Exploration Of The Matthew Shepard Event
The human body is an object in which one lives and the medium through which one experiences oneself and the world. Claims on ideology and space are ultimately vested in the human body, and thus conflicts about belief systems and territory are often contested violently on physical bodies. Gay bodies become entangled in violence when they enter into arenas that combat certain ideas. Gay bashing illustrates incidences all in which bodies experience physical injury. In modern U.S. communities various militant conservatives target homosexuals in "gay bashing." Mathew Shepard's brutal murder in 1998 illustrates a relatively recent incident in which the human body becomes politicized. What is the
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The homophobia that exists within societies in general is not required in order to perpetuate the established patriarchy. For the purpose of remaining at the top of the gender hierarchy, men need not prove to themselves and to other men that they're homophobic. ". . . it has yet to be demonstrated that, because most patriarchies structurally include homophobia, therefore patriarchy structurally requires homophobia . . . while heterosexuality is necessary for the maintenance of any patriarchy, homophobia, against males at any rate, is not" (Sedgwick 1985:4). Sedgwick illustrates that patriarchy's perpetuation does not need the promotion of heterosexism through expressing homophobia during homosocial bonding. The relationship between patriarchy and homophobia exists within contextual fabrics unique to each society. Within context homophobia could be used either as an agonist or an enhancer of patriarchy. To narrow the scope of analysis, I argue that in many conservative US communities obligatory apparent heterosexuality enhances patriarchy (Sedgwick 1985).
On October 6, 1998 Aaron McKinney and Russel Henderson cross paths in life with Mathew Shepard. McKinney and Henderson come from poor rural backgrounds, earn criminal records, live in trailer parks and fix roofs for a living. Shepard come from a more privileged family background