The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed

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9781594630576: The Meaning of Matthew: My Son's Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed

The mother of Matthew Shepard shares her story about her son's death and the choice she made to become an international gay rights activist

Today, the name Matthew Shepard is synonymous with gay rights, but before his grisly murder in 1998, Matthew was simply Judy Shepard's son. For the first time in book form, Judy Shepard speaks about her loss, sharing memories of Matthew, their life as a typical American family, and the pivotal event in the small college town that changed everything.

The Meaning of Matthew follows the Shepard family in the days immediately after the crime, when Judy and her husband traveled to see their incapacitated son, kept alive by life support machines; how the Shepards learned of the incredible response from strangers all across America who held candlelit vigils and memorial services for their child; and finally, how they struggled to navigate the legal system as Matthew's murderers were on trial. Heart-wrenchingly honest, Judy Shepard confides with readers about how she handled the crippling loss of her child, why she became a gay rights activist, and the challenges and rewards of raising a gay child in America today.

The Meaning of Matthew not only captures the historical significance and complicated civil rights issues surrounding one young man's life and death, but it also chronicles one ordinary woman's struggle to cope with the unthinkable.

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About the Author:

Judy Shepard is cofounder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is dedicated to social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Shepard speaks across the country on behalf of the foundation.

From AudioFile:

The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, brought violence based on sexual orientation to public view. His mother, determined that Matthew's life should have meaning, has become an activist for the inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crime legislation (the federal act, named for Matthew, was enacted in October 2009) and for gay rights in general. Judy Shepard's narration is consistent with her statements in the book that in various public situations she is determined not to break down--as she wants the focus of the story to be Matthew, not her. Matthew's father delivers the statement he made at the trial of one of the assailants. Both parents read in tightly controlled voices that are poignant and, by the absence of dramatization, tell a haunting story. J.E.M. AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine

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