The tragic death of Matthew Shepard was one of the most publicized contemporary hate crimes committed on American soil. On October 6, 1998, Shepard, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, was taken to a desolate area, tied to a fence, and beaten. He survived for several days after the assault but eventually succumbed to his injuries. Initially the assailants, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, allegedly only planned on taking Shepard's money, but authorities believe that when they discovered he was gay, they decided to end his life.
Shepard’s shocking passing paved the way for LGBTQ acceptance. The world was outraged, and many gay celebrities came out in force, speaking out against crimes based on sexual orientation. The case - along with the 1998 case of James Byrd, Jr., who was targeted based on his race - propelled legislation that seeks to punish those who have committed such actions above and beyond the normal punishment. In 2009, Obama passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which now includes victims based on gender or gender identity, sexuality, and disability.
Matthew Shepard Was Supposed To "Feel Safer" In A Small TownVideo: YouTube
Shepard Was Barely Clinging Onto Life When He Was Found
Shepard's Mother Could Barely Recognize Him Due To The Physical Trauma
Shepard Had Been Previously Assaulted On Several Occasions
McKinney and Henderson Had Another Physical Altercation After The Assault
McKinney And Henderson Were Charged With Two Life SentencesVideo: YouTube