2013-2014 New Student Reader
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.