In the Poudre Valley Hospital on Oct. 12, 1998, family members and Fort Collins residents watched as Matthew Shepard passed away in a coma after being tortured, tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyo., and left to die for being gay.
The nation watched on too.
Since the event that rattled humanity to the core, the push throughout the years for anti-hate discussions and awareness has reverberated in the media and legislation. Yet even after 10 years, the need for change and understanding among our communities remains apparent.
National tragedies should not be compulsory for us to look at the intolerance and deep-seated biases that still affect the country and the day-to-day lives of millions of people. From 2006 to 2007, the GLBT community alone faced a 24 percent increase in the total victims who reported anti-LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) violence to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, according to a NCAVP report.
“The increases we have witnessed in 2007 indicate hate violence against LGBTQ people may again be on the rise,” the NCAVP said at the conclusion of its report.
Hate, discrimination, intolerance and even extreme acts of violence are still committed around our nation and world as Fort Collins still absorbs effects of visible or buried cases. The CSU campus is not immune, and it can never be acceptable to relax our vigilance in discerning these truths.
Protections for sexual orientation and gender identity are still excluded from anti-hate legislation at the federal and many state levels. Never can we let go of the conversations, investigations, initiatives and questions that will always be relevant to our progress.