Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Matthew Shepard's mother weeps, helps raise more than $50K for Inside Out Youth Services

October 3, 2017 Updated: October 4, 2017 at 12:47 pm
0
photo - Clarence Bumpas, left, student adviser at Community Prep School, told Judy Shepard how much her talk had impacted him.
100317 Photo by Linda Navarro
Clarence Bumpas, left, student adviser at Community Prep School, told Judy Shepard how much her talk had impacted him. 100317 Photo by Linda Navarro 

Judy Shepard says she belongs to a "small, select group" of parents who have lost a child to murder.

But Matthew Shepard's slaying in 1998 wasn't a typical killing. The gay 21-year-old was savagely beaten with a pistol butt and left strung on a fence outside of Laramie, Wyo., in frigid weather. Eighteen hours elapsed before a passing bicyclist initially mistook him for a scarecrow.

The University of Wyoming student never regained consciousness after his parents rushed to his Fort Collins hospital bed from Saudi Arabia.

Ever since, his mother and allies of the Matthew Shepard Foundation have fought to "replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance," as the foundation website notes.

Shepard spoke Tuesday to a record crowd of about 600 people who packed the annual Inside Out Youth Services breakfast to hear her story and support the only local nonprofit that serves LGBTIQ young people. The meal raised more than $50,000 for the organization.

When a young audience member asked Shepard how people deal with the loss of a child, she said: "People talk about closure. There is no such thing."

Then she wept. Finally regaining her composure, the mother said, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry - ever!" another audience member yelled out.

"We didn't think we would be doing this (work) 19 years later," Shepard said. "But here we are. We're very busy right now trying to rectify things that have been turned backward.

"This is what happens when you piss off somebody's mom," she said to extended applause.

Inside Out - a haven for young lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and those questioning their sexual identity - this year moved to a bigger downtown space at 223 N. Wahsatch Ave. and won a state Tony Grampsas Youth Services grant of $126,000. But it also lost Executive Director Mary Malia, who returned to Maine in August to help family members.

The organization tapped former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace to serve as interim director, and her introduction at the breakfast prompted a standing ovation and sustained applause from the crowd.

"Wow. I didn't expect that," said a clearly surprised Makepeace.

She lauded Malia for her leadership and for planning the breakfast and said she is honored to serve Inside Out.

"I tried retirement. It just didn't fit," said Makepeace, who was executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado after her long stint in politics.

Inside Out, in its 27th year, is the only local nonprofit serving "LGBTIQ XYZ" youth. Makepeace joked about the alphabet soup. But its work is serious.

The agency serves homeless youths rejected by their families, provides cooking classes, support groups and life skills, and gives youngsters opportunities to "gather in a safe space" for "community and companionship," Makepeace said.

"Inside Out has a huge staff - 2½ of us," so it welcomes volunteers and donations, she said.

"We can't do this without you."

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.