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Matthew Shepard – in his mother’s words

Matthew Shepard Foundation

25 years ago, a gay college student was savagely beaten, tied to a fence post, and left out to die on a cold Wyoming night. His grief-stricken mother worked to expand hate crime laws. Hear her story.

In October 1998, gay college freshman Matthew Shepard was savagely beaten, tied to a fence post, and left outside on a cold night near Laramie, Wyoming. He died in a hospital five days later. His murder shocked the world.

Through his grief-stricken mother Judy Shepard’s efforts, sexual orientation and gender identity were added to federal hate crimes laws in 2009. She was driven by her son’s killing to campaign for LGBTQ rights and anti-violence in general.

She and her husband Dennis created the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the related MatthewsPlace.com, a platform of stories by and for LGBTQ+ youth.

Hear Judy's story in this 2009 conversation with Out in the Bay when on tour with her book The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed. We bring it to you again now, on this sad anniversary, in memory of Matthew and to honor Judy and her family

Matthew Shepard was far from the first queer person killed because of who he was, and tragically there have been many more since. We’ve made much progress since 1998, but recently we’ve seen more physical and political attacks against LGBTQ people - trans folk especially - and other communities.
On Oct. 5, 2023, Out in the Bay‘s Eric Jansen hosted a live on-air discussion with national and state LGBTQ+ leaders about the progress and setbacks since Matthew’s murder and what we can do to protect our civil rights and safety. Hear that conversation here: (https://www.outinthebay.org/25-years-after-matthew-shepard-where-are-we-now/)

Please help us keep bringing queer air to your ears. Out in the Bay is an independent non-profit production. We receive no funds from podcast platforms nor from radio stations that air Out in the Bay weekly. Your gift will help keep LGBTQ voices and stories coming to you and others who might not be able to give. (Donate tabs on our website will take you to a Media Alliance interface. Media Alliance is our non-proft 501(c)3 fiscal agent. Your gift will be earmarked for Out in the Bay.)

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Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.