We do not take light the pain of Matthew Shepard’s parents but with the well known commitment of LGBT activists to lie in order to advance their political objectives one cannot but be skeptical about the Matthew Shepard story.
LGBT activists routinely lie about so-called “homophobic” violence i.e claim that persons were killed or suffered violence because of their sexual orientation.
In Jamaica former Asst. Commissioner of Police Les Green has challenged this claim.
Mr. Green stated that all but one case of murder of homosexuals he investigated were the result of domestic disputes.
Two accounts of Matthew Shepard’s murder are given below.
Testifyingtotruth does not know which account is true but advises persons to be skeptical.
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A day before former Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green left the island at the end of his eight years of service, he rubbished a common claim by the gay community and international rights groups that homosexuals in Jamaica are victims of wanton murder, mob-mauling and marginalisation.
His pronouncement came just weeks after gay lobby group Jamaica Forum For Lesbians All-sexuals and Gays (JFLAG) suggested that two men killed in the New Kingston area were slain because of their sexual preference.
In an interview on Thursday with the Sunday Observer, Green said despite claims by JFLAG that Jamaicans are intolerant of their lifestyle, and are targeting them for death, his experience during his tenure here was totally different.
JFLAG has, for years, contended that gay people have been marginalised in Jamaica, but Green said while that may have been the case in the past, the country has come a long way in tolerating the homosexual lifestyle.
“I think Jamaica is far more tolerant than the public hype. There is a vibrant community in Jamaica and there isn’t the sort of backlash that some people say. I think we are much more tolerant and accepting. Just go around and you will see they are more flamboyant in the way they dress and behave as if they are comfortable with it. If that’s the case, why are they stigmatised?” Green said.
“It’s just the hype from some who claim Jamaica is very anti-homosexual, but the reality is far from that. There are many homosexuals who live and work freely in Jamaica,” he said.
Green explained that as a homicide investigator he worked closely with the gay lobby group which referred him to several incidents in which members of their community were murdered.
However, the former Scotland Yard detective said his findings show that the majority of gay killings are carried out by members of the gay community.
“All of those murders that I have investigated have been in relationships and are victims of gay attacks, domestic situations,” he said.
On June 13, the badly mutilated bodies of Winston Ramsey and Jermaine Thompson were found in an open lot on Trafalgar Road. Since the gruesome find, homicide investigators have reported that the killings had all the signs of a gay-on-gay crime. However, days after the killing JFLAG, in a release to the media, used the murders as a launching pad to call on Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to look into the plight of homeless gay men.
“Among the most recent attacks against the gay community was the savage killing of two young men. The men were apparently brutally murdered with blunt instruments in the vicinity of the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Lady Musgrave Road. People who are homeless frequent this area. Among them are young gay men who have been made homeless because of the continued intolerance of homosexuality in Jamaica… We call on the prime minister and the ministers of national security and labour and social security to listen to the cries and needs of members of our community who continue to be subjected to discrimination and violence, have nowhere to live and no food to eat because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the JFLAG release read in part.
However, Green flatly rejected that line of reasoning and said of all the murders of gay men that he has investigated only one was not committed by a member of the gay community. “That was Steve Harvey and that case was a robbery,” Green said.
Harvey was a Jamaica AIDS Support employee who was abducted from his Duhaney Drive, Kingston 20 home by gunmen and later found dead on Pinewood Terrace. Harvey’s ATM card and other items were taken. His vehicle was found parked at a football field in Grants Pen, St Andrew.
In 2002, the body of selfstyled psychic and television show host, Safa Santura, was found badly bruised and slashed at Cavaliers in St Andrew. Police say he was also murdered by his jealous lover who was later sentenced to life in prison.
Two years later, gay rights activist Brian Williamson was chopped and stabbed multiple times with the murderer leaving his remains inside his house at Haughton Avenue in St Andrew. At the time police reported that Williamson’s home was a hangout spot for gays. His killer, Dwight Hayden, was also sentenced to life.
In December 2006, the decomposing body of Wayne Pinnock was found in an upscale apartment owned by late Trade Ambassador Peter King. His nude body had eight stab wounds and his throat was slashed.
A member of the gay community who was present at the murder scene admitted to the Observer that Pinnock was gay and was in fact killed by his male lover.
King was himself the victim of a gay-on-gay murder. His nude, mutilated body was found in a pool of blood in his bedroom at Waterloo Road, Kingston 10. His killer, Sheldon Pusey, was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter.
At the time of his sentencing, his attorney pleaded with the judge that his client stood a great chance of being sodomised due to “rampant homosexuality” in Jamaica’s prisons.
At least one foreign national has also fallen victim to the vicious blades of a gay killer.
Former British diplomat John Terry was found strangled at his home in Mount Carey, St James in September 2009. His body was wrapped in a sheet. Police reported at the time that a hand-written note was found in the house which suggested the reason why Terry was slaughtered.
Green, who at the time was the head of Serious and Organised Crime, was forced to refute claims by the British media that Terry’s death was a hate crime.
“I don’t think it is a homophobic attack, although it’s been run in the UK press. It isn’t consistent with the information that we have. It is unlikely,” Green said at the time.
