a similar fate?
The LGBTQ+ community deserves more than the progress we have witnessed thus far. Our transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive family members, especially our BIPOC community members, deserve to live authentically without fear. Our young people deserve an education free from censorship and erasure. We deserve lives filled with dignity, joy, and above all, safety. I long for a world where every corner feels like home, a place where we can be unapologetically ourselves.
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion for "The Laramie Project" at the Arvada Center and spoke with parents who voiced their concerns about the safety of their child. Their worries reminded me of Judy Shepard's loving words at a time of tremendous pain:
"Go home, give your kids a hug, and don't let a day go by without telling them that you love them."
These words resonate deeply in our hearts, and our community needs to hear these words every single day. We want you to know that we love you, we see you, and we are unwaveringly committed to fighting for you.