Romaine Patterson (born March 31, 1978) is an American gay rights activist, radio personality, and author. She first received national attention for her activism at the funeral of murdered gay student Matthew Shepard; the two were friends in high school. She is currently the co-host with Derek Hartley of the Derek and Romaine show on Sirius Satellite Radio's SIRIUS OutQ channel 109 and XM Satellite Radio channel 98.
Childhood and family
Born in Wyoming, Patterson is the youngest of eight children. Three of her brothers are gay, and one of them, Michael, died from AIDS. She spent several summers during high school in Denver, Colorado, living with her brothers and working at Diedrich's Coffee Shop.
Patterson's best-known activist work was her response to the planned anti-gay protests by Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church during the trials of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney for the murder of Matthew Shepard. Patterson organized counter protests known as "Angel Action", in which groups of people dress as angels with extremely large wings that shielded the families from Phelps and his group. Patterson was later depicted in The Laramie Project, a play about the event based on interviews with the participants. In the film version of the play, she was portrayed by actress Christina Ricci. She was portrayed by Canadian actress Kristen Thomson in the TV movie The Matthew Shepard Story.
Patterson later worked at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation as a Regional Media Manager. She has written a book about her experiences as an activist since Shepard's death, called The Whole World Was Watching.
- Patterson, Romaine; Hinds, Patrick (2005), The Whole World Was Watching: Living in the Light of Matthew Shepard, Advocate Books, ISBN 1-55583-901-0
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