Thursday, 6 July 2006

Judy Shepard

Well, The programme of festivities for Europride I posted a week or so ago, underwent(as these things are wont) quite a bit of changes.

On Thursday morning, I received an email from one of those mailing lists I am registered to, announcing a talk for the same evening by Judy Shepard (Matthew Shepard's mother). This was organised by Merril Lynch as part of the second Diversity Week.

After humming and arring for a while, I decided to go. And a very good decision it was too. The talk was introduced by the Managing Director for London and started with a short address by Sergeant Richard Hendron, the youngest sergeant in the Metropolitan Police who talked about how the service had improved in openess with gay officers in the past 20 years. He also showed a fairly moving video retracing the history of the GPA.

Then, it was Judy Shepard's turn.

Although she describes herself as a mum simply sharing her views, she is an increadibly articulate speaker and a very inspiring one. She talked for about one hour without notes (she has been doing that for 7 years now, that must help); her basic and most important message being that we need to tell our story, be visible as gay people as a way to show who you are. The effect is that straight people will have to stop saying they don't know any gay people and have therefore no reason to support us.

Something I find particularly stricking is that she uses "we" when talking of the LGBT Community. I refuse to be cynical about this and just feel privileged to have been able to hear her.

For more info on her action, visit the website of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

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