Finally! 11 years after Matthew Shepard’s death, the legislation bearing his name has finally made it through Congress and on to the President’s desk. The Republicans, of course, fought it all along the way but despite their best efforts America has arrived in the 21st century. It saddens me that Senator Kennedy isn’t here to see this come to fruition, after all of his years fighting for it.
I do wish that the bill could have been sent through Congress on its own accord, but attaching it to a defense bill was the safest bet for getting it through and the Democrats did the right thing in doing so.
Matthew’s parents Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to see this happen and I have enormous respect for both of them. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Judy at a Soulforce event protesting Focus on the Family and their hurtful, dangerous rhetoric. She was incredibly sweet and genuine and my heart broke all over again for this women who was thrust into a role that no parent would ever wish for. Hate took her son from her she chose to go on and fight that hate, She is my personal hero because of it.
Today as I watched the above videos I stumbled upon this great video which contains the statement that Dennis Shepard gave during the trial of one of Matthew’s murderers. The audio is from the movie “The Laramie Project”. It is incredibly moving.
I just happened upon this video and it’s very fitting when considering my previous post. We must work harder to create safe havens for LGBT individuals around the world, until that day when all people are loved, accepted, and safe in their home.
I’ve been haunted lately by the images of teenagers Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni as they wept and waited for their execution, pleading for their lives. There are questions about their case, and whether or not they were executed for their consensual homosexual acts or not, but regardless, hundreds of people are executed in Iran and other places for simply being who they are.
There are people and organizations working to make change around the world. Please consider joining up with Amnesty International and making a recurring donation. When atrocities like these and in many other categories appear around the globe Amnesty is always there fighting for justice, peace, and human rights. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for Amnesty International, and if I’m lucky maybe someday I will work for them.
So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here but something happened tonight that is just the kind of thing that gets me to blog. I recently met a guy named Alex and tonight when we were talking I found out his story. He’s 27, has lived in Colorado for 3 years and is from Peru. He’s gay and is out here but is not at a point where he feels he can tell his family or anyone back home. He’s living here illegally; he overstayed a work visa.
I used to be a right-wing crazy who would go nuts over this kind of stuff, then I became a very conflicted and confused “moderate” who didn’t know quite what to do about these things but still strongly felt “they” should all go back and do it legally. Now I’m a bleeding heart liberal who wants us to throw open our arms and our borders and actually live by “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Why does Alex want to live in America so badly? He wants to fall in love and be able to live openly and without fear in a same sex relationship. As we spoke tonight he sadly told me about a close friend of his that was arrested for his immigration status almost 3 months ago. His friend is from Morocco and is desperate to stay here because he can be jailed for his sexuality if he is sent back home. He applied for amnesty based on his sexual orientation and was denied. He appealed and was in the middle of the detailed and exhaustive process when he was was picked up and taken to jail for his illegal status. He was shipped to a jail near Colorado Springs and remains there almost three months later.
I know we must have immigration laws; I understand that reality, but this is not the answer. This man is in jail and will likely be sent back to a very unfriendly country where he may be imprisoned for who he is and we don’t consider that important enough for him to stay.
It appears that two weeks after the election where she lost by a glorious twelve percentage points, she is still refusing to concede the race and congratulate her opponent, Betsy Markey. I’ve known for a while that this woman is shameless and just plain mean, but this is even surprising to me.
Furthermore, she has been listed on Newsweek’s The Dignity Index as a 78 out of 100. Newsweek had this to say: “Despite losing her re-election bid by 12 points, Colorado GOP Rep. Marilyn Musgrave refuses to congratulate her opponent or even concede the race,”
This woman has been an enemy of my right to happiness and equality, and I am filled with much joy that the fair-minded people of Colorado’s 4th Congression District have spoken loudly and have boldly silenced Marilyn’s fearmongering and hatred.