The mother of Matthew Shepard reacts to President Obama’s LGBT evolution

Judy Shepard: 'I thank President Obama everyday for his compassion and empathy for all Americans'

The mother of Matthew Shepard reacts to President Obama’s LGBT evolution
25 May 2012

In the campaign video released this week highlighting his accomplishments on behalf of LGBT equality, President Barack Obama singled out the mother of Matthew Shepard whose 1998 hate crime murder shocked the nation.

After her son’s death, Judy Shepard worked tirelessly for passage of a bill that expands federal hate-crimes legislation to include sexual orientation. It was signed into law by Obama in 2009.

Says Obama in the video: ‘Meeting people like Judy Shepard, and not only hearing the heartbreaking tragedy of Matthew but also the strength and determination she brought to make sure that never happens to young people anywhere in the country again … those stories made me passionate about the issue.’

Shepard was asked by The Atlantic what it feels like when a president declares publicly that he’s been moved by your story and what goes through your mind when you realize that your family’s tragedy has helped change American law and policy?

‘I am humbled and grateful that something good has come from losing Matt,’ Shepard said via email. ‘But it wasn’t this one incident or just our story that changed things. It was many people and other unfortunate incidents. If it was Matt’s story that resonated, I’m gratified something came from it. In my thoughts and prayers, I thank President Obama everyday for his compassion and empathy for all Americans.’

She added: ‘I think the basic notion of ‘telling your story’ to educate the public at large helped the president come to his understanding of what ‘love’ is. Hearing the stories of LBGT friends and colleagues in regard to the inequities facing them in their everyday lives has had an impact on the president’s views. The more anyone knows about the situations facing the LBGT community the more they understand about the inequality and legal discrimination and the more they want to help set things right. Matthew’s story opened the eyes of folks in both the gay and straight world in regard to the violence and hatred facing members of the LGBT community.’



No thumbnail available

Louisiana hopes to pass a religious freedom law tougher than Indiana's

'This is simply about protecting the essential religious freedom rights in the First Amendment'
No thumbnail available

Straight Pride posters appear on Ohio university campus

'Celebrate by not annoying the shit out of everyone about your sexuality'
No thumbnail available

UKIP leader Nigel Farage's top aide sorry for calling trans women 'she-males'

Says he is 'horrified' by how transphobic he was when he made that statement
No thumbnail available

It's Rosie versus Letterman

Rosie O'Donnell accuses David Leterman of being 'anti-gay' and 'anti-tow truck driver'
No thumbnail available

Arkansas governor surprises by refusing to sign anti-gay 'religious liberty' bill in current form

Asa Hutchinson says his own son signed a petition demanding a veto
No thumbnail available

British cops tell gay kids: it gets better

Assistant Chief Constable Steph Morgan says the British police have changed and now want to encourage LGBT teens to trust them
No thumbnail available

Rugby referee defended after receiving anti-gay tweet

The culprit claims his phone was stolen before the message was sent
No thumbnail available

Modern Family wins best comedy show at the Emmys

Sitcom featuring gay couple takes four Primetime Emmy awards last night
No thumbnail available

First LGBTI clinic opens in Uganda

Gay rights activists have opened up a clinic to treat people with HIV/AIDs
No thumbnail available

Yachts and Things, an unpublished work by author Truman Capote, surfaces

Thought to be part of Capote's final unfinished novel