Even after 16 years, the name and story of Matthew Shepard, whose murder, carved into American history, represented a watershed moment that forever changed the conversation about the LGBT experience, not only still resonate but continue to have an impact.
For the past year and half I have worked on a documentary entitled Facing Fear, which tells the story of a gay teenager who was beaten by neo-Nazis and left for dead. Like Sasha Fleischman, Matthew Boger was attacked because of his perceived sexual orientation.
What's up with people who oppose hate crime laws? How can you be against laws that protect people from being targeted because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation or gender identity? Well, here's how.
Before Jason Collins revealed that he is gay, I suppose I'd never really pondered the amount of courage it takes, even in this day and age, to come out of the closet. And it does take more than a fair amount.
I will hold my husband's hand in public, because to silence me is what they want. I will kiss him goodbye in the morning in the public square, because it is right. I will continue to wrap my arm around his shoulder so that someday LGBT people won't have to ask themselves, "Is this safe?"
Although the increasing visibility of LGBT people and gains in equality may be associated with short-term rises in homophobic violence, these changes are merely triggers. We must move beyond superficial and individualistic analyses of such heinous events and target their root causes.
I finally saw a map depicting the last six instances of gay-targeting hate crimes in Manhattan since April 1. Young men beaten into unconsciousness. Killed. All in places that I've considered part of my home, or my neighborhood, or where I've met friends time and time again.
It should be an alarm that alerts us to the complacency that has enveloped us and force us to refocus on anti-LGBT hate crimes. It should generate a renewed dialogue about why a gay man can be shot dead in plain sight in the street simply because of who he is.
I believe that we're seeing the tortured last battle of an anti-gay subset of our society that knows that it's losing the culture war. what do angry, ignorant people do when they feel that they no longer have control? They use their angry words, their fists, their guns and their knives.