‘We still teach hate,’ says mother of murdered gay man
Posted on May 8, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
GARY — Judy Shepard doesn’t forgive the men who killed her son, but she doesn’t blame them, either.
Shepard, at Indiana University Northwest on Wednesday night to talk about the torture and murder of her son, Matthew Shepard, said she gets “the forgiveness question” a lot when she talks to groups.
Mostly, she’s just confused by the thought, but what she knows for sure is that the two men who brutally murdered Matthew — Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, who are serving life sentences — weren’t taught any better.
Thus, Shepard has made it her mission in the almost 10 years since his death to teach everyone possible that hate is a learned behavior that needs to be stopped.
“We still teach hate; it has to be a conscious decision to not go there,” said Shepard, invited to speak by IUN’s Center for Regional Excellence and Merrillville High School’s Socially Together and Naturally Diverse organization.
At times comical, Shepard described her home state of Wyoming as “not a hateful place at all,” but it is 96 percent white, with the rest of the 500,000-resident population either Native American or Latino. Even after the murder, Wyoming still hasn’t passed hate-crime legislation that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual specifics, though Laramie, where the murder took place, has an ordinance against it.
Indiana also doesn’t have hate-crime legislation specific to the LGBT community, either, and she pointed out it likely won’t happen until something is passed at the federal level. Nevertheless, she remains hopeful. See ‘We still teach hate,’ says mother of murdered gay man
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