Tonight is the 14th Anniversary of Matthew Shepherd’s Attack
Matthew Shepherd was attacked on the night of October 7th and left for dead, simply because of his sexuality. He would day days later on October 12th from injuries he sustained from the attack.
His attackers tried to claim that they were driven to insanity because Shepherd was hitting on them, aka “the gay panic” defense.
In 2009 Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law expands federal hate crime laws to apply to people targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. It was the first piece of federal legislation to protect and include transgender people.
Hate crimes are not a thing of the past. Gay and lesbian Americans are victimized at about 6 times the rate of any other minority group. The FBI does not collect statistics on hate crimes committed against transgender people, but antidotal evidence suggests that these numbers are even worse for them.