Today marks the 13th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder. Let us all take a moment to remember the steps it has taken to elevate gay hate crimes to national conversation and Shepard’s death as a catalyst to this discussion. Will Kohler at Back2Stonewall offers a touching memorial today – an excerpt that I am cross-posting here. Please be sure to see the full article at Will’s place.
13 years this morning Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field not far from Larmamie, Wyoming when in the distance he spotted what he thought was a scarecrow tied to fence overlooking a lonely ridge.¬† As Aaron moved closer horror overtook him when he realized that the scarecrow was not a scarecrow at all but the body of a man, a boy really who had been brutally beaten, and tied to the fence crucifiction style and left to die.
That boy was Matthew Shepard.
The night before¬†on October 6, 1998,¬†Matthew met Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson for the first time at the Fireside Lounge in Laramie, Wyoming..¬† Matthew was a friendly boy and the three struck up a conversation.¬† McKinney and Henderson offered Matthew a ride home. But¬†McKinney and Henderson had other ideas.¬† Realizing that Matthew was gay the¬†hatched a plan to play along that they¬†were gay also and after Matthew got in the car¬†they instead drove to¬†desolate remote, rural area and proceeded to rob, pistol-whip, and torture him mercilessly and left him to die.
RIP, Matthew Shepard.