Wake up at noon. Shower. Put appropriate books and work clothes in my backpack. Get dressed. Check e-mail. Eat bagel. Drive to college. Park car. Walk to class. Alternate between paying attention and doing homework. Check e-mail from computer lab. Drive to work. Eat dinner. Throw on uniform. Earn money. When the restaurant closes, drink heavily. Return home. This was the routine for the first forty-five days after I drove Seith out of my life.
On the forty-seventh day, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed, turned, masturbated. Nothing. When seven o’clock rolled around, I conceded defeat, and went into the kitchen to make a bagel. On the way in, I turned on the TV. “Mourners are gathering for Matthew Shepherd who died at 12:53 this morning, nearly a week after...”
Apart from hearing his name mentioned in psychology class, and hearing someone at work mention the tragedy in Wyoming, I had no concept of who Matthew Shepherd was. On October 12th, 1998 that all changed. I didn’t go to class that day. Like most of my "alternative lifestyle" (actor) friends I went about making the tragedy of Matthew Shepherd something tangible. Something we could squeeze in our fists until it bled.
My name is Adam Stone. You might know me as InSafeMode, an all-too openly gay writer/pseudo-political activist. You probably think I can't leave the house without a cock in my mouth. The truth is, until October 12th 1998, only a handful of people knew my sexuality. Ok, a few handfuls if you counted the people I'd hooked-up with over The Internet. Since then I've become outspoken in a way that annoys a number of my Gay colleagues. I do things like use labels like gay and Gay.
I see men who like to love/sleep with men, and women who like to love/sleep with women as being gay. We don't let our sexuality define us anymore than our politics, our diets, our favorite Smurf. On the other side of the equation are people I consider Gay. They wake up in the Gay morning, eat their Gay Cheerios, put on their Gay Diesel jeans, and go about their Gay day, informing everyone who thinks differently than them that they're homophobic. While Gay people annoy the hell out of me, I'm glad they're out their doing what they need to do. There are obviously people in the world who need to hear "We're here, we're queer, don't be a homophobe, buy me a beer." I'm just not one of them.
I saw Shepherd's death as a time for reflection, and horror. Some people saw his death as an opportunity for rebellion against homophobic archetypes. Still others, like that demon "reverend" Phelps, saw it as an opportunity to spread a hateful agenda. He was as entitled to picket Matthew Shepherd's funeral, as I am to picket his when Satan finally comes to collect the withered prune that was once his soul. I'm all about freedom of choice.