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Joe Biden pays tribute to Matthew Shepard as he pledges to fight 'all-time high' anti-LGBTQ+ violence

RIP Matthew.

2020-10-13

Joe Biden has paid tribute to Matthew Shepard, the gay teen whose murder sent shock waves around the world over two decades ago, on Twitter.

Shepard was killed by Russell Henderson 22 years ago yesterday, on 12 October 1998.

Marking the anniversary online, US Presidential hopeful Biden pledged to strengthen anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime laws.

"Today marks 22 years since Matthew Shepard passed away after a brutal anti-gay hate crime," he said. "Over two decades later, violence against LGBTQ+ Americans is at an all-time high.

"As president, I'll strengthen our hate crimes laws and make clear that bigotry has no place in America."

Biden - who goes head-to-head with incumbent president and Republican leader Donald Trump on 3 November 2020 - also marked National Coming Out Day on Sunday. (11 October 2020).

The 77-year-old said on Twitter: "I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know you are loved and accepted just as you are — whether you've come out or not. I'll fight every day in the White House to create a country where you can live open, proud, and free — without fear. #NationalComingOutDay."

Marking the 20-year anniversary of his death two years ago, Shepard's parents Judy and Dennis attended the 2018 Attitude Awards and accepted the Attitude Inspiration Award on their son's behalf. 

"We lost Matthew 20 years ago because he was different," said Dennis. "Look around the room: show me two identical people. We should be celebrating differences and not putting them down."

(Pictures: Wiki)

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