A biography written by Judy Shepard, The Meaning of Matthew, is a story that will move you to tears and to action.
Matthew Shepard was twenty-one years old when he was beaten and left for dead, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. He died October 12th, 1998. But why did this happen? Why was this twenty-one year old college student attacked by two other men? Matthew Shepard was gay. But he was so much more than that. He was a son, a brother, and a friend. Judy Shepard’s book shares the life of her son before he became known to the world. From colicky baby to restless teenager, Judy Shepard recalls moments in her family’s life not previously shared with the rest of the world.
I have read this book several times and each time is like the first. The wide range of emotions when reading this book is so unbelievable and as a reader it is almost impossible to understand what Matthew’s family was feeling. It is a small glimpse into their life that makes you want to take action. Reading about their life before everything happened, to the night they got that phone call, to the trial of Matthew’s attackers, you can’t help but want to do something about the injustice of it when you read this book. And that is exactly what Matthew’s family has done. LGBT+ Activists, they have been fighting for equality and trying to make the world a safer place for people before what happened to their son happens to someone else. This includes trying to pass a bill for The Matthew Shepard Act which you can read more about here.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, even those who don’t typically read biographies. It is one of those books that, even if it’s not normally what would appeal to you, I feel it’s important for people to read this. It is a story that needs to be shared to prevent it from happening again.
You can read more about Matthew Shepard here.
You can also check out The Trevor Project if you’re an LGBT+ youth and struggling with anything
Have you read The Meaning of Matthew? Have you ever read a book that moved you to take action?
I would also like to give a huge congratulations to the state of Wyoming for becoming the most recent state to legalize gay marriage!