UAlbany to Present Sexuality Week in Memory of Matthew Shepard

Contact:Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4989

During the 18 years that Sexuality Week has been in existence at the University at Albany, college students across the nation have been faced with critical issues and choices related to gender issues, HIV/AIDS, relationships, identity and reproductive health. In recognition of the importance of these issues, the content of programs within this special week will reflect key themes. In this way, UAlbany hopes to meet the needs of students as well as to provide a retrospective and prospective look at the issues.

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, will be the keynote speaker for this year's 18th Annual Sexuality Week. Shepard will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom on the University's Uptown Campus. The talk is free to those with a SUNY or other school ID or National Association of Social Workers membership, and $5 for the general public. There will be a book signing and reception after the program.

Workshops will be given throughout the week by professional health educators on many topics related to sexuality. Sexuality Week is coordinated by the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program at the University Counseling Center, and funded by the Student Association. For a complete listing of Sexuality Week programs, visit:

Estela Rivero, director of the UAlbany Counseling Center, said, "Mrs. Shepard's keynote will continue the tradition of the Sexuality Week speakers by challenging us to think about and address an important issue that we face as members of our society and community."

Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old college student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten to death by two men he met in a bar in 1998, allegedly because he was gay. After their son's death, Judy and Dennis Shepard started the Matthew Shepard Foundation ( to help carry on his legacy of social justice by embracing the causes he had championed. This includes working for gay and lesbian equality and helping to prevent hate crimes.

In May 1999, Judy Shepard testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. She appeared in two Human Rights Campaign public service television spots aimed at curbing anti-gay violence. In addition, she has become active in Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and she wrote an open letter to school administrators that was included in a mailing to high school counselors around the U.S.

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February 8, 2001


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