Next week, “The Book of Matt” by famed investigative journalist Stephen Jiminez, is slotted for release. The book tells the true story behind the murder of Matthew Shepard, who has become the angelic face of victimhood in the gay rights movement. Shepard’s murder in 1998 launched a national effort, spearheaded by President Clinton, to push for a hate crimes law including sexual orientation. It became the basis for Hollywood’s addiction to storylines involving the killing of gay men (see, for example, “Brokeback Mountain”). Shepard, the mythology went, died for America’s homophobic sins.
There’s only one problem. Shepard, according to Jiminez, was not killed because he was gay. His murderers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, attempted the “gay panic” defense in court — suggesting that Shepard had come onto them and provoked them into murderous rage. But that wasn’t true. Jiminez, who is gay, reports that Shepard dealt methamphetamine, and that one of his murderers was a sex partner. Even gay-journalistic icon Andrew Sullivan has endorsed Jiminez’s work.