We're taking a break from our normal technical and small business oriented content today to look back 20 years on an event defining modern history for LGBTQ youth in America.
We cannot appreciate today, nor guide our future, without first understanding our past.
For many, Matthew Shepard's brutal beating and subsequent death in Wyoming on October 6th, 1998, was a wake up call to the underlying discrimination, hatred and violence LGBTQ peoples in America face daily. It brought national attention, changes in law, culture, and awareness.
A young man had to be beaten, left on the roadside, and died for that attention.
Where We Are Today in 2018
Even with that attention and 20 years behind us, we still have so many things challenging LGBTQ peoples in America alone. Yes, we can marry; but we lack basic protections for being fired from our jobs, denied housing, denied or unfairly questioned to donate blood, prevented from adopting children or fostering, or lack protection under hate crime laws.
https://www.usatoday.com/Five states – including Wyoming – still don’t have criminal hate crime laws. In another 14, hate crime laws don't protect individuals for their sexual orientation. And still in 27 states, you can legally be fired from your job for being gay.
Take pause and thanks for the progress we have made, in part to Matthew Shepard 20 years ago, but there is so much more to do.
Take this information and put your feelings to use: mark your calendar to vote in the upcoming midterm elections and donate to the Human Rights Campaign.