The Whole World Was Watching: Living in the
Light of Matthew Shepard
by Romaine Patterson and Patrick Hinds
Paperback: 289 pages
Publisher: Alyson Books (2-1-2007))
ABOUT THE BOOK
On the evening of Thursday, October 8, 1998, 20
– year - old Romaine Patterson received a phone call that her best friend,
Matthew Shepard, had been beaten and left hanging on a split – rail fence
Patterson was then thrust into the center of the worldwide media frenzy that
descended on Laramie, and she came face – to – face with homophobic backlash
when Baptist minister Fred Phelps and his followers picketed Shepard’s funeral
with signs reading MATT IN HELL.
Upon learning of Phelp’s plan to take his ministry
of hate to support Shepard’s killers at their trial, Patterson went into action.
Who can forget the image of Patterson and her friends donning seven foot angel
winds so they could encircle Phelps and his gang, leaving the picketers silent
and invisible? From that moment forward, Patterson has become a spokesperson for
tolerance, acceptance, and nonviolence around the globe, whether as a founder of
Angel Action, as a consultant for The Laramie Project (the award –
winning play that has been produced hundreds of times and became an acclaimed
Showtime film starring Christina Ricci as Patterson), or as co-host of the
successful Sirius Satellite Radio show Derek & Romaine.
In one of their last conversations, Shepard told
Patterson that he wanted to spend his life helping people realize that they, as
individuals, could make a difference in the world. This book is Romaine
Patterson’s journey to realizing the truth of that statement.
Romaine Patterson, a Wyoming native, got started in activism when her close
friend Matthew Shepard was killed in a brutal anti-gay hate crime in October of
1998. Immediately following his death, Romaine started speaking at vigils and
community events across the country. Due to the massive media coverage Shepard's
death garnered, Patterson quickly became a seasoned professional speaker. She
has worked with media professionals from around the world and virtually every
Patterson is best known for her work combating the anti-gay antics of the Rev.
Fred Phelps, whose followers picketed Shepard's funeral and the murder trials.
In April of 1999, she founded the Angel Action, an organization for peaceful
Angel Action is now in use all over the world as a means of combating hate.
Taking her activism to the next level Patterson went to work as the Regional
Media Manager for The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) in
February of 2000. While there, she worked as a spokesperson of several national
Patterson returned to school at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences
in the fall of 2001 in order to further her knowledge of the media industry. As
a top graduate of the Conservatory's Master Recording Program in May of 2001,
she moved to New York City where she currently resides.
Patterson’s love of the recording studio, soon lead her to the offices of Sirius
Satellite Radio. Romaine took a position as Co-host and Producer of “Derek and
Romaine” a popular talk show that features a wild array of uncensored topics and
guests. “Derek and Romaine” hits the airwaves nation wide weekdays from 6-10pm
EST. As a team, “Derek and Romaine” dedicate themselves to helping raise funds
for a variety of charitable causes including the Matthew Shepard Foundation and
the Sea Coast AIDS Walk. For more information about the radio show please visit
Patrick Hinds began writing at the age of five when his first book, “The
Day Everything Came Alive in the Classroom”, having become quite the little
sensation at Sippican Elementary School, was published by hand by his first
grade teacher, Mrs. Tamlin.
He went on to study theater at Emerson College where, because he wasn’t any
good, he gave up the dream of becoming a Broadway star, and began an illustrious
career as a coffee schlepping intern at many, he’s told, prestigious, radio
stations and network affiliates.
Upon his graduation in 2000—with a degree so general he can hardly remember what
it was—He moved to New York City to work as a News Associate for CNBC. More of
an optimist than a capitalist, the CNBC gig didn’t last long, and he moved on to
bigger and better things—namely bartending.
He began his freelance writing career in the spring of 2002 with an article for
Frontiers Magazine and has since written for Girlfriends Magazine, and Gay City
After meeting Romaine Patterson at a dirty little dive bar in New York City’s
lower east side and, for over a month, cyber-harassing her into agreement that
her life story had to be told in book form, he began work on his first book,
The Whole World Was Watching.
He lives in New York City and is currently working on his third book.