Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-10-29
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

GayRomLit retreat meets in Chicagoland GayRomLit retreat

meets in Chicagoland
Authors, publishers, and readers alike convened in Bloomingdale, Illinois, for the fourth ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Judy Shepard shares son's life at Center event
2010-10-06

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


By Tully Satre

"Twelve years ago when Matt died, a lot of people woke up," said Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard. Oct. 12 marks the 12th anniversary of 21-year-old Matthew's brutal murder when he was tortured and left to die, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyo.

Matthew has been on the mind of many in the gay community with the string of media reports on teenagers driven to suicide because of animosities towards their sexual orientation. "Things are still not right," Shepard said, "in the past four weeks there have been several incidents because someone was gay or perceived to be gay."

Judy Shepard was the keynote speaker Sept. 30 at Center on Halsted, as part of the organization's latest program, "H.E.A.L. Ourselves: Opening Eyes, Closing Wounds ( Healing, Engaging, Acting, Lifting ) "—and the event could not be more timely.

Shepard's speech was the highlight of this series of events geared towards, "celebrating advocacy against LGBT hate violence," as motivational speaker Greg Baird stated before introducing Illinois State Sen. John Cullerton.

Cullerton ( president of the Illinois State Senate and the chief sponsor of an LGBT-inclusive Illinois' hate-crime law in 1990 ) introduced Shepard as the evening's speaker, stating that, "There are no guarantees that our statues will change the opinions of the people … that's why we have people like Judy Shepard."

After a brief video clip splicing together the tragic stories of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. ( two infamous 1998 murders triggered by hate ) , Judy Shepard took to the stage amidst applause. With a series of props, including reading glasses ( "I recently joined AARP," Shepard joked ) and a fan ( "I am a woman of a certain age," she explained ) , Shepard had the packed Hoover-Leppen theatre in fits of laughter, lightening the serious tone of the evening.

Shortly after the tragic murder of her son, Judy Shepard started the Matthew Shepard Foundation to share Matthew's story in hopes of "replacing hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance."

The success of the organization has left its mark in the history of the gay-rights movement: Nearly a year ago and over a decade after Matthew's death, President Obama signed the "Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act," adding gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to a federal hate-crime law.

"If you think we pass laws and it is all okay, well, it isn't," Shepard stated, "We still have problems and the key to solving those problems is to share our stories."

"Share our stories" became the mantra for the evening. "You think you can come out once and that you're done?" Shepard asked the crowd,  "Sorry you're not. That's not the case.

The gay community has made it clear that it wants change. That impatience has caused a lot of pressure on the White House, where Obama's administration has been battling with Congress to own up to the ideal of a free and equal country. Shepard had no problem addressing this frustration. "This is not something that President Obama can do alone," she explained, "Partisan politics has gone way overboard."

"If it has escaped anyone's attention here: it's an election year," Shepard continued. "When [ LGBT-supportive officials ] are elected you need to hold their feet to the fire to make sure that's what they do."

Shepard maintained her poise ( as much of the audience became emotional ) while reading, in full, the impact statement she wrote for the trial of her son's killer in 1999. "They learned that it was okay to hate," Shepard explained, "The only way we're going to get rid of those stereotypes is ya'll have got to tell your stories ... gay and straight. You need to make everyone understand that it is okay. It is who you are."

Shepard shared many stories about Matt from his coming out when he was 18 to his stubborn attitude, which Shepard recalled with a smile: "He loved to argue, even when you may have agreed with him." Shepard published a book in 2009 entitled The Meaning of Matthew, in which she shares stories about Matt's life and how it affected her family and the world the night he was murdered.

Shepard opened the floor to questions and comments. One audience member stated, "We wouldn't have a federal hate-crimes law without you," to roaring applause.

Shepard was questioned on a range of topics from homeless youth to religion. She briefly discussed the divide between religion and the gay community and held an intense conversation with one audience member tackling this issue.

Shepard shared a story about a gay couple who told her they had been attending a Catholic Church for 30 years although they were not made welcome by the congregation: No one would sit by them during mass or take communion after them, and they were never invited to any social events within the church. The couple, she explained, refused to find an affirming church "because," they asked, "how else will they understand?"

