Posts Tagged 'Matthew Shepard'

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in Europe

Judy and Dennis Shepard Speak Up for LGBT Rights in EuropeRepost from DipNote Blog by Frankie Sturm, Deputy Cultural Attache at U.S. Embassy Warsaw in Poland.

Sitting down to dinner to wrap up two jam-packed days of outreach by Judy and Dennis Shepard in Poland to parents of LGBT individuals, non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, TV reporters, and others, I was struck by how universally their story resonates even thousands of miles from the United States.

As co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, Judy and Dennis have worked tirelessly to expand LGBT rights and protections through the legal system, while changing hearts and minds by telling the tragic story of their son’s murder due to hate and intolerance.

The State Department is proud to be sponsoring the Shepards on a five-country, two week-plus European outreach trip. The Shepards’ tour includes stops in Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, and Germany. Continue Reading

 

Remembering LGBT Hate Crimes in October

Hate Crime October 7, 2011 – Thirteen years ago this week, Matthew Shepard was attacked and left to die on a deserted road in Laramie, Wyoming. The month of October, in addition to being LGBT history month, is also an appropriate month to remember the tragic legacy of LGBT hate violence. Matthew Shepard was killed in October. Eleven years later, in October 2009, President Obama signed a law named after Matthew Shepard that extends federal authority over LGBT hate crimes. And every October, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also meets in Warsaw, Poland to discuss a range of human rights issues in Europe and North America, including persistent patterns of hate violence targeting LGBT individuals.

The OSCE is an obscure but influential international organization that focuses on a range of security and human rights issues. Created as a mechanism to engage the Soviet Union and its satellite states, in the messy aftermath of the Cold War, the OSCE has emerged as an important platform for promoting tolerance and non-discrimination. Every October the OSCE holds a human rights conference in Warsaw, and for several years now, the issue of LGBT rights has been an important topic. During the Bush administration, the United States worked with the Vatican to block discussion of LGBT human rights concerns. In the Obama administration, the United States is now one of the leading voices insisting that the OSCE must respond to LGBT concerns in Europe and North America. Indeed, the head of the official U.S. delegation to the meeting, Ambassador David Johnson, addressed a reception on Wednesday that was dedicated to the many LGBT activists who traveled to Warsaw to expose the violence that continues to shatter lives and destabilize communities. Continue reading ‘Remembering LGBT Hate Crimes in October’


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