Sue Ellen Tuttle, a mother in Des Moines, Iowa, recalls her reading about the Matthew Shepard murder ten years ago this month:
"This October marks 10 years since two men tied Matthew Shepard to a fence in rural Wyoming because he was gay. The pair tortured Matthew for hours and left him to die... In the days that followed, as Shepard’s family struggled to cope with the incomprehensible act, a national conversation began to emerge about what it means to be gay in America. Across the country, people talked about the roots of hatred and what needed to happen to prevent a tragedy like this from happening to anyone again... When I read that the injuries Shepard sustained were too severe to allow the doctors to operate, I remember putting the paper down and going to find my son, Jerryn. I held him in my arms... Just a few months earlier, I had learned that Jerryn was gay."
Her own son's coming out in high school at the time took her on a journey of learning the prejudice that existed in her community at the time. But out of those experiences she has learned a valuable lesson. "Dialogue is a powerful tool."
As Sue Ellen tells us, "Let's keep talking." All of our advocacy and stories have the power to bring equality to LGBT people.