They make a good point, thought Shepard, emphasizing the importance of sharing and educating, "By voting, by speaking out, by being part of the system ... by telling your story."

Many points throughout the evening echoed the goals and visions of the Matthew Shepard Foundation of promoting diversity and replacing hate with compassion, a value that Shepard pointed out streamed from her Christian beliefs. "You are who you are and that's great because many people gay and straight never know who they are." Shepard continued to recognize the need for people to share their stories, "Don't waste 50 years of your life not sharing your life with people that you love."

Shepard concluded the evening with a classic Native American story about a fight between two wolves: one is evil ( full of anger and arrogance ) and the other is good ( full of peace and love ) —the one that wins? "The one you feed," quoted Shepard to a standing ovation.

More about the Matthew Shepard Foundation is at www.MatthewShepard.org; additional info about Matthew's Place ( for youth ) is at www.MatthewsPlace.com .


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Trans woman of color killed in Indianapolis 2014-10-30
Sociologist C.J. Pascoe talks bullying at Elmhurst College 2014-10-29
Experts, activists discuss hate-crimes laws, prevention 2014-10-23
Intimate partner violence report out 2014-10-22
Man pleads guilty in 2013 anti-gay attack 2014-10-21
NY Appeals Court holds hearing on Lateisha Green hate crime conviction 2014-10-15
Report released on LGBTQ, HIV-affected Intimate Partner Violence 2014-10-15
Two anti-LGBT hate attacks in Brooklyn 2014-10-15
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Workplace fairness 2014-10-14
Sociologist Pascoe on youth and homophobia Oct. 22 2014-10-13
Facebook trying to fix policy 2014-10-08
Influential LGBTs in media; marriage news; anti-trans ad 2014-10-07
LGBT groups to journalists: Stop conflating bigotry and religion 2014-10-03
One night in the area of Austin 2014-10-01
GLSEN to iHeartMedia CEO: Respond to Sean Hannity's comments 2014-09-24
A tale of two murders: Connected or not? 2014-09-24
Mother of Eisha Love: Heartbreak and courage 2014-09-17
Trans* woman claims self-defense in case 2014-09-17
Fifteen groups ask for special U.S. envoy for LGBT rights 2014-09-16
U.S. grants asylum for LGBTI activist John Abdallah Wambere 2014-09-16
American anti-LGBT groups promoting bigotry abroad 2014-09-15
George meets with Inverness gay man after firing 2014-09-10
DOMA cartoon wins prize; Chick-fil-A founder dies 2014-09-09
The Gambia passes new anti-LGBT legislation 2014-09-09
Man fired from church job prepares to meet with George 2014-09-05
Mariano's employee claims he was fired for being gay 2014-09-03
Trans woman, others allege bias at Lakeview diner 2014-09-02
Judy Shepard speaks of new anti-hate initiatives at Center 2014-08-29
Family violence may have led to 8-year old's death 2014-08-28
Hate crime summit Oct. 20 in Chicago 2014-08-27
Boykin discusses Ferguson visit and racism issues 2014-08-24
Detroit police investigate anti-trans hate crimes 2014-08-21
Traffic stop data shows persistent patterns of racial bias 2014-08-14
Wheaton among LGBT-unfriendliest schools 2014-08-13
NCAVP responds to hate violence homicide of Juan Ceballos 2014-08-08
World news: South African murder; police apologize for raid 2014-08-05
Obama urged to reconsider pacts; a killing in Crimea 2014-07-30
Rob Ford says he's not anti-gay; Glee trouble in UK 2014-07-22
Bipartisan International Human Rights Act in the House 2014-07-16
Report shows religious right strategy on LGBT equality 2014-07-16





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Steven Moore dies
 
Strict ID laws could hinder trans voters
 
Neil Patrick news; 'Freeheld' has problem; 'Divas Simply Singing'
 
Music, radio are David Polk's passion, profession
 
Egalite Chicago forum on LGBT activism post marriage equality
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.