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25 years since Matthew Shepard: where are we now?

In October 1998, a gay college student was savagely beaten, tied to a fence post, and left outside to die on a cold night in Wyoming. Matthew Shepard's murder shocked the world. Where are we now with LGBTQ civil rights?

Through his mother Judy's efforts, sexual orientation and gender identity were added to federal hate crimes laws in 2009. Yet now we’re seeing more attacks against queer people, especially transgender people of color.

Out in the Bay founder Eric Jansen hosted a live call-in discussion on KALW's Queer Power Hour about the ups and downs since Matthew’s murder and what we can do now to protect civil rights and safety for LGBTQ people.

In this October 5, 2023, panel discussion we hear from LGBTQ experts and leaders Melanie Willingham-Jaggers of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Brandon Wolf of the Human Rights Campaign; Shelby Chestnut of the Transgender Law Center; and Tom Temprano of Equality California and Silver State Equality.

To honor Matthew and Judy Shepard, we have also re-posted our 2009 conversation with Judy. It is among Out in the Bay's most emotional and inspiring interviews ever. We encourage you to hear her story.

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.