This October, we learned that 20 years after his murder, the ashes of LGBTQ hero Matthew Shepard will be laid to rest alongside such revered figures as President Woodrow Wilson and activist Hellen Keller inside the National Cathedral. After a reading of The Laramie Project marking the anniversary of Shepard’s passing, we spoke to Adam Rippon and Randy about why the tragedy of his death still reverberates through LGBTQ culture today. Here’s what they had to say in our exclusive video:
RANDY: Metrosource wants to know…
ADAM: Why do we feel that – 20 years after Matthew Shepard’s murder – do we feel like maybe we’re in the same place?
RANDY: I didn’t realize until sitting through the [Laramie Project] two times today how – sadly – how much it still resonates. And I don’t know if I have… Why do you thnk that is?
ADAM: I think sometimes it feels like we take two steps forward to take one step backwards. And I sometimes think about the opportunities that I have, and I don’t think that they would be possible without the activism of Matthew Shepard’s parents. And I feel like they’ve really helped people like us to have more opportunities. And I think that this play is so important because it’s a moment for us to sit and reflect [on] who we are as a society. I think that the opportunities we have now, we didn’t have twenty years ago. But I think, sort of in the same vein, they’re the same opportunities that a Muslim person might not feel that they have – or a trans person or an immigrant. And I think this play gives us an opportunity to reflect on that, and it’s an an opportunity for us to realize as gay men that we the opportunity to help those people who feel like like they’re in the dark now.
RANDY: Absolutely. And this happens- this is a story about a a gay man, but it is incredibly universal, especially nowadays.
METROSOURCE: Do you think the current administration offers encourages hostility toward LGBTQ people?
RANDY: Like I’ve heard before: It’s kind of the black light on the blanket in the hotel room. It sort of-
ADAM: It was there.
RANDY: Unfortunately, it was there and it’s just sort of – exactly – has given people, for some reason, the permission to act on it.
Learn more about The Laramie Project reading in which Rippon and Rainbow participated, and find out what Samira Wiley has to say about Shepard in our coverage of the event.
Check out more videos on our videos page
Last modified: November 9, 2018