On October 6th, 1998, Matthew Shepard was murdered in a brutal hate crime. His story has been immortalized in the deeply unsettling play The Laramie Project and has touched countless people across the globe. Now, Matthew's mother is releasing a strongly worded denunciation of Donald Trump as a warning about the power of hate.
“When I see the hate that Donald Trump brings to his campaign for president, it terrifies me," says Judy Shepard in a sternly worded YouTube video. "Words have an influence. Violence causes pain. Hate can rip us apart. I know what can happen as the result of hate, and Donald Trump should never be our president.”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign is using the anniversary of this terrible incident to raise awareness about the prevalence of anti-gay hate crimes. From their website: "More than 20 percent of hate crimes reported nationally in 2014 targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the most recent FBI statistics available. This reporting dramatically undercounts LGBTQ data, as it’s based on local, non-mandatory reporting.
A recent investigation by the Associated Press found that more than 2,700 city police and county sheriff’s departments across the country had not reported a single hate crime to the FBI for the past six years, representing about 17 percent of these law enforcement agencies nationwide."
LGBTQ issues have barely been discussed by the current presidential hopefuls in the official debates, the third of which will air tonight. It will be interesting to see how both candidates respond or fail to respond to concerns from sexual minorities.
[Photo: Screenshot via YouTube]