Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Matthew Sheppard
Matthew Shepard

Seventeen years ago today, Matthew* stopped into the Fireside Bar in Laramie, Wyo., to take a break from his studies at home. By the following morning, a family, and a nation, was changed forever by an act of senseless violence. We continue to grieve and share Matt’s story with the world, and every October we are reminded of the strength we have because of you, our supporters. Even after 17 years, the Foundation, through its programs and partnerships, has never been more necessary and has never reached more people in need than it does today. With each passing year, we honor Matt by continuing to achieve monumental steps toward true equality, and we honor you for making it possible. We remember Matt and all those who have suffered discrimination, harm and loss at the hands of bigotry and hatred, and we continue our work to prevent others from experiencing a similar fate. -- Matthew Shepard Foundation

* Matthew Wayne "Matt" Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was a gay American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming on the night of October 6, 1998, and died six days later at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, on October 12, from severe head injuries. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with murder following Shepard's death. Significant media coverage was given to what role Shepard's sexual orientation played in the killing. (Wikipedia)

Christopher Stout Gallery Opens With a Show
Focused on ‘Queer Hate Crime’

“Shepard” at Christopher Stout Gallery
“Shepard” at Christopher Stout Gallery
The centerpiece of the gallery’s inaugural show, Shepard by Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, is a massive, meticulously crafted porcelain replica of the iconic fence Matthew Shepard (the victim of a notorious hate crime) was bound to before he was tortured and left for dead back in 1998. Not easy-to-swallow material, to say the least.
Shepard is a weighty, imposing piece. It occupies the entire main room of the gallery not just in physical presence, but in its emotional weight. The structure resembles white painted wood so closely, I was shocked to hear all 52 individual pieces that make up the 14 logs are porcelain.
“The thing that’s striking to me as an artist, is that it’s this huge porcelain object,” Phoenix explained. “When you think of porcelain you think of nice china or dinner plates, something like that. It’s an everyday, common material– we all have coffee mugs– but here it’s really elevated to pay homage, to honor, and to respect.”
It’s impossible not to meditate on the pain and sense of loneliness and hopelessness Matthew Shepard probably felt in his last moments spent bound to a fence just like this one. But Phoenix doesn’t exactly see it that way...
Click here to read the full article

“Shepard” at Christopher Stout Gallery
“Shepard” at Christopher Stout Gallery

Source: Bedford and Bowery, Nicole Disser, Oct. 5, 2015

Growing up is hard.
I spent a lot of my youth hiding who I was deep in the closet. From growing up in small-town Arkansas, I remember what it's like to not know a single other gay person. Now, I think about the LGBT youth that lie awake and stare at the ceiling for hours, dreading the next day at school or worrying that their parents will reject them.
Today, teens have the Internet. And, the HRC community can provide answers.
That's why, as part of HRC's new Campaign for Youth, we are collecting personal advice to share with teens.
Please submit a piece of advice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.
We’re going to put our top ten favorites in an HRC blog post and on social media so teens everywhere can read what HRC supporters like you have to say.
If I could, I would tell my 15-year-old self that even though I felt alone, I wasn't. And, it’s okay to be gay — people will still love you.
What advice would you give to today's LGBT youth?
Teens struggling to come to terms with their gender identity or sexual orientation have questions — and people like you have answers. Your own story can give them hope, and show them that everything will turn out okay.
Let's share our wisdom with today's youth — so they aren't afraid to embrace who they are.
Thank you,
Chad Griffin
Human Rights Campaign

P.S. It still haunts me that I didn't have the courage to come out to my dad while he was still alive. I'm hopeful that our work — and our words — will help more kids gain the confidence to be open with their friends and families. Thanks for joining me in our Campaign for Youth.