LGBT History Month Icon Of The Day: Matthew Shepard

Just past midnight on October 7, 1998, one of the most horrific anti-gay hate crimes in American history took place in Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student, was abducted by two men, tied to a fence, beaten with the butt of a pistol and left to die. A bicyclist found his body 18 hours later and on October 12 at 12:53 a.m. Shepard died in a hospital with his family beside him.

Shepard’s murder sparked national attention and outrage regarding LGBT hate and bigotry. His parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, founded The Matthew Shepard Foundation shortly after their son’s death to commemorate and honor Shepard and to “replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance,” a vision in line with their son’s dreams, beliefs and passions. In 2009, 11 years after Shepard’s passing, President Obama signed into law The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal hate crime law that prohibits assaults on people based on their sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.

LGBT History Month Icon Of The Day: Matthew Shepard.

Lawyer must pay $4.5M to gay student he criticized – US news – Life – NBCNews.com

A jury on Thursday awarded a gay University of Michigan student body president $4.5 million in his lawsuit against a former Michigan assistant attorney general who posted about him in an anti-gay blog.

The U.S.DistrictCourt jury ruled in favor of Christopher Armstrong, who claimed he suffered distress after a blog created by Andrew Shirvell accused him of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to become homosexual.

“I’m just incredibly humbled by what happened today,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “This is truly a victory — not just for myself, but for a lot of other kids out there.”

Shirvell, who was representing himself, said the jury award was “grossly excessive” for what was “clearly protected speech … and activity.”

“This should have been thrown out,” he said, adding that he plans to appeal. “Juries give short shrift to FirstAmendment rights.”

Armstrong accused Shirvell of defamation as well as emotional distress for his actions on the blog, in Facebook posts and during visits to the Ann Arbor campus.

Then-Attorney General Mike Cox fired Shirvell in 2010 after Shirvell criticized Armstrong, who graduated last year.

via Lawyer must pay $4.5M to gay student he criticized – US news – Life – NBCNews.com.

Chick-fil-A vandalized with marriage equality stickers, rainbow flags – LGBTQ Nation

FREDERICK, Md. — A Chick-fil-A restaurant located on on Urbana Pike in Frederick, Md., was vandalized in the early morning hours on Sunday, according to a spokesman for Frederick County sheriff’s office.

Deputy-Corporal Gregory Santangelo said items glued to the store’s windows included marriage equality stickers and an image with the American and gay pride flags combined. There were also several homemade signs, he said, noting that physical evidence and video surveillance of a suspect were collected at the scene.

At least two other Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country have been vandalized since the company’s president, Dan Cathy, told the Baptist Press he did not support gay marriage, and acknowledged his company had donated millions of dollars to anti-gay organizations.

Among the stickers used to vandalize the restaurant were of the Human Rights Campaign’s logo — a yellow “equal” symbol on a dark blue, square background.

“Under no circumstances does HRC condone vandalism or the destruction of property,” said HRC spokesperson Dan Rafter.

via Chick-fil-A vandalized with marriage equality stickers, rainbow flags – LGBTQ Nation.

Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth are twice as likely to say they have been physically assaulted, kicked or shoved at school. Ninety-two percent say they hear negative messages about being LGBT through school, the Internet and peers, while 42 percent say the community they live in is not accepting of LGBT people.

Those are just three of the more disturbing statistics unveiled by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as part of its “Growing Up LGBT In America” survey, released to coincide with the start of the advocacy group’s incoming president Chad Griffin’s tenure.

HRC officials have deemed the survey — which polled more than 10,000 LGBT youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years old around the country — “groundbreaking,” though acknowledging that it “provides a stark picture of the difficulties they face — the impact on their well-being is profound.”

On a more optimistic note, however, officials also note that “these youth are quite resilient. They find safe havens among their peers, online and in their schools.”

In a statement cited by MetroWeekly among other publications, Griffin noted, “We have a responsibility to change that, because we know all too well that there are real life consequences to inaction.”

You can view the full report here.

Growing Up LGBT In America: HRC Survey Polls 10,000 Gay Youth On Bullying And Education Issues.

Metro – Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi sentencd to 30 days in prison

Dharun Ravi

A former Rutgers University student was sentenced on Monday to 30 days in prison for hate crimes after spying on his roommate’s gay encounter with another man.

Dharun Ravi, 20, had faced a maximum of 10 years behind bars for his conviction, which ramped up penalties in the invasion of privacy case in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey. The sentence was imposed by Judge Glenn Berman, who also gave Ravi probation

via Metro – Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi sentencd to 30 days in prison.