I created this shirt to honor the memory of Matthew Shepard, who was killed in Wyoming in 1998. Matthew was the victim of a violent hate crime that shook the nation and lead to new federal hate crimes legislation. (You can read his story here.)
I grew up in Wyoming, and have always been troubled over the fact that such a hateful act took place in my home state. In October of 2018, on the 20th anniversary of Matthew's passing, I was inspired to create something that I could proudly wear on my chest as a silent tribute.
My idea was simple: meld together a bucking bronc rider—the de facto symbol of Wyoming and a potent symbol of masculinity—with the pride flag, a beacon of love and tolerance. (The original rainbow version is available here. This purple version came after.)
I didn’t realize what an emotional journey that simple idea would take me on. I won’t delve into the many iterations and the symbolism that emerged in the final design; I’ll just say that these symbols don’t blend easily. There is turbulence, resistance, struggle.
I printed up a single shirt, wore it on Matthew’s birthday and posted a photo online. Almost immediately I had people messaging me, asking how they could get one. In particular, I heard from many Wyoming residents who wanted to visually express their convictions, show love for Matthew, and change the narrative about what Wyoming represents.
That's a lot to ask from a t-shirt. Then again, this is more than a t-shirt. It keeps the conversation going. Whatever this shirt means to you is up to you. Thank you for spreading the love!
- Brett (Owner/Designer)
Note: 15% of profits will be donated to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The final color on the shirt will be more muted than the model depiction you see at the top of the screen. This design is also available in pride flag colors.
• 100% ringspun cotton
• 4.5 oz/y² (153 g/m²)
• Shoulder-to-shoulder taping
• Quarter-turned to avoid crease down the center
This shirt is made of a thicker, heavier cotton, but it's still soft and comfy. And the double stitching on the neckline and sleeves add more durability to what is sure to be a favorite!