A security guard was arrested, charged and convicted of Terry’s murder.
While Jamaicans are becoming more tolerant of the gay lifestyle, most are not willing to allow public displays of affection or cross-dressing as obtains in Europe and North America.
In February 2007, three cross-dressing men were saved by the police from an angry mob outside a pharmacy in a St Andrew plaza. A similar incident occurred a few weeks later in downtown Kingston.
“I am not into gay-bashing, but the problem is cross-dressing and going downtown. Do they do that to create a media blitz? That just seems too contrived,” Green said.
Have We Got Matthew Shepard All Wrong?
A new book argues that America’s most notorious hate crime was not a hate crime at all.
BY AARON HICKLIN
SEPTEMBER 13 2013 5:00 AM ET
What if nearly everything you thought you knew about Matthew Shepard’s murder was wrong? What if our most fiercely held convictions about the circumstances of that fatal night of October 6, 1998, have obscured other, more critical, aspects of the case? How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that facts are slippery — that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?
None of this is idle speculation; it’s the fruit of years of dogged investigation by journalist Stephen Jimenez, himself gay. In the course of his reporting, Jimenez interviewed over 100 subjects, including friends of Shepard and of his convicted killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, as well as the killers themselves (though by the book’s end you may have more questions than answers about the extent of Henderson’s complicity). In the process, he amassed enough anecdotal evidence to build a persuasive case that Shepard’s sexuality was, if not incidental, certainly less central than popular consensus has lead us to believe.
Of course, none of what Jimenez discovered changes the fact that Shepard was horribly murdered, but it may change how we interpret his murder. For many of us, the crime was not simply one family’s tragedy — it symbolized our vulnerable, uncertain place in the world. For many heterosexuals it challenged the myth of America as a guarantor of equality and liberty.
All that soul-searching may have felt necessary, especially in light of the legislation the case inspired, but was it helpful in getting at the truth? Or did our need to make a symbol of Shepard blind us to a messy, complex story that is darker and more troubling than the established narrative?
In The Book of Matt, Jimenez examines the laudable, if premature, effort on the part of two of Shepard’s friends to alert the media to what they believed to be a crime of hate. At the time, Shepard was still fighting for his life. By the time he died, five days later, the question had been firmly settled, as news reporters and gay organizations like GLAAD rushed in. As JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in a brilliant 1999 piece for Harper’s Magazine, “Press crews who had never before and have not since lingered over gruesome murders of homosexuals came out in force, reporting their brush with a bigotry so poisonous it could scarcely be imagined.”
Add to that a president who needed to expiate his sins against the LGBT community, still recoiling from the double whammy of DOMA and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and Shepard’s posthumous status as gay martyr was sealed. The defendants didn’t aid themselves by claiming they’d lured Shepard into their car and then flipped out when he came on to them.
But in what circumstances does someone slam a seven-inch gun barrel into their victim’s head so violently as to crush his brain stem? That’s not just flipping out, that’s psychotic — literally psychotic, to anyone familiar with the long-term effects of methamphetamine. In court, both the prosecutor and the plaintiffs had compelling reasons to ignore this thread, but for Jimenez it is the central context for understanding not only the brutality of the crime but the milieu in which both Shepard and McKinney lived and operated.
By several accounts, McKinney had been on a meth bender for five days prior to the murder, and spent much of October 6 trying to find more drugs. By the evening he was so wound up that he attacked three other men in addition to Shepard. Even Cal Rerucha, the prosecutor who had pushed for the death sentence for McKinney and Henderson, would later concede on ABC’s 20/20 that “it was a murder that was driven by drugs.”
No one was talking much about meth abuse in 1998, though it was rapidly establishing itself in small-town America, as well as in metropolitan gay clubs, where it would leave a catastrophic legacy. In Wyoming in the late 1990s, eighth graders were using meth at a higher rate than 12th graders nationwide. It’s hardly surprising to learn from Jimenez that Shepard was also a routine drug user, and — according to some of his friends — an experienced dealer. (Although there is no real evidence for supposing that Shepard was using drugs himself on the night of his murder).
Despite the many interviews, Jimenez does not entirely resolve the true nature of McKinney’s relationship to Shepard, partly because of his unreliable chief witness. McKinney presents himself as a “straight hustler” turning tricks for money or drugs, but others characterize him as bisexual. A former lover of Shepard’s confirms that Shepard and McKinney had sex while doing drugs in the back of a limo owned by a shady Laramie figure, Doc O’Connor. Another subject, Elaine Baker, tells Jimenez that Shepard and McKinney were friends who had been in sexual threesome with O’Connor. A manager of a gay bar in Denver recalls seeing photos of McKinney and Henderson in the papers and recognizing them as patrons of his bar. He recounts his shock at realizing “these guys who killed that kid came from inside our own community.”
Not everyone is interested in hearing these alternative theories. When 20/20 engaged Jimenez to work on a segment revisiting the case in 2004, GLAAD bridled at what the organization saw as an attempt to undermine the notion that anti-gay bias was a factor; Moises Kaufman, the director and co-writer of The Laramie Project, denounced it as “terrible journalism,” though the segment went on to win an award from the Writers Guild of America for best news analysis of the year.
