Friday, October 23, 2009

Hate Crime Bill Passes

Last night in class we talked about men in families and I wanted to take this opportunity to share my overwhelming gratitude for Matthew Shepard's family. I briefly touched on the idea that family should mean the people who love and accept you for who you are, even if this does not line up with biological kinship networks. Judy and Dennis Shepard show us how unconditional this love can and should be. For more than a decade they have unrelentlessly fought for a bill that would include gender representation and sexuality under hate crime legislation so that this cannot happen to other people. Since high school I have participated in this fight for protection everyone should already have under our constitution. After eleven grueling years, it was announced that this bill will be signed by President Obama by the end of the month.

Dennis Shepard demonstrates what fatherhood can should mean. Pride in the face of shame, adversity, and hate. Pride and unconditional love for his son who was violtently taken away from his family because his killers we insecure in their own masculinity. We cannot settle for tolerance and we cannot believe that homophobia is a necessary and inevitable characterisitc of being a man (whatever that means). Men can and should be able to support other men's interests and love other men romantically or fraternally without fear of bodily harm or death. Dennis Shepard can tell us that.

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