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social sciences

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Shepard, Matthew (1976-1998)  
 
page: 1  2  3  

In recent years, as more and more pressure mounted to pass federal hate crimes legislation, Shepard has been the victim of defamation by right-wing politicians and conservative religious figures.

For example, in the House of Representatives in 2009, Republican Representative Virginia Fox, in a speech characterized by Keith Olbermann as "the most despicable thing said on the floor of the House in decades," declared that Shepard was not killed because he was gay and that the story of his death is "really a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these [hate crime] bills."

Sponsor Message.

Despite the efforts to discredit Shepard, hate crimes legislation finally passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on October 28, 2009, eight years after first being introduced. The bill is named the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The hate crimes bill was the first federal legislation that specifically recognized the civil rights of glbtq people. Fittingly, the parents of Shepard were invited to the signing ceremony.

Upon the passage of the bill, Judy Shepard issued the following statement: "When Dennis and I started calling 10 years ago for federal action to prevent and properly prosecute hate crimes against gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans, we never imagined it would take this long. The legislation went through so many versions and so many votes that we had to constantly keep our hopes in check to keep from getting discouraged. . . . We are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly."

Nikolai Endres

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Gay-Straight Alliances

Gay-straight alliances are youth-led, school- or community-based groups designed to assist glbtq students, children from glbtq families, and heterosexual students who want to be allies of their glbtq peers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gaybashing

Violence perpetrated against people thought by their attackers to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered occurs with disturbing frequency in the United States and other countries.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophobia

Homophobia was originally defined as a "dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals," but it is now sometimes used to describe any form of anti-gay bias.

social sciences >> Overview:  Parades and Marches

Both parades and marches have served to render the glbtq community visible; whereas marches typically attempt to effect political change, parades and pride events affirm identity and community.

social sciences >> Overview:  Rural Life

Rural life offers both challenges and satisfactions for glbtq people.

arts >> DeGeneres, Ellen

No matter how great her contribution to the world of comedy, Ellen DeGeneres will probably be best remembered as the first lesbian to star as a lesbian on her own network television show.

arts >> Etheridge, Melissa

Award-winning rock singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge has not only managed to carve out a spectacularly successful career as a popular mainstream performer, but she has also become a lesbian icon and activist for gay and lesbian causes.

arts >> Feinstein, Michael

American pianist and singer Michael Feinstein has had a lifelong fascination with the popular music of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.

arts >> Indigo Girls

One of the most successful folk/pop duos in recording history, Indigo Girls (consisting of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers) have earned the fierce loyalty of their fans, many of whom are lesbians.

arts >> John, Sir Elton

Pop superstar Elton John's combination of melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and raucous performance style have make him a remarkably popular musical artist.

arts >> Kaufman, Moisés

Award-winning writer and director Moisés Kaufman specializes in theatrical works that explore watershed moments in glbtq history, such as the Wilde scandal, the murder of Matthew Shepard, and the experience of East Berlin transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf.

arts >> Lane, Nathan

Highly-acclaimed actor Nathan Lane is not only openly gay himself, but has portrayed gay characters in several plays and films.

social sciences >> Maloney, Sean Patrick

Long a champion of glbtq and progressive causes, Sean Patrick Maloney was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2012 to become the first openly gay U.S. Representative from New York state.

arts >> Mapa, Alec

Alec Mapa has enjoyed success as an actor and on the comedy circuit. He is also an activist for glbtq rights.

social sciences >> Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), an American organization of some 460 affiliated chapters and 80,000 members, works to support glbtq people and their loved ones.

social sciences >> Robinson, V. Gene

The Right Reverend Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be consecrated a bishop of the Episcopal Church, has earned strong support from members of his diocese, but has become a lightning rod for conservatives within the Anglican Communion.


    Bibliography
   

Allen, Dennis W., and Judith Roof. "Star Search: Psychoanalysis and Marxism in Lesbian and Gay Studies." Professions and Conversations on the Future of Literary and Cultural Studies. Donald E. Hall, ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001: 131-56.

The American Behavioral Scientist 45.4 (Dec. 2001) and 46.1 (Sept. 2002). Special issues devoted to Matthew Shepard.

Connolly, Catherine. "Matthew's Murderers' Defense." Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 8.1 (Jan.-Feb. 2001): 22-26.

Gibson, Scott, ed. Blood & Tears: Poems for Matthew Shepard. New York: Painted Leaf Press, 1999.

Loffreda, Beth. Losing Matt Shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

Normand, Sasha. "The Parable of Matthew: Identity Politics, Politics of Desire, and the Politics of Performance." Journal of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Identity 4.4 (1999): 315-26.

Ott, Brian L., and Eric Aoki. "The Politics of Negotiating Public Tragedy: Media Framing of the Matthew Shepard Murder." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 5.3 (Fall 2002): 483-505.

Swigonski, Mary E., Robin S. Mama, and Kelly Ward, eds. From Hate Crimes to Human Rights: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard. New York: Harrington Park Press/Haworth Social Work Practice Press, 2001; published simultaneously as Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services 13.1-2 (2001).

Tigner, Amy L. "The Laramie Project: Western Pastoral." Modern Drama 45.1 (Spring 2002): 138-56.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Endres, Nikolai  
    Entry Title: Shepard, Matthew  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated October 7, 2011  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/shepard_m.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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