Created By: University of Wyoming
One of the only public memorials of Matthew Shepard is a bench located in Quealy Plaza in front of the Arts and Sciences building of the University of Wyoming. Matthew Shepard was a student at the university when he was targeted and fatally beaten for his sexual orientation. This act of hate caused a nationwide uproar questioning the basic safety of LGBT+ individuals. This memorial bench was donated to the university by the Matthew Shepard Foundation and officially dedicated to him in 2008. The plaque reads, “Matthew Wayne Shepard. December 1, 1976 - October 12, 1998. Beloved son, brother and friend. He continues to make a difference. Peace be with him and all who sit here.”
Often flowers and gifts are placed on the bench by visitors. The combination of gifts on the bench are constantly changing as the university community changes. This is especially true for the LGBT+ community of the university as gifts left are most often in clear support for the community. As gifts dedicated to the LGBT+ community as whole change, it is reflective of how this portrayal of Shepard's memory invites contemporary movements of the community.
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Contributed by Thristen
This point of interest is part of the tour: Public Memory: Laramie & the University of Wyoming