Fifteen years after Matthew Shepard was murdered, Washington National Cathedral will host a weekend of events to honor and remember lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth who have suffered bullying, discrimination, and violence. Today’s press announcement from the cathedral states:
“For too long, LGBT people have been ostracized by or unwelcome in faith communities who have used the Bible like a weapon,” said the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral. “Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer where all are welcome, and where all people can experience God’s boundless love and grace.”
Fifteen years ago this October, Matthew Wayne Shepard was abducted, tied to a split-rail fence, and left to die in a remote area of Wyoming. His death was one of the most notorious anti-gay hate crimes in U.S. history and became a catalyst for activists determined to stop violence against LGBT people. To mark the anniversary of this terrible event, the Cathedral will host an exclusive, pre-release East Coast premiere of the new documentary film, Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, Friday evening, October 4, in the nave.
Unfortunately, Shepard’s death did not end hate crimes against LGBT people. More recently, in September 2010, 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi ended his own life after he was secretly broadcast via webcam in an intimate act and intensely cyber-bullied.
On Sunday, October 6, at 10:10 am, Dean Hall will host a forum featuring Judy Shepard and Jane Clementi, the mothers of Matthew and Tyler, as guests. Joshua Deese, a University of Maryland sophomore and LGBT youth advocate, will also join the discussion to provide another perspective from the Millennial generation. Together with Hall, the three panelists will discuss Matthew and Tyler’s legacies, the organizations they work through (such as the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, and The Trevor Project), and the ways that people of faith can stand with the LGBT community and speak out against violence.
Following the forum, at 11:15 am, the Cathedral will hold a special service of Holy Eucharist to pray for LGBT people who suffer from violence. Preaching at the service, Dean Hall will call people of faith to stand against anti-LGBT hatred and intolerance.
A number of leading LGBT and ally organizations have joined with the Cathedral to present this weekend of programs: among them are the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, The Trevor Project, PFLAG, and Ford’s Theatre, as well as the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Tyler Clementi Foundation.
Friday, October 4, 2013
7:30 p.m. – Film screening of Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine in the Cathedral nave
Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine explores the life of Matthew Shepard and examines the wreckage left behind after his death. Framed through a personal lens, the film follows director Michele Josue, a close friend of Matt’s, as she travels to pivotal locations in Shepard’s life, interviewing other friends and family members, and gaining insight into the beautiful life and devastating loss of Matthew Shepard. It’s a story of loss, love, and courage in the face of tragedy.
The Cathedral is honored to be the location for the East Coast premiere of this new documentary the same evening as its West Coast premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival. A brief panel discussion featuring Matthew Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, will follow at the Cathedral. The screening is ticketed ($16 for adults; free tickets for students), and attendees must reserve seats online.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
10:10 am – Forum with Judy Shepard, Jane Clementi, Joshua Deese, and Dean Hall
11:15 am – Special service of Holy Eucharist to pray for LGBT youth
Cathedral Dean Gary Hall, a leading advocate for LGBT equality, welcomes guest panelists for a discussion about Matthew Shepard and Tyler Clementi’s legacies:
Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard and founding president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation
Jane Clementi, the mother of Tyler Clementi and co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation
Joshua Deese, an LGBT youth advocate and member of The Trevor Project’s Youth Advisory Council.