20 min

Matthew Shepard: ten years later

Ten years ago this morning, 21-year-old college student Matthew Shepard was found beaten and tied to a fence, left to die. For a lot of us, it was one of those 'do you remember where you were when you heard about it?' moments, like the Kennedy assassination or the Challenger explosion or the morning of September 11, 2001. There had been so many gaybashings before and way too many afterwards but this attack on someone so young and so seemingly defenseless shocked the public in a way that has lingered on. Memorials will be held next week on October 13, the anniversary of Shepard's death in hospital. A Texas paper has a good update on the status of hate crime legislation in the US while, in a pleasing development, one Republican(!) senator is making it part of his re-election campaign:

And here's a much happier story: 24-year-old Pape Mbaye had to flee his native Senegal because of anti-gay persecution but now he's making a life for himself in New York. Mbaye still tends to avoid his own people, like the man in Harlem who said, "If you were in Senegal, I would kill you." I often pick on the US for being, well, the US but it's great to know that Mbaye can now choose to snap his fingers and say, "Yeah, but you're in New York now, bitch!"

A chaplain at the London Stock Exchange says that gay men should be tattooed with health warnings like on cigarette packs. It's a shame he can't tell his fags from his fags but also that, as a chaplain at the London Stock Exchange, there are bigger issues requiring his prayers right now.

Mind you, it doesn't help when the UK papers are full of stories about the Mr. Gay UK winner who then went cannibal! You can read the literally gory details if you want but I just think some guys are taking their "no carbs" diets a little too far.

We've been laughing for weeks at Tina Fey's glorious Sarah Palin impression but ladies and gentlemen…Alec Baldwin. Meanwhile, in the midst of the Fey love-in, Andy Samberg did an awesome Mark Wahlberg.

Things are looking up on the election scene in Canada while tonight is, according to CNN, "Debate Night in America!" (C'mon people, it's politics, not boxing!) In an odd bit of opportunistic philanthropy, Kentucky Fried Chicken says that if either Obama or McCain mentions world hunger during the Presidential debate, KFC will donate $20,000 to World Hunger Relief. It's a lovely gesture but it just gave me disturbing flashbacks of the sabotaged presidential campaign in "Undercover Brother" (I blame Neil Patrick Harris).

Bruce Springsteen says, "I want my America back!" and he thinks Barack Obama is the guy to do it. I'm feeling sorry for John McCain: he may be a maverick but he's up against The Boss!