Matthew Shepard, 21, who was murdered 20 years ago, had to be cremated by his parents instead of giving him a burial, fearing attention on his grave since he was globally known for standing up against hate for gays.
His parents have now decided to bury his remains inside the crypt of Washington National Cathedral on Oct. 26. It can become a symbolic destination for gay equality movement.
Shepard was severely thrashed on that cold night two decades ago. His body was found by a bicyclist 18 hours later. After a few days, Shepard succumbed to his injuries on Oct. 12, 1998.
“If I know anything about God, it is that God can bring something good out of something terrible. And movements need symbols. [The gay-equality movement has] the triangle, that reminds of what was used to brand us during the Holocaust, the rainbow flag, and we’ve got Matt Shepard, who became a symbol of how we are targets of violence,” said Bishop Gene Robinson, who will be presiding over the burial service on October 26 along with Washington’s Episcopal bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.
“This could be a wonderful place for Matt’s ashes to rest, and where people could go and make a kind of pilgrimage. All of us human beings need special places to go and remember important things, and I think this could become a destination for LGBTQ people who have known violence in their own lives, which keeps being an issue, despite all the gains we’ve made,” added Robinson.
Robinson said Shepard’s parents were looking for a “safe place” to bury their son’s remains, and contacted him after someone recommended interring their son’s remains at the Cathedral.
In a statement released by the cathedral, Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard said that