Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Matthew Shepard’s mother touched by Jason Collins’ tribute

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The mother of a gay University of Wyoming student who was robbed and beaten to death in 1998 says she finds it touching that NBA veteran Jason Collins honored her son by wearing jersey No. 98.

Judy Shepard

Matthew Shepard‘s mother, Judy, said that she hadn’t known about the tribute by Collins, who this week became the first player still active in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to announce that he is gay.

“We’re very touched that he regards Matthew as somebody special,” Judy Shepard said in a telephone interview. “We’re especially happy that now he feels free to be himself. We’re happy for him, relieved that his news is being received so well across the board.”

While Collins hid his sexual orientation up until now, he said he quietly made a statement for gay rights by wearing No. 98 with the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards. The number refers to 1998, the year Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and beaten outside Laramie.

Shepard died days later on Oct. 12, 1998, and two men were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Shepard’s killing resulted in campaigns to raise awareness about violence against gays and to pass hate-crimes laws in the United States.

Shepard and her husband, Dennis, have established a foundation based in Denver that seeks to raise awareness about and advocate for gay issues.

“We’re on the road to full equality, and it’s about damn time,” she said.

© 2013, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , , ,

Filed under: Newsmakers

14 more reader comments:

  1. such an amazing lady x

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:46pm
  2. I was moved by Collijns’ tribute!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:48pm
  3. Jason is taking a big step forward for the LGBT community.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:52pm
  4. :’( aww sad

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:54pm
  5. Oh I still love the song by Elton John that he tributed to this unfortunate boy! So sorry he had to loose his life.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 12:54pm
  6. So so touching.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:09pm
  7. Very touching!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:25pm
  8. it was fab boy that he was very fabs

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:26pm
  9. Very touching!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 1:52pm
  10. hatred crimes it’s just disgusting, poor guy, a big loss for the world RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 2:33pm
  11. A sad loss. God bless Mathew Shepard’s family.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 5:22pm
  12. A young man beaten tortured and left to die hanging on a fence ….is this America? do you realize how many people in this country responded to this violent act with ” He got what he deserved!” ?????

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 5:26pm
  13. Love that he did this! Matthew Shepard is a part of who i am now, and motivates me everyday to be myself and not let anyone diminish my existence or anyone elses if they happen to be gay!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 6:36pm
  14. God Bless you and your family… rip.

    Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 9:29pm