[Marxism] The Deification of Matthew Shepard

Adam Richmond adambrichmond at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 10 12:22:43 MDT 2009

Some people will pick any port in a storm including this disgusting opinion piece by Gabriel Arana. This article parrots the phony moralism of the right in denying the truth about the cruel, degrading murder of Mr. Shepard. 

This despicable article nothing but a fig leaf on middle class distain of the oppressed. 

"This familiar story -- Matthew as a pure, meek victim of anti-gay
bigotry -- remains an orthodoxy unquestioned by all but the most ardent
gay-rights opponents. In fact, Shepard was a deeply troubled young man.
He had a severe drug and alcohol problem, suffered from bouts of
depression, and failed out of school numerous times. He spent his money
on partying, leaving him unable to pay bills. He contracted HIV, most
likely through unsafe sex. These darker details are conspicuously
absent from the prevailing narrative about Shepard's life."

So what.  

Gabriel Arana castigates and abstraction: the so-called "prevailing narrative."  The particulars of Matthew Sheppard's are disturbing, but not at all unfamiliar to anyone with a passing knowledge of the gay community.  HIV rates among gay youth are skyrocketing.  Safe sex is rarely practiced by the millions of youth coming out.  As a gay youth, he is more likely to be depressed. ( I certainly would be in Wyoming. New Haven was bad enough.)  Then Arana chides Shepard on his poor budgeting as if that weren't enough.

In other words, Matthew Shepard resembles the face of gay oppression in an not too extreme form:  depression, HIV, drug addiction.... the only thing Arana left off the usual right wing list is that he was alleged to be a  drug dealer.   

Well none of his personal flaws need to be pointed out in order to defend him.  And the shocking news of his murder correctly through the spotlight on anti-gay violence.  I will leave it to the preachers and self styled moralists to bray on about the serious problems facing the gay community, just as other oppressed strata face.

As for the increase in sentencing time for violence against victimized minorities... American criminal sentences are outrageously long and we should oppose their increase.  This article is a poor advocate for any progressive policy reform.   

Adam Richmond
San Francisco


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