In 1998, Matthew Shepard,
a 21-year-old gay college student, was brutally beaten by two men he had met in a bar and was left hanging on a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyo. Shepard died a few days later, and his death led to increased awareness of anti-LGBT crimes and support for LGBT-inclusive hate-crime laws.
In 2008 gay eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot to death in front of several classmates at his middle school in Oxnard, Calif. The shooter was another classmate, 14-year-old Brandon McInerney. McInerney's lawyers claimed King's flirtations had driven their client over the edge, something many observers criticized as a "gay panic" defense. After his 2011 trial ended in a hung jury — jurors couldn't agree whether he should be convicted of murder or manslaughter — McInerney agreed
to plead guilty to second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and accept a 21-year prison sentence.
Eric Ohena Lembembe, one of the leading gay activists in Cameroon, was tortured and killed
at his home in 2013. When his body was found after friends and family were unable to reach him for two days, it was reported that his neck and feet were broken and he had been burned with an iron. Just two weeks before his death he had spoken out against antigay violence in the nation, one of the most hostile where LGBT people are concerned. "A climate of hatred and bigotry in Cameroon, which extends to high levels in government, reassures homophobes that they can get away with these crimes," he said.
Gay man François Chenu was brutally murdered in Reims, France, in 2002 by skinheads who initially intended to attack an Arab but chose Chenu simply because he was an available target. His attackers repeatedly beat him and eventually threw him into a pond, where he drowned. The documentary film Beyond Hatred
follows Chenu’s parents and siblings as they seek justice and attempt to heal.
In 1993 trans man Brandon Teena,
20, moved from Lincoln, Neb., to the smaller town of Falls City, where he made friends who knew him only as a man and began dating 19-year-old Lana Tisdel. When two of Teena’s new friends learned he had been assigned female at birth, they beat and raped him. Then, when the attackers heard that Teena had reported the rape to the police, they shot and killed him. His life and death have been chronicled in the Academy Award–winning narrative film Boys Don’t Cry
and the documentary The Brandon Teena Story.
and her partner, Claudia Brenner, were hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania 1988 when they met Stephen Roy Carr, a drifter with a criminal record who was living in the woods. After a brief conversation with Carr, Wight and Brenner continued on the trail, unaware that Carr was following them and that he was armed. When the two women began kissing and making love at their campsite, Carr fired eight bullets in their direction, killing Wight and seriously wounding Brenner. Brenner, who survived, became an antiviolence activist and wrote a book about the attack, titled Eight Bullets.
was one of the most outspoken gay rights activists in Uganda, a country where homophobia runs rampant. He had received dozens of death threats after a newspaper ran photos of him and other gay Ugandans in 2010 with the caption “Hang Them.” A few months later, in January 2011, Kato was beaten to death with a hammer at his home. Kato was aware of the danger he faced in being a gay activist in Uganda. In a 2009 interview, he said he wanted to be a “good human rights defender, not a dead one, but an alive one.”
Ronnie Antonio Paris
Three-year-old Ronnie Antonio Paris was beaten to death in 2005 by his father, who was reportedly worried the child would grow up gay. His father, Ronnie Paris Jr., would force the boy to box with him in an effort to keep him from being “soft” or becoming a “sissy.” The child was removed from his home in Florida in 2002 by child welfare authorities, then was returned his parents in 2004, a move that brought much criticism of the state's handling of the case. Ronnie Paris Jr. was found guilty
of second-degree manslaughter and aggravated child abuse.