Gay college freshman Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence post and left to die on a cold night in Wyoming in October 1998. His murder shocked the nation.

On what would have been Matt’s 22nd birthday less than two months later – December 1, 1998 – his family launched the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Through their efforts, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity were added to federal hate crimes law in 2009. We’ve seen other advancements since then.

But recently, we’ve seen increasing political and physical attacks against LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender people. Where are we now?

Out in the Bay founder Eric Jansen hosted a live call-in discussion on KALW’s Queer Power Hour about the ups and downs since Matthew’s murder and what we can do now to protect civil rights and safety for LGBTQ+ people.

In this panel discussion, we hear from experts Melanie Willingham-Jaggers of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Brandon Wolf of the Human Rights Campaign; Shelby Chestnut of the Transgender Law Center; and Tom Temprano of Equality California and Silver State Equality.

Bonus! After the panel convo, we hear a “quicky” commentary from Jim Van Buskirk. He recounts snickering and shame in his childhood partly because of how he spoke. We’re glad that, looking back, he was able to find at least a little humor in it.

To honor Matthew and Judy Shepard on this solemn anniversary, we have also re-posted our 2009 conversation with Judy. It is among Out in the Bay‘s most emotional and inspiring interviews in our 15-year history. We encourage you to hear her story. We also encourage you to check out, a platform of stories by and for LGBTQ+ youth.

Please help us keep bringing queer air to your earsOut in the Bay is an independent non-profit production. We receive no funds from podcast platforms nor from radio stations that air Out in the Bay weekly. Your gift will help keep LGBTQ voices and stories coming to you and others who might not be able to give. (Donate tabs on our website will take you to a Media Alliance interface. Media Alliance is our non-proft 501(c)3 fiscal agent. Your gift will be earmarked for Out in the Bay.)

This edition of Out in the Bay on KALW’s Queer Power Hour was produced by Kendra Klang and hosted and co-produced by Eric Jansen; audio clip editing and creative input by David Kwan; Tarik Ansari was KALW’s studio engineer for our live broadcast.

Comments are closed.