Center for LGBTQ Studies (CLAGS)

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2001


Over the past two years since the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie Wyoming, the circumstances of his death have held a symbolic place in the story of violence against gay men and lesbians nationally. University of Wyoming Professor Beth Loffreda's book Losing Matt Shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder is on the "Lambda Book Report" best-sellers list and MTV has recently premiered "Anatomy of a Hate Crime: The Matthew Shepard Story" that dramatized the events of October 6th, 1998. The telling and retelling of Shepard's murder in both academic books and popular culture suggests the extent to which the story of violence against homosexuals has centered the politics of sexuality at the turn of the century. How to make sense of Shepard's murder has become a national concern for people from a range of political persuasions. The interpretation of violence remains a compelling story - a story that reveals larger cultural and political concerns.


This article was originally published in CLAGSNews, vol. 11, no. 1.



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