FORT COLLINS, CO (KUSA) Twenty years ago Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student from the University of Wyoming, was beaten and killed because of his sexual orientation.
On Sunday, a Grammy award-winning choir performed “Considering Matthew Shepard” as part of a memorial service for Matthew at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins. The three-part oratorio was inspired by Shepard’s murder.
In 1998, Shepard and his friend, Jason Marsden, were a part of the small gay community in Casper, Wyoming.
“Matthew Shepard’s death was really the first time that the media and the general public really took a look at the phenomenon of anti-LGBT hate crimes,” said Marsden.
In the two decades since Shepard’s death, anti-hate crime laws have been passed in his name, and same-sex marriage became legal.
“Every once and a while something happens that touches millions of people,” said Marsden. “And it draws them in with the power of the story, and unlocks what they might care about, the potential that they might be able to offer the world.”