08.08.19 Tampa Bay Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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I was young, probably around 12 or 13, but I vividly remember the first death I helped cause. They say you never forget your first.

I was in middle school and likely clad in a pair of husky jeans, the free whale necklace that came with the “Free Willy 2” VHS and a “Batman and Robin” tee beneath my Starter Jacket. Clutched against my side was the thickest Trapper Keeper a family like mine could afford, something I rarely let out of my sight during school hours because it protected two of my dearest possessions.

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08.08.19 Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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As we were coming into this latest issue, I had a lot of things that I wanted to rant about on this page, and Lord knows there is plenty to rant about.

I wanted to talk about the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, which had Twitter all abuzz in support of author and “self-help guru to the stars” Marianne Williamson.

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Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors, Metro partner for training

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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ABOVE: The “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” roundtable discussion at Orlando’s Parliament House June 5, 2018. Photo courtesy MillerCoors.

TAMPA | The Matthew Shepard Foundation, MillerCoors and Metro Inclusive Health will hold a “Stay Proud, Be Loud Happy Hour” at American Social Tampa Aug. 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., an educational gathering designed to detail the importance of reporting hate crimes.

“Stay Proud, Be Loud” is a nationwide program that educates participants on ways to keep the LGBTQ community safe. It was launched in 2016 by the Matthew Shepard Foundation—dedicated to replacing hate with compassion—and brewery MillerCoors, longtime partners who connect with organizations like Metro Inclusive Health to provide local resources to area attendees.

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Matthew Shepard’s personal items donated to Smithsonian

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The parents of Matthew Shepard on Oct. 25 officially donated some of their son’s papers and other personal items to the National Museum of American History.

A Superman cape that was part of one of Matthew Shepard’s Halloween costume, a preschool diploma and a wedding ring are among the items that Dennis and Judy Shepard donated to the museum. They also donated thousands of letters they received after Matthew Shepard’s death.

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Matthew Shepard’s parents reflect on son’s legacy, criticize Trump

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Matthew Shepard’s parents on Oct. 23 said their son would have been vehemently opposed to President Trump and his administration’s efforts to curtail LGBT rights.

“He would have found it ridiculous,” Matthew Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard, told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview.

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Matthew Shepard to be interred at Washington National Cathedral

By : Lou Chibbaro Jr. OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The ashes of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in one of the nation’s most infamous anti-gay hate crimes in 1998, will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral on Oct. 26, according to an announcement on Thursday by his parents.

The announcement came one day before the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death on Oct. 12, 1998. Authorities said Shepard, 21, was tied to a fence just outside of Laramie, Wyo., on Oct. 6, 1998, by two young men he met in a Laramie bar and who lured him into getting into their vehicle.

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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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An Evening with Judy and Dennis Shepard

By : Maia Monet
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This year marks two decades since the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard and the national attention his death brought to hate crimes against LGBTQ people. The onePULSE Foundation teams up with the Matthew Shepard Foundation for this intimate conversation with Matthew Shepard’s parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, and Pulse owner Barbara Poma. Tickets are $175 each and are available by searching the event name at Eventbrite.com.

Two years later many groups, individuals will honor and remember those affected by the Pulse tragedy

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE:  The Pulse memorial will be one of several locations with events June 12.

ORLANDO | It’s been nearly two years since our community woke to the news that a gunman entered one of our LGBTQ nightclubs in downtown Orlando on Latin Night with a semi-automatic rifle and handgun. 49 patrons were killed and another 53 injured while they danced, drank and celebrated with friends and family.

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