This Day in History

Oct. 7, 1998: Matthew Shepard Beaten and Left to Die

Time Periods: Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000
Themes: LGBTQ

On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998), a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, robbed, and left tied to a wooden fence post outside Laramie, Wyoming. He died five days later.

His death helped awaken the nation to the persecution of LGBTQ people and and their victimization in hate crimes.

A play about the story of Matthew Shepard (and later an HBO movie, The Laramie Project) has been performed all over the world. His parents launched the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Teaching Tolerance offers the story of Matthew Shepard for students to read and other teaching resources in “The Book of Matthew: Matt Shepard died 20 years ago, but his name lives on in stories, on stage, in the law—and in the classroom.”

Beyond Tolerance: A Resource Guide for Addressing LGTBQI Issues in Schools published by New York Collective of Radical Educators, is available as a free download.