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.