Sharing – Matthew Shepard

Because sharing is caring – and because I am too mentally fatigued to try to write anything original – I am sharing this article on the murder of Matthew Shepard approximately 20 years ago.

Matthew was a young man with a promising future. And he was gay. This latter aspect was enough for two men to think he deserved to die.

It’s a disturbing story in many ways, not least of which is the defense that one of the killers attempted to employ – the “gay panic” defense. Apparently, this refers to being so freaked out at being hit on by a gay person that you feel that murdering them is an appropriate response. The article doesn’t provide any indication of how successful this defense has been, but it does point out that it is still a legal defense in most states.

The absurdity of the defense is plain. Imagine if women could employ a similar defense for killing unwanted male suitors… It would never fly. The only reason anyone can even think to employ such a ridiculous defense is that the LGBTQ community is STILL perceived as “other” or less than a full person.

As a passing reference to a question previously posed: if your religion tells you that being gay isn’t ok, it’s your right (in the US) to believe that. If you put that belief into action by denying a gay person access to basic civil liberties and civil rights, you are no better than these killers.

Matthew Shepard: The legacy of a gay college student 20 years after his brutal murder – ABC News