There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness. In his book, Flagrant Conduct, Dale Carpenter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, similarly unpicks the notorious case of Lawrence v. Texas, in which the arrest of two men for having sex in their own bedroom became a vehicle for affirming the right of gay couples to have consensual sex in private. Except that the two men were not having sex, and were not even a couple. Yet this non-story, carefully edited and taken all the way to the Supreme Court, changed America.
In different ways, the Shepard story we’ve come to embrace was just as necessary for shaping the history of gay rights as Lawrence v. Texas; it galvanized a generation of LGBT youth and stung lawmakers into action. President Obama, who signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named for Shepard and James Byrd Jr., into law on October 28, 2009, credited Judy Shepard for making him “passionate” about LGBT equality.
There are obvious reasons why advocates of hate crime legislation must want to preserve one particular version of the Matthew Shepard story, but it was always just that — a version. Jimenez’s version is another, more studiously reported account, but he is not the first to challenge the popular mythology. Way back in 1999, Wypijewski rejected what she called the “quasi-religious characterizations of Matthew’s passion, death, and resurrection as patron saint of hate-crime legislation” in favor of what she called “wussitude” — a culture of “compulsory heterosexuality” that teaches young men how to pass as men, unfeeling, benumbed, primed to cloak any vulnerability in violence.
It was Wypijewski, too, who wondered if Price — the star witness — simply thought she was helping out her boyfriend when she told the press that he and Henderson “just wanted to beat [Shepard] up bad enough to teach him a lesson not to come on to straight people.” If you thought gay panic was a better defense than a drug-fueled rampage, wouldn’t you, perhaps, go with it?
Jimenez is less interested in that kind of social analysis, but what’s striking throughout his book is how desperate McKinney is to refute allegations that he is gay or bisexual — even at the expense of undermining his own case. Whether it was a hate crime, a drug crime, or a combination of the two, it’s hard to shake the suspicion that self-hate and a misguided culture of masculinity, which taught McKinney to abhor in himself what Shepard had learned to embrace, was as complicit as anything else in the murder of Matthew Shepard.
That is, of course, a kind of hate crime — just not as straightforward as the one we’ve embraced all these years.
The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths about the Murder of Matthew Shephard (Steerforth Press) is published on October 1.
US Embassy Promotes Tolerance Through ‘The Laramie Project’
Published: Monday | April 14, 2014 0 Comments
Elizabeth Lee Martinez, (right) Chargé d’ Affaires, United States Embassy, Kingston, chats with Dennis and Judy Shepard, parents of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who was murdered in October 1998 because of his sexual orientation. – PHOTO BY Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
Laramie, Wyoming is not a place that comes readily to the minds of very many Jamaicans, neither are they aware of the horrible crime that occurred there in 1998.
But on Friday, the Kingston-based Embassy of the United States of America changed that position for some, through the screening and discussion of the HBO-produced film The Laramie Project.
The theme for the event held at the embassy’s Grand Atrium, was Erase Hate: Promoting Respect and Social Tolerance. Special guests were the parents of deceased Matthew Shepard, Dennis and Judy Shepard.
The Laramie Project is a documentary film based on a play of the same name. It tells the story of the murder of Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, who after being badly beaten was tied to a fence and left to die. Found 18 hours later, he died at hospital.
The horrific act propelled the relatively unknown town into the media spotlight and provided meat for the award-winning film.
Centred more on content and purpose, the film begins with members of a theatre company, who in need of a script for their season, decide to go to Laramie to gather material on the murder of Shepard.
Shepard was killed because he was homosexual. Overcoming the fear of rejection from the community, the group of five embarked on their mission.
The group interviews a wide cross-section of the community and in one instance, as the camera pans out to rolling hills the voiceover of an upset resident states clearly “Hate is not a Laramie value”.
The on-screen character
The playwright was able to create a character profile of the deceased, a fragile looking, caring and friendly Matthew from those who knew him over the short period of time he spent in Laramie.
Another mentionable moment in the 97-minute long drama comes towards the end during the trial of Russell Henderson, the person accused of killing Shepard.
In a moving speech, Dennis Shepard, (Terry Kinney) before asking the court to sentence Henderson to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, made it known that inspite of their stance, he and his family, were not against the death penalty.
Later, during the discussion segment of the afternoon’s proceedings, Dennis Shepard explained that his reason for requesting life instead of the death penalty for the accused was he did not want to see or have anything to do with him. As in the event of a death sentence, appeals would be made and that meant they would have to spend more time attending court.
Henderson, along with Aaron McKinney, were given life sentences. Even after 16 years, Dennis is still angry.
He implored Jamaicans to take care of their natural treasure, their children. They should be allowed to succeed or fail. While Judy Shepard, explained that Dennis used his bitterness and anger to go to places such as Jamaica, promoting respect for human rights and that the project is not really about Matthew.
Prior to their visit to Jamaica, the Shepards, through the Matthew Shepard Foundation, also participated in The Laramie Project screening and discussion in Trinidad and Tobago.