Englishness saidSent to me two years ago by Tim, my more than 10 years online-friend in USA.
I vacationed with my grandmother to visit my uncle in Wyomming when around the time this happened. I was 12 or 13 at the time and of course like most teenagers my hormones just started to kick into over drive and I was realizing I was gay.
I spent 3 months with my grandmother at my uncles and saw first hand the bigotry and hate in the state during this time. I will never forget the awful things my uncle and his white trash hillbilie friends said about the case. My grandmother (not knowing I was gay) stood up against them which earned her my upmost respect until she died.
I was scared kid back then terrified of my uncle and his friends thinking to myself if they knew I was gay they would do the same thing to me. I could not wait to get back home to Illinois where sane and tolerant people actually existed. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. Some wonder why so late in life I choose to come out but I think it is because of that overwhelming fear I had during that crucial part of my life that made me feel that I would have to take this secret to the grave. I think I hid for a week in the room I was staying at my uncles lying to my grams saying I was sick. After I heard the news of Matthew Shepard I could not stop crying thinking if anyone ever found out I was gay I would face the same hate.
It is scary all these years later that even after this Wyoming has barely changed its laws against gay hate crimes. I will NEVER go back to Wyomming ever again. Luckily my family has NOTHING to do with that crazy white trash uncle since after my grams died.
R.I.P Matthew Shepard.