i just ran across this and thought it was well worth posting.
Mathew Wayne Shepard
December 1st, 1976 - October 12th 1998
The funeral has taken place in the United States of Matthew Shepard, a 21 year-old student, who was savagely beaten to death because he was gay. Friends and family gathered in pouring rain at the church in the town of Casper, Wyoming, where he was baptised.
Matthew had been lured from a campus bar shortly after midnight on October 7 by two men who told him they were gay. He was driven to a remote area near the Sherman Hills neighbourhood east of Laramie, tied to a split-rail fence, tortured, beaten and pistol-whipped by his attackers, while he begged for his life; he was then left for dead in near freezing temperatures. A cyclist who found him on Snowy Mountain View Road at 6:22 pm, some 18 hours after the attack, at first mistook him for a scarecrow. He was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia. His face was caked with blood, except where it had been partially washed clean by tears.
Matthew died at 12:53 am on Monday 12th October 1998, at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his family at his bedside. Hospital officials said Matthew had a fracture from behind his head to just in front of his right ear and a massive brain stem injury which affected his vital signs, including his heart beat, body temperature and other involuntary functions. There were also approximately a dozen small lacerations around his head, face and neck. He was so badly injured in the attack that doctors were unable to operate. He never regained consciousness after being found, and remained on full life support.
While Matthew lay dying in hospital, just a few miles away, a group of students from Colorado State University thought it would be funny to ride atop a homecoming float that featured a scarecrow figure designed to resemble Matthew's battered body. The figure was wearing a sign that said "I'm gay." An obscene message was painted across the back of the scarecrow's shirt. The students didn't mean to be insensitive. It was supposed to be a joke. They were just ordinary, average guys, having a bit of fun.
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