This doesn’t feel as raw as it did the first time, but I still go back through the memories of everything I felt that week, when I was in Bloomington, Indiana, and all the attention was on Laramie, Wyoming.
With distance – both in terms of time (16 years now!) and distance (5,019 miles/ 8077 km) – come inherent dampening. Younger people – gay or not – don’t viscerally know who Matthew Shepard is and the (unfortunate) role that he plays in Queer History. Germans my age might not know as much about him – although his impact was global, certainly the majority of the impact was within the boundaries of the United States.
But remembering him and his pointless, untimely, death is something that I do.
Even as same sex marriage is (finally) being made available to Americans (albeit slowly), I still get the privilege of seeing facebook “friends” of friends tell us that the federal government shouldn’t be telling local governments that have banned same sex marriage that the ban is unconstitutional – and that the right to same sex marriage is just like gun control laws. (There’s a certain lack of intelligence, logic, and empathy….)
I shouldn’t let this get under my skin – I should be magnanimous toward the less well educated. (How on earth did they never take a class on US Government? Or if they did, how could such a class omit the concept of “Judicial Review,” as well as the checks and balances built into the three-branch set-up of American government? It boggles the imagination.)
Sorry, I digress.
Today I’ll be wallowing a bit in things Wyoming and things about Matthew Shepard. Re-reading October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (a set of poetry), re-watching the HBO production of The Laramie Project, and – early in the morning – listening to a little bit of Cowboy football (the team is playing at Hawaii, and although the game is Saturday for them, for me, it is first thing Sunday morning.) There will be some brown and gold in my life, as well as some Jason Collins (Number 98!).