Sherry Johnson, a Laramie resident and the wife of a policeman, describes her reaction to Matthew Shepard’s murder. She says that she thought what happened to Matthew was horrible, but feels that it is unfair that Matthew’s death received more attention than the recent death of a policeman in a traffic accident. Sherry feels that the media is portraying Matthew as a “saint.” Sherry finds Matthew scary, saying that he was “spreading AIDS” and calling him a “barfly.” Sherry does not understand why people are giving Matthew special attention since he’s gay, saying that every crime is a hate crime.
In this moment, Sherry Johnson expresses an opinion that various characters allude to throughout the play: that Matthew’s sexuality is being emphasized too much when discussing his murder, and that his murder is being used to earn gay people special privileges. Sherry tries to completely ignore the element that bigotry played in Matthew’s murder (as well as the fact that the “special privileges” are simply those that non-LGBT people already enjoy), and in doing so she reveals her own homophobia.