My name is Matthew Shepard. Like any other young adult, I’ve gotten into my fair share of
trouble; I have been out partying and I’ve experimented with different substances, but I have never
been a violent person. None of my issues had ever stemmed from any hatred I felt towards anyone, but
the rest of the world isn’t like that. There is far too much animosity in society, and it finally reached me.
Because of others’ hatred, I am dead. I died in October of 1998 because I had been tied to a fence and
beaten with both fists and a gun until my brain stem was damaged and I couldn’t feel anything.
Thankfully, that included the pain. If you do not already know, October nights in Wyoming are freezing.
Needless to say, it did nothing to better my condition.
From where I stand now, I have been able to see the court hearings for the two men who
murdered me. I have seen Westboro Baptist Church make unwarranted visits to those hearings, as well
as to my funeral. I watched as they held up their signs “God Hates Fags,” and “Matthew is in Hell, Thank
God.” I can do nothing but watch from a distance and hope things get better, not just for my family who
had always been supportive of my sexuality, but for others who are experiencing hate crimes first hand
I was not killed because I had hurt anyone or had done anything wrong. I am no longer a part of
this world simply because I was gay. Thankfully, I can see that my death has impacted many people and
showed them the terrible atrocities that occur when hatred is held within.
“The Meaning of Matthew” is an enlightening story told by a mother grieving over the loss of
her son due to a very heinous attack on his sexuality. I encourage anyone to read this book, no matter
what your opinion on homosexuality is. It might just open your eyes to the world’s potential to be a
better place with tolerance, acceptance, and love of any kind.