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Remembering Matthew Shepard

10 years after tragic murder, discrimination, violence still an issue


Editor - Chicago Journal - LINK

10/1/2008 10:00:00 PM

10th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder


Demonstrators marched Saturday along Halsted, Belmont and Broadway in honor of the 10th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder.

More than 300 demonstrators marched along Halsted, Belmont and Broadway avenues Saturday night to remember Matthew Shepard and call for an end to anti-gay violence and discrimination.

Oct. 5 marks the 10-year anniversary of the night Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and left to die outside of Laramie, Wyo. Shepard was found comatose and shackled to a fence; he died five days later. He was 21 years old.

Shepard's murder galvanized the LGBT-rights movement and propelled the issue of hate crimes, particularly directed against LGBT people, onto the national agenda.

However, organizers with the Gay Liberation Network, which sponsored the event, say hate speech is still mainstream.

"This senseless violence does not happen in a vacuum," said Wayne Besen, keynote speaker and executive director of Truth Wins Out, a national anti-homophobia organization. "There is a multi-million dollar anti-gay industry that dehumanizes us every day. They pump millions of dollars into making LGBT people appear to be moral monsters and then act surprised when hate crimes occur."

Bensen called upon Chicago's Museum of Broadcast Communications to reverse its decision to induct Focus on the Family's James Dobson into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Dobson is the founder of Love Won Out, a ministry that promises to "cure" homosexuals.

The Gay Liberation Network and Truth Wins Out plan to demonstrate outside of the Renaissance Chicago Hotel, 1 W. Wacker Dr., Saturday, Nov. 8, at 5:30, during his induction.


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