20 years after his tragic death, we look back and remember Matthew Shepard and the work done in his name

By : Jeremy Williams
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In the early evening hours of Oct. 7, 1998, a cyclist was heading down a desolate, dirt road outside of the town of Laramie, Wyo. when he passed by something hanging from a fence. The cyclist initially thought, with it being so close to Halloween, that it was a scarecrow decoration. The “scarecrow” turned out to be the beaten and broken body of 21-year-old, openly-gay college student Matthew Shepard. He was barely breathing. His face was completely covered in his own blood, sans a strip down each side of his face where his tears washed the blood and dirt clean.

This was the introduction of the heinous attack to police, and eventually Shepard ‘s friends and family, the media and the world. The attack was felt firsthand by Shepard 18 hours prior after meeting two men in their early 20s at the Fireside Lounge, a bar in Laramie.

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Orlando 7-Eleven employee accused of attacking customer for being gay

By : Jaime Donelson
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ORLANDO | Orlando resident John Richards took to Twitter Sept. 27 claiming he and his friends were assaulted in a hate crime perpetrated by an employee at a downtown 7-Eleven late evening on Sept. 26.

Richards, in an email to Watermark, says he and five friends attend an art show in Downtown Orlando and, on the way back to their car, decided to stop in the 7-Eleven located at 124 W Pine St. Downtown Orlando to purchase drinks and use the restroom.

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Paintball shooting in Lake Eola linked to potential LGBTQ hate crime

By : Jeremy Brener
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ORLANDO | Police are investigating a possible hate crime at Lake Eola Park in Orlando after several LGBTQ individuals were attacked by a paintball gun being shot from a moving vehicle on July 27. The attacker also shouted homophobic slurs at the victims.

One Orlando resident, who asked not to be identified by name, was shot in the leg with paintballs while playing the popular app game “Pokemon Go” with a friend at Lake Eola Park. He also says that a lesbian couple in the park told him they were also hit with paintballs.

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Exclusive: Kennedy, Markey seek to ban anti-LGBT panic defense in court

By : CHRIS JOHNSON OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation against anti-LGBT panic defense. (Washington Blade photo of Kennedy by Michael Key; photo of Markey public domain)

The use of a panic defense to justify anti-LGBT violence in federal court will come to an end if new legislation introduced this week by a pair of Massachusetts Democrats becomes law.

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Amtrak: No evidence injured gay passenger was in fight

By : wire report
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RENO, Nev. (AP) — The family of a 22-year-old train passenger found severely injured next to railroad tracks in Truckee, California, suspects he may have been the victim of a hate crime, but Amtrak said Saturday that investigators have found no evidence of foul play.

Aaron Salazar’s family believes the Portland State University student, who is gay, was attacked and didn’t jump from the westbound train, the Reno Gazette Journal report ed.

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Hate crime charges filed in South Florida gay pride parade attack

By : Wire Report
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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Hate crime charges have been filed against four men accused of attacking two men and shouting anti-gay slurs following Miami Beach’s gay pride parade.

The enhanced hate crime charges mean the four could face as much as 30 years in prison if convicted, rather than only 15 years on previously filed aggravated battery charges. The Miami Herald reports that prosecutors brought the hate crime charges Thursday.

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Hate crime suspect caught after mistaken release from jail

By : wire report
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CHICAGO (AP) — A man charged with threatening violence at gay bars in Chicago who was mistakenly released from jail is once again behind bars.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cara Smith says 31-year-old Shane Sleeper was taken into custody on Chicago’s North Side Thursday afternoon.

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Parents say college student killing may have been gay hate crime

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Gideon, Blaze, and Jeanne Pepper Bernstein. Image from Jeanne Pepper Bernstein’s Twitter.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The parents of a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student killed and buried in a California park said Tuesday that the killing may have been a hate crime against their gay son.

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American’s fatal fall off Sydney cliff ruled gay hate crime

By : wire report
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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Almost three decades after the naked body of an American mathematician was found at the base of a Sydney cliff, a judge ruled Thursday that he was the victim of a gay hate crime.

It was the third coronial inquest — a court-like proceeding held after unusual deaths — to investigate the circumstances surrounding Scott Johnson’s fatal fall at North Head on Dec. 8, 1988.

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FBI statistics show hate crimes rise in Minnesota in 2016

By : Wire Report
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Hate crimes in Minnesota rose for the second straight year in 2016, with the bulk of crimes motivated by the victim’s race or ethnicity. Crimes were also committed against victims because of their religion or sexual orientation.

The FBI released its 2016 hate crime statistics report Nov. 13.

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No hate crime charges in transgender teen’s grisly killing

By : Wire Report
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HOUSTON, Mo. (AP) – Authorities say her eyes were gouged out and her genitals stabbed, but that the death of transgender teenager whose burned remains were found near the mobile home of one of her alleged killers in rural southern Missouri, her bones discarded in a chicken coop, was not a hate crime.

The remains of 17-year-old Ally Lee Steinfeld were found last week in the town of Cabool.

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3rd Texas man admits hate-crime assaults on a gay men

By : Wire Report
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Chancler Encalade

PLANO, Texas (AP) – A third Texas man has pleaded guilty to hate-crime assaults on men because the victims were gay.

Chancler Encalade pleaded guilty Monday in Plano to assaulting men because they were gay. Previously, Nigel Garrett and Cameron Ajiduah entered similar pleas to crimes under the federal hate-crimes statute.

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