Blackwell Library

2013-2014 New Student Reader

Meaning of Matthew Book Cover

About the Book

The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 in Laramie, WY, brought violence based on sexual orientation to public view. His mother Judy, 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. In The Meaning of Matthew, Shepard shares grief she and her family experienced while standing by her son’s side in the hospital, where only life support machines kept him alive, and the crippling loss they experienced when he died.

The New York Times bestseller also delves into the Shepards’ emotions when they learned of candlelight vigils and memorial services held for their son across the nation, the incredible response they received from strangers and the legal struggles they faced as the murderers went to trial. In addition, Shepard explains why she became a gay rights activist and the challenges and rewards of raising a gay child in the United States today.  

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.