Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Friday, April 17, 2009

Unforgettable Pride Moment Number Three

In 1998 we witnessed two of the most tragic, incomprehensible, senseless acts I've had the misfortune to learn about. The murders of Matthew Shephard and James Byrd happened within months of each other. The common thread between these two events is that they were both fueled by hatred. The hatred was aimed at the individual, it was aimed at the communities these individuals belonged to.

Matthew Shepard was killed because he was gay. He met two individuals in a bar and he thought he could trust them. He was ruthlessly beaten and left for dead in a field. James Byrd was on his way home and ran into three people that he knew. They offered him a ride. These three individuals beat him, chained him by the legs and tied him to the back of their pick and dragged his lifeless body until he was decapited.

The public outcry was extreme and these events catipulted the passing of hate crime legislation to hopefully deter incidents like these from happening again. The candlelight vigil held in Phoenix honored and remembered both Matthew Shephard and James Byrd. It was one of the few times I've noticed the LGBT community honor something that was not totally inclusive of LGBT. Usually if there is nothing gay about it then we don't care about it. For the above reason, the Matthew Shephard/ James Byrd canlelight vigil comes in at number three on my list of unforgettable pride moments. You can see more photos from this special night here.

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