When Wishes Come True – Hate Crimes Legislation Passes Senate

When Wishes Come True – Hate Crimes Legislation Passes Senate

October 22, 2009 Featured Hate Crimes LGBT News 5

matthew-shepard-head-shot3The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act just passed the Senate.  If Obama signs the legislation, it will be the first inclusive federal law on the books.

Today is also my birthday and this morning I joked on my Facebook that it would be fantastic if my birthday wish for passage of the Hate Crimes bill by the Senate came true.

A few moments ago, my wish became a reality.

I remember when Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay.  It’s as clear to me today as it was then.  I remember the vigils, the hope and the fear.  On October 11th, 2009, the day before the 11th anniversary of Matthew’s death, I stood only a few feet away from Judy Shepard.  I looked up at her and saw my own mother staring back as she said, “My son was murdered by hate.”

I remember when I came out to my mother, she started crying.  She was terrified for my safety, but I was young and immortal.  A few months ago we had the conversation again – the one about my safety.  Then I had the conversation with a friend, and another friend, and another… seems there is a lot of concern for this gay man’s safety simply because I’m a gay man.

I also remember when, in a small east Texas town just a few hours drive from me, James Byrd was tied to the back of a truck and dragged down the road because he was a black man.  I marched on Austin, Texas shortly thereafter with about 500 brave people willing to march that cold and rainy day.  We demanded, “Stop the Hate! Stop the Violence!”

The stories of victims of hate crimes could easily be my story, or your story.  Judy Shepard could have been my mother – or rather, my mother could have been Judy Shepard.

When I quipped on Facebook that I would love my birthday wish to come true, I thought I would be celebrating the victory.  Instead, I find myself drifting back to 11 years, 10 days ago when the world was told that Matthew Shepard did not survive.  I remember the profound and lingering effect his death had on me.  I remember my fear and how I allowed that fear to rule me for far too long.

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5 Responses

  1. Jude says:

    Happy Birthday Jay! Please wish for something else:)

  2. Pat Mumme says:

    Jason, as your mother and friend, you can never imagine how much I love you. Your love for all you believe surpasses any thing that I could have wished. I know that when we talk, you feel the stress in my voice, but know that it is out of my love for you. I do not believe any harm will come from you taking a stand for the things you believe in. I have three sons and all of you are so precious. My only hope is that you know the love and trust I have for you all. Each of you dance to a different tune and I respect you all for doing the things you feel in your heart. My love for each of you is unconditional. I am proud of the stand you have taken for equality. Love you, Mom.

  3. jaysays says:

    Thank you mom. I love you too.

  4. jaysays says:

    Hmmm… Ok, I should have shot for full equality the first wish! Here it goes… I wish for full equality for all people under all matters governed by civil law regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other social factor.

    There… now, help me blow out the candles —- we may need some air in a can 😉

  5. AtillaNonHomo says:

    Whose dick did you suck for that Law? Hahahaha.
    Oh well, it won't stop you from being "ghetto abnormal", nor will it stop "Normal" people from fixing your slow infestation. And one insignificent Law will not stop normal from stopping YOUR kind from ruining a perfectly good nation. If you can talk about being Gay, feel free to talk about the collateral damage your intrinsic stupidity causes to everyone ELSE that is not you, like the rest of the known world, Lil' Napolean.

    Equality is when I let you exist. "More than Equal" is when you force your minority and generally abhorred ideas onto others, not the other way around. I don't have to beg everyone, then legally force them, to justify MY existence, so it says how little you really are as an "American" when you say "Gay" first, and "American" last.

    One good thing, you can win the battle and lose the war.
    After all, YOU won't ever breed, right?
    Old Adage- "If you can't kill them out, BREED them out".
    Tell me how it works out when my Great Grandkids rule, and you are long forgotten in the dust of devolution, as a footnote in history.

    As a matter of form, let me remind you that "equality" is always thrown up by the weakest of humanity against the strongest. Generally, the strong feel bad for the weak, and give them such trivialities, so they will quit whining.

    Happy fucking B-day.

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