VOLUME 3, ISSUE 352 | Dec. 23 – 29, 2004

Letters to the editor

Rethinking the Matthew Shepard Murder

December 6, 2004

To the Editor:

I am a resident of Laramie. I support 20/20 re-investigation of the Matthew Shepard’s death as a drug-related death (“Trashing Matthew Shepard,” and follow-up stories, by Duncan Osborne, beginning Nov. 25-Dec. 1).

I myself was acquainted with Matthew and have talked to friends and other acquaintances of Matthew Shepard. He was a heavy drug user and an alcoholic; so were the killers.

And yes, Henderson is bisexual himself. Hundreds of people of Laramie ourselves knew that.

You have criticized “20/20”’s methods and their sources. But have you yourselves asked us—the 26,0000 residents who lived though this tragedy at ground zero? How can we all be wrong?

I don’t support Henderson and McKinney killing Matthew. It was a horrible murder and I’m glad they are serving their time in jail. The only reason you and other groups denied the truth of the murder is so the gay community can have a martyr. And the bottom-line is that without a martyr what validity or social tool do you have to promote your cause.

That is why you—the outside groups—have always buried the truth from the very beginning.

Mark Herrington

Laramie, Wyoming

HRC and Its Public Relations Problems

December 10, 2004

To the Editor:

Regarding your story “Jacques to Leave Helm of HRC”(by Stefen Styrsky, Dec. 2-8), I read this on the front page of The New York Tines on December 9: “The leadership of the Human Rights Campaign, at a meeting last weekend in Las Vegas, concluded that the group must bow to political reality and moderate its message and its goals. One official said the group would consider supporting President Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security partly in exchange for the right of gay partners to receive benefits under the program.”

We can now say with certitude that the organization that endorsed Alfonse D’Amato in 1998 is as namby-pamby and spineless as ever.

Kevin O’Connor


December 16, 2004

To the Editor:

Too bad we have such fuckers in our community like the people in HRC. (“HRC Struggles With Its Message,” by Joe Dignan, Dec. 16-22). A $25 million dollar building and they are afraid of moving on our civil rights. Any LGBTQ person who sends them any financial support any more are fools and deserve what they get from HRC—nothing but lies and little movement. I’m furious. They are, they say, a lobby group doing nothing but collecting for their salaries and fancy building and using other organizations advances to their benefit.

I have been faulted in the past for bashing HRC. Well, they have proven me right.

Shame on them!

Ruthie Berman


Stigmatizing Mental Illness

December 17, 2004

To the Editor:

Re: “The tragedy of Leigh’s mental illness, fight with tuberculosis and doomed marriage to Laurence Olivier…” (“Seasonal Ornaments,” by David Noh, Dec. 16-22).

The above prejudice is difficult to see, as is all habituated prejudice, but if you read, “The tragedy of Leigh’s mental illness, fight with physical illness, and doomed marriage to Laurence Olivier…,” you can render it visible: “Mental illness” and “physical illness” are categories, tuberculosis is an illness, a specific illness, a fact.

What were the specifics of the mental illness challenges Leigh faced?

Harold A. Maio

Consulting editor

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal

Boston University


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