Thursday, October 20, 2005

'The Laramie Project' provides moments of thought... reminders of 'Why?'

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Tonight at the meeting of UNCG PRIDE!, we watched "The Laramie Project" which is based on the play written about Laramie, Wyoming, and the death of Matthew Shepard and its effect on the town. The movie made me think. As I sat watching it, fighting the tears which were just all too ready to flow down my face, I was reminded of the reasons why I do the things I do. I was reminded of why PRIDE! exists. I was reminded of why life is so hard for LGBT people. I was reminded of why I must, even through the hardest of times, speak out on the issues of anti-gay harassment, prejudice, discrimination, bias, hate and, yes, violence. The story of Matthew Shepard, who died as a result of an anti-gay hate crime, gives us pause to remember that violence is something real. What happened to Matthew Shepard could happen to any gay person and guess what... it could happen to any straight person too. Hate is hate and hate kills. Far too often other people are killed out of hate... based on race, religion, creed, sex or gender, sexual orientation, nationality, difference of ability and a multitude of other things. Watching "The Laramie Project" has reminded me that what I fight for is something that needs to be continued. LGBT equality and the right for all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender-identity, to live free from the fear of harassment, prejudice, discrimination, physical violence and death is something which remains very much a part of my passion for life. In all reality... it is probably my number one passion in life. Many people say that anti-gay hate crimes, such as the one Matthew Shepard experienced, does not happen here. Many say, "It won't happen to me." I am sure Thomas Stockwell thought the same thing before he was attacked on Franklin Street at UNC-Chapel Hill for, what else, being openly gay (source). Thank God he survived. We must all work together to make sure that what happened to Matthew Shepard and Thomas Stockwell does not happen to anyone else. We must all make sure that LGBT Americans are given the right to live free from fear and hostility. The United States Senate must pass the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which the United States House of Representatives passed earlier this fall. We owed it to Matthew Shepard before he died, and even more afterwards. We owe it, still today, to all of the victims of hate. Take the time to remember what America stands for... and make it so. My Vision:
I envision a United States of America where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans will be freely able to live, work, grow, learn, parent and love openly and honestly. Furthermore, I long for the day when our beloved nation will live up to its ideals of equality, liberty and justice for all by full heartedly treating, respecting, accepting and valuing LGBT Americans as equally and as fairly as straight Americans.
I will continue, no doubt, to make it so... will you? In pride, for what America can and will be, MATT HILL