Dennis Shepard

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Dennis Shepard
Dennis Shepard visit to Sweden December 2013 (11221087796-cropped).jpg
Shepard during his visit to Sweden in December 2013
Born Scottsbluff, Nebraska
Residence Casper, Wyoming
Alma mater University of Wyoming
Occupation Oil industry safety engineer
Spouse(s) Judy Shepard
Children Matthew Shepard (1976–1998),
Logan Shepard (b. 1981)

Dennis Shepard is the father of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at University of Wyoming who was murdered in October 1998 in what became one of the most high-profiled cases highlighting hate-crimes against LGBT people. He and his wife, Judy Shepard, are co-founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation,[1] and advocates for LGBT rights. He has been an advocate for parental support of LGBT children both during Matthew's life and, very publicly, since Matthew's death. He and Judy continue to live and work in Casper.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Shepard earned a degree in education from the University of Wyoming before marrying Judy in 1973 and moving to Casper, Wyoming in 1976. While they have also resided in Saudi Arabia, they have since returned to Casper, where they currently work and reside.[2][3] Dennis is the father of two sons, Matthew Wayne Shepard (1976–1998) and Logan Shepard (born 1981).[4][5]

Career[edit]

Shepard was an oil industry safety engineer,[6] Dennis worked for more than 16 years in safety operations for Saudi Aramco in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before retiring from that position in 2009.[2]

Advocacy[edit]

He has served on the Matthew Shepard Foundation board of directors since the organization’s inception and currently speaks to audiences around the country, particularly to victims’ advocacy organizations and law enforcement audiences about his experiences and the importance of equal treatment of LGBT crime victims and their loved ones.[2][7] On March 20, 2007, the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1592), a bill which would expand federal hate-crimes legislation to include sexual orientation, was introduced as federal bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Congress, sponsored by Democrat John Conyers with 171 co-sponsors. Dennis and his wife, Judy, were present at the introduction ceremony. That bill did not pass however, after then-President George W. Bush threatened to veto the bill if it passed. On October 22, 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and on October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the legislation into law.[8][9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Becker, John M. (October 12, 2013). "In Memoriam: Matthew Shepard". Bilerico Project. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Coast-to-Coast World Premiere Film Screening: Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine". Washington National Cathedral. 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  3. ^ "Judy Shepard Bio". Matthew Shepard Foundation. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
  4. ^ Volin, Katherine (April 11, 2008). "At his brother's 'Place': Logan Shepard, brother of Matthew, debuts blog and goes to work for family's foundation". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on November 1, 2009.
  5. ^ "FAQs About Matthew". Matthew Shepard Foundation. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009.
  6. ^ Glionna, John M. (October 10, 2013). "15 years after Matthew Shepard's murder, his mother looks ahead". Los Angeles Times. Laramie, Wyoming. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  7. ^ Storrow, Benjamin (June 17, 2013). "The road to equality: Dennis and Judy Shepard are still fighting 15 years after their son's death". Casper Star-Tribune. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  8. ^ "Obama Signs Hate Crimes Bill". nytimes.com. Retrieved September 29, 2013.
  9. ^ "Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passes Congress, finally". Mercurynews.com. Retrieved December 30, 2012.