|Wednesday, October 7, 1999||
Volume 65, Issue 37
Any meaning in the meaning of life?
Ed De La Garza
Where are we now?
On Oct. 11, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, died five days after he was abducted, beaten, tied to a fence and left in a coma. He was allegedly targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson because he was openly gay.
Shepard's death sparked a nationwide debate on gay rights and hate crimes. Though hate crime legislation was enacted across the country, such a measure failed in Wyoming.
McKinney's murder trial is set to begin, with jury selection already under way. Henderson, who pleaded guilty to murder and is serving life in prison, will be testifying for the prosecution.
Meanwhile, McKinney's lawyers have argued that, although their client did beat Shepard and leave him to die, he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. With this reasoning, McKinney's sins are washed away -- correct?
We remember Matthew Shepard this week, which by chance happens to coincide with National Coming Out Week, an event designed to make it easier for homosexuals to "come out."
You see, whether you condemn a person's sexual orientation or not, "coming out" isn't easy to do, especially when young people are reminded of what happened to Shepard. It does take courage, if only because we as a society still look down on homosexual behavior.
To take it a step further, some radicals target homosexuals, labeling them as "deviants" -- people who don't deserve to live.
That said, does being gay mean you get to be treated differently? Definitely not. Setting one group apart doesn't help in creating a society where everyone is viewed by their actions and merits, and not by their race, sex, religion or sexual orientation.
Look around you. Not everyone looks like you. Chances are, not everyone shares your beliefs. Now get this -- there may even be some homosexuals in your class. No, really. It's true.
On a campus as diverse as UH, students encounter people from all types of backgrounds. We have to learn to get along with people who don't share our culture or beliefs.
We neither approve nor condemn.
Due to an editing error, Ester King was referred to as a female in Monday's Page 1 article "Eusan's legacy lives after nearly 30 years." King is, in fact, a man.