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Matthew Shepard's Father Takes Fishing Trip with Dads of Trans Kids...


Matthew Shepard's Father Takes Fishing Trip with Dads of Trans Kids — and They Have a Message for the Nation

Story by Kristen O'Brien

"Believe your children," José Trujillo tells PEOPLE about the spirit of The Dads, a new short documentary that premiered at SXSW

In March of 2022, six dads came together for a weekend of fishing in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The men were racially, politically, generationally and geographically diverse — but in addition to a shared love for the great outdoors, they had one important thing in common: they were fathers of trans kids.

Award-winning director, producer and writer Luchina Fisher was there that weekend to capture the dads together as they fished, prepared dinner, and bonded over raising their children in present day America. That footage became The Dads, a short documentary that had its world premiere at South by Southwest earlier this month.

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE at the festival, Fischer says that she met dads Wayne Maines, Frank Gonzales and Dennis Shepard — whose son Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was murdered in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming — through their involvement with the Human Rights Campaign, one of America's largest civil rights organization.

"They were talking about taking a trip, hunting or fishing and maybe inviting others to come along," Fisher says. "And I thought, I'd like to join you on that trip with some cameras."


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