Shepard, an openly gay student at the University of Wyoming, was tortured, pistol-whipped, tied to a fence, and left to die. His murder was the reason that American anti-hate crime legislation was eventually extended to cover homosexuals.
Walker lived in Cumnock, Scotland. His body was found on early Saturday morning, Scotland time. His injuries suggest that he was a was tied to a lamppost, beaten, and burned.
Stuart Walker's Death and Unpleasant Memories
I remember when where I was when I heard about Matthew Shepard. I was in university, in my room, listening to the radio. When the news came on, and I heard what had happened, I felt like throwing up. I had friends who were gay. I was scared for them. I didn't like that things like this happened in my world.
I felt the same way yesterday when I heard about Stuart Walker's death on Twitter. I have friends who are gay. I know that there are teens and children in my community who are struggling with their sexuality - not by name, but I know they're there...heck, I hung out with some kids that were struggling when *I* was in school, and I don't imagine that the issues associated with being gay, lesbian or bisexual in a small town have gotten any less difficult to deal with since I graduated.
And while I've never supported any individuals with intellectual disabilities who have indicated that they were gay, lesbian or bisexual, but I've had delightful conversations with a few that are. The idea of people who are already at risk in so many ways, having to live with the potential for even more stigma and violence just to be who they are...it's frightening.
And it's sickening. For anyone to have to hide who they are out of fear is downright sickening.
For anyone, whatever their sexual orientation, to have to die the way Stuart Walker did, is just...beyond-words-wrong.
I wish I knew what the answer to all this was.
Scotland, know that there are Canadians mourning with you.
Rest in peace, Stuart Walker.