On October 6, 1998, 21 year old University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard encountered 2 men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, on a night out of drinking beers and shooting pool. The two men soon realized Matthew was gay and came up with a plan to attack, rob, and rob his house. They ended up leaving Matthew tied to a fence on a desolate road where he wasn’t discovered until 18 hours later, barely alive. He was transported to the hospital and would remain in a coma for 6 days until his battered body gave up. While the men who murdered Matthew insisted the crime was motivated by the intentions to rob him and burglarize his house, however, many more people felt as though it was motivated by homophobia. While Matthew was not the only gay person to be attacked and/or killed in the United States, his story resonated with people all over the world and to this day remains one of the most heartbreaking cases that cast a spotlight on small the anti-gay sentiment at the time in small town America
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