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Fwd: Unbridaled Passion - 2004

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  • John Patrick
    Some will recall ericdared, one of our more outspoken members. He has been among our more passionate participants, and it d be fair to say that he and I had
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 2, 2007
      Some will recall ericdared, one of our more outspoken members. He has
      been among our more passionate participants, and it'd be fair to say
      that he and I had our share of collisions here and elsewhere). As far
      as I know, he's still with us, but he has been otherwise occupied for
      some time, and has not been active even on even his own websites.I
      also know that he's been dealing with some serious health problems -
      he's not young by any means he's in his 60s), and if he's inactive,
      he's got some good reasons to be.

      For a long time, one of them was the best source for archived stories
      about Matthew. I imagine that Mike Grayson's private archives now
      because there are a couple of things he had, which I haven't seen
      elsewhere, and because he may not be able to retreive them before the
      normal course of deacy of cyberspace sources occur, I though
      transferring them here would be a good memorial to Matthew, and a
      tribute to eric a.k.a. Gary - but not our Gary!). This is one: the
      blog (Molly McKay's) is no longer going.

      Wednesday, October 06, 2004

      I wasn't expecting to have a spiritual experience today, but there is
      no other way to describe our day in Laramie.

      The only reason we are in Laramie is because Utah didn't want us. As
      Davina explored an alternative destination, Laramie seemed a nearby
      possibility. It struck Davina that Matthew Shepard had been killed in
      October and searched the web to confirm her inkling. She was shocked
      to discover that our re-routing caused us to be in Laramie on the 6th
      anniversary to the day that Matthew was kidnapped from the Fireside
      Bar, brought to a secluded area, bound to a fence and pistol whipped,
      beaten and left for dead. We took it as a sign that we should re-
      route to Laramie. Part of the point of what we are doing with the
      caravan is to confront the hatred and bigotry against LGBT people
      that results in such senseless deaths. Matthew Shepard's death
      resulted in unprecedented attention on hate crimes, we wanted to make
      the pilgrimage and honor his memory.

      We arrived at the University of Wyoming just as classes were starting
      so there was a rush of students walking around when we got off the
      bus. Seeing a huge group of gay people in wedding garb caused many to
      simply stop and stare. As we prepared for the wedding service that
      the local campus leaders had planned – we talked with students and
      handed out stickers.

      True to the stereotype, there were lots of big pick up trucks and
      boys in flannels and ball caps. However, unlike the anticipated
      hostility, almost all students were interested in taking a sticker
      and talking about their support of civil marriage for same-sex
      couples. Students flocked to sign the open letter to President Bush
      and many attended the follow up panel. It must have been ROTC day
      because there were a lot of students in military uniforms. They were
      shocked to see Jacqueline in her staff sergeant uniform and spoke to
      her with the respect her position commanded. She talked to them about
      the "Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and left them deep in thought. There
      was a wedding ceremony for a straight couple, a gay couple and a
      lesbian couple followed by speakers. I was so impressed that the
      elected state congressman for Laramie - dressed in his western suit
      and bollo tie - he spoke eloquently of the history of discrimination
      and the fight for equality in the state of Wyoming. He proudly spoke
      of how Wyoming is known as the "Equality State" because it was one of
      the first states to recognize women's right to vote. He talked about
      the historical controversy of marriages between faiths, between
      people of different races, and now of same-sex couples. He
      wholeheartedly welcomed the caravan and embraced marriage equality.

      We were greeted by the Chief of Police of Laramie at the time of
      Matthew Shepard's death. "I lost my innocence at age 16 and my
      ignorance at age 45." He described how before Matthew's death, he was
      homophobic and said terrible things about gays and lesbians. After
      watching the Shepard family's grief and witnessing the severity of
      Matthew's beating, he is now a vocal supporter of gay and lesbian
      equality. He became emotional and said, "I'm so glad you are here –
      it is another symbol of Matt's legacy. This day is always really hard
      for me because it all started six years ago today."

      We then went to the Fireside Lounge. The lounge is a run-down bar
      that looks like it had once been a bowling alley on a strip of the
      old downtown filled with shabby looking Western looking storefronts.
      The bar is closed down and a for sale sign hangs in the window. There
      was a front porch overhang that we all filed under. The two ministers
      lit a candle and began a formal memorial service. As the ministers
      spoke about the sadness and spirit at the bar, out of the blue, the
      skies darkened and a fierce hailstorm started. It seemed as though
      Matthew was crying from heaven. We sang "Amazing Grace" and "My
      Spirit is Like a River" and "In the Arms of the Angels." We all felt
      the unearthly stirrings of the unexpected rainstorm that disappeared
      as fast as it came.

      The few locals that passed by stared, a few stopped and joined us and
      there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd.

      While on the campus, three popular girls came out to the "wedding
      rally." Looked at Care and asked contemptuously "What is all this gay
      shit going on?" Being at Matthew's alma mater on the 6th anniversary
      of his death and hearing those words hurled at her, Kare began to
      cry. Belinda walked over to the girls and engaged them in discussion –
      they asked Belinda many questions, first rude ones, then more
      curious ones. Finally Belinda explained that their former comments
      had caused Kare to cry. The girls came over to Kare, apologized for
      being jerks and took Marriage Equality stickers to pass out. There is
      hope, in Laramie and everywhere we go there is hope.

      We were greeted by Cheyenne at the Unitarian Church and welcomed with
      delicious grilled hamburgers, homemade salads and sweets. I was moved
      by the caravan speakers - new to public speaking for how well the

      --- End forwarded message ---
    • sir_mugsy2003
      Thanks, John, for not forgetting the oldies.....
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 11, 2007
        Thanks, John, for not forgetting the oldies.....

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