A New York Times Bestseller
THE MEANING OF
My Son’s Murder in
and a World Transformed
~Now in Paperback~
Most people know the horrific details of 21-year old college student Matthew Shepard's murder in
But long before the terrible hate crime that took his life and made him a household name in the arena of gay rights, Matthew was simply
THE MEANING OF MATTHEW follows the Shepard family in the days immediately after the crime, when Judy and her husband traveled to see their incapacitated son, kept alive by life-support machines; and how they learned of the horrible crime that had befallen their son. Following the terrible news that Matthew would not survive, we learn how family and friend banded together to face the media frenzy, unsure of the public reaction. After the shock and grief of his death and the overwhelming rallying of a country shamed by the horrific crime of two men, readers will learn how the Shepards struggled to navigate the legal system and ever-present media coverage as Matthew’s murderers were put on trial.
THE MEANING OF MATTHEW is not just an account of Matthew's murder and the subsequent headlines. Throughout this beautifully written and powerful account, Judy also looks back at Matthew's childhood, his early years with his family in a small town and the family’s move abroad to Saudi Arabia, including Matthew’s tenure at a Swiss boarding school. She chronicles Matthew's talents and struggles, his preternatural empathy and kindness, and how Judy had an inkling about her son being gay long before anyone else. With the heart wrenching honesty only a mother could provide, Judy fleshes out much of Matthew's life up to the fateful night of his murder that most people have not heard about until now. This moving book makes sure that Matthew’s life and legacy continues to be as important to millions of young homosexuals and their families in this country today as it was ten years ago.
Since her son’s death, Judy Shepard has become the beloved face of gay rights in this country. But how Judy went from small town grieving mother to internationally celebrated gay rights activist is a long and varied story. In THE MEANING OF MATTHEW Judy confides with readers about how she handled the crippling loss of her child in the public eye and specifically of learning to distinguish between her son the person, and her son the symbol, why she became a gay rights activist, and the challenges and rewards of raising a gay child in America today.
At its heart, THE MEANING OF MATTHEW is the story of one woman coping with the unthinkable. It not only captures the historical significance and complicated issues surrounding one young man’s life and death, but it also reveals one ordinary woman’s battle to understand a tragic, constant loss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JUDY SHEPARD is co-founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which is dedicated to social justice, diversity awareness and education, and equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Shepard speaks around the country on behalf of the foundation.