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Today in Gay History

Today In Gay History: Matthew Shepard Political Funeral March

matthew shepard
Matthew Shepard Foundation

18 years ago today a march was held in NYC for Matthew Shepard. 

The historic case of Matthew Shepard is one that has permanently changed the course of LGBT rights in the U.S.

22-year-old Shepard was attacked by two men who pretended to be gay so that they could lure him into their car. He was severely beaten and left for dead on October 6, 1998--he died six days later on October 12.

News of the attack spread worldwide and on October 19, a march was held for Shepard in New York City. Nearly 5,000 people gathered to pay respects as they marched down NYC's famous 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

The march was soon disrupted, though. Police arrived and began to arrest its participants as there was no permit.

"The police refused to negotiate with us," said Sara Pursley one of the organizers.

Demonstrators continued the parade despite police barricades and the ongoing arrests. The march was forced to take several turns as they tried to dodge police interference before being allowed to return to 5th Ave.

The march ended at Madison Square Park--33 blocks from where it began--and was followed by a rally and candlelight vigil.

Since his death, Shepard's mother has been very vocal about it and the issues that stem from it. Most recently she appears in an anti-Trump ad as she recalls "what can happen as a result of hate."